Nova Scotia Teachers Union reaches tentative deal with the province

Nova Scotia Teachers Union president Paul Wozney is seen on Thursday, Sept. 3, 2020. Graeme Benjamin/Global News

The Nova Scotia Teachers Union has reached a tentative agreement with the provincial government on a new contract for its members, the organization confirmed on Monday.

The tentative deal, which must still be agreed upon in a vote by the members of the Nova Scotia Teachers Union (NSTU), was reached on Friday.

NSTU president Paul Wozney is not commenting publicly on the details of the agreement but provided a statement to Global News.

“We look forward to sharing the details of the proposed contract and consulting with membership over the coming weeks,” said Wozney.

“Out of respect for the collective bargaining process the NSTU will not be commenting publicly on the tentative agreement until a ratification vote has been held.”

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NSTU members have been without a contract since the end of the 2019 school year and talks between the two sides have been contentious.

The introduction of the Glaze report in 2018 and the dissolution of Nova Scotia’s school boards in favour of regional centres for education was strongly opposed by the NSTU.

The union filed a bad-faith bargaining complaint against the provincial government at the start of the year after the province’s proposal to remove teaching specialists from the bargaining, but that complaint was eventually dropped.

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As of October, school specialists have since been allowed to be accepted into the NSTU.

Disagreements over the state of schools and reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic have also dominated headlines.

The relationship between Premier Stephen McNeil and the NSTU has been particularly tumultuous. The premier’s decision to abruptly step down once a new leader of the Nova Scotia Liberal Party is selected may have also changed the dynamic of the negotiations.

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The province’s labour department confirmed the tentative agreement in a statement from labour minister Mark Furey.

“The union will be sharing details with their members. Out of respect for the bargaining process, we have no further comment at this time,” Furey said.

The NSTU says it will release the date for a ratification vote sometime this week.

—With files from Global News’ Graeme Benjamin and Sarah Ritchie

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