NSTU drops bad-faith bargaining complaint against provincial government

Nova Scotia Teachers Union building. File/ Global News

A bad-faith bargaining complaint against the Nova Scotia government has been dropped, according to the Nova Scotia Teachers Union (NSTU).

The complaint was filed with the labour board after the government tabled a proposal that would remove speech-language pathologists, school psychologists and social workers from the union’s bargaining unit.

In a NSTU memo obtained by Global News Thursday, the union said government would no longer pursue the proposal.

READ MORE: NSTU accuses government of bad-faith bargaining over new contract

In a phone interview, union president Paul Wozney said that comes as welcome news, and is optimistic it will result in negotiations proceeding in a productive way.

“In our mind, there was no reason for bargaining to break down,” Wozney said.

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“Up until [the proposal was tabled], we had productive and respectful bargaining. Now we’re free to go back to the table and carry on the good work that’s been happening before.”

Wozney said the complaint was filed with hopes that the labour board could help the government understand why the proposal was “problematic.”

“Ultimately, that’s what the result is,” Wozney said. “The labour board, through consultation and instruction, was able to impress upon the government the importance of withdrawing this proposal so that bargaining could happen in good faith again.”

Click to play video: 'N.S. Teachers Union calling foul on province for latest bargaining move' N.S. Teachers Union calling foul on province for latest bargaining move
N.S. Teachers Union calling foul on province for latest bargaining move – Jan 16, 2020

In a statement to Global News, Labour Relations Minister Mark Furey said despite the proposal being amended, government’s position on teaching specialists has not changed.

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“We believe it is in the best interest of students and their families to guarantee that these services be available to them year-round, not just during the school year or school day,” Furey stated.

“We look forward to continuing negotiations.”

READ MORE: Arbitrator orders province to take ‘immediate action’ on teaching specialist ruling: NSTU

A decision from arbitrator Eric Slone last November found the provincial government breached the NSTU’s professional agreement when it decided to no longer require employed specialists to obtain special teaching certificates.

After government declined to follow the ruling, Slone ordered the education department to take “immediate action” during an emergency meeting.

Five days have been set aside for contract negotiations, which are slated to resume on March 2.

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