Halifax – The decision by five Nova Scotia universities to sue the Nova Scotia Teacher’s Union for violating the Education Act disrespects the collective bargaining process says Marc Lamoureux, president of the Association of University Teachers (ANSUT). ANSUT represents over 1,400 full-time faculty, librarians and contract academic staff throughout Nova Scotia.
“No one wants to see students, or student teachers, harmed,” says Lamoureux. “But the decision of the five universities to sue the NSTU is an intrusion by a third party in the collective bargaining process of a certified union, and is especially troublesome given that the union membership is set to vote on the latest deal on February 8.” Acadia, Cape Breton, Mount Saint Vincent, St. Francis Xavier and Sainte Anne Universities are suing the Nova Scotia Teachers Union for refusing to supervise student teachers.
“The collective bargaining practice relies on two parties to solve their differences at the negotiation table, and to reach a settlement by arguing their case,” says Lamoureux. “We need to remember that the NSTU has followed all the normal steps, including mediation, to obtain a fair and reasonable settlement. They now have a legal right to strike and take job action such as work-to-rule. There is nothing illegal about what the NSTU has done.”
Lamoureux points out that the suit is also unbalanced. “Why have the universities chosen to sue only the NSTU, when there are two parties involved in the dispute? If the provincial government locked out the teachers, I don’t think the government could be sued for the reasons invoked by these 5 universities.”
ANSUT calls on the universities to drop their suit, and encourage the parties to try again to solve the issues at hand.
ANSUT advocates for the quality, accessibility, and academic integrity of post-secondary education, and believes that such education is a right, not a privilege. ANSUT provides its member Associations with the strongest possible voice on post-secondary education issues in the province of Nova Scotia, and advances its mission by engaging the active participation of its members, both individually and institutionally, to achieve that end.