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Tentative deal reached with 5,400 school support workers in Nova Scotia

Click to play video: 'Dozens rally for increased wages for school support workers in Dartmouth'
Dozens rally for increased wages for school support workers in Dartmouth
School support staff held rallies across Nova Scotia on Saturday to draw attention to their union's ongoing negotiations with the province regarding wage increases. Dozens of workers, teachers, and community members came out by the dozens to show solidarity for the cause. Vanessa Wright has more – Apr 15, 2023

The Nova Scotia government has reached a tentative deal with the province’s 5,400 educational support workers, who were in a legal position to strike Friday.

The two sides stuck a deal around 2 a.m. Wednesday, Nan McFadgen, president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees Nova Scotia, said in an interview. A spokeswoman with the provincial Education Department also confirmed that a tentative agreement had been reached.

“We are pleased and we are recommending it,” McFadgen said. “I think there was clearly enough in the deal. There was movement and I think it was a direct result of member mobilization.”

Neither side released details of the agreement.

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CUPE’s Nova Scotia School Board Council of Unions represents educational program assistants and early childhood educators, bus drivers, cleaners and maintenance staff, who were mainly looking for higher wages.

McFadgen said timing — the end of the school year is in June — along with the union’s threats of going on strike gave it leverage during negotiations.

“To withdraw your services is no small thing, but that’s how committed they were,” she said of union members. “They were just done and were ready to draw their line and they drew it.”

McFadgen said ratification votes are to be held over the next few weeks.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 19, 2023.

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