Cape Breton Post - - FRONT PAGE -

A former lo­cal union leader takes a swipe at the NSTU.

This third at­tempt to reach a col­lec­tive agree­ment be­tween the Nova Sco­tia Teach­ers’ Union (NSTU) and the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment is turn­ing into a real gong show.

It is ap­par­ent that both sides are agree­ing to a deal while at the bar­gain­ing ta­ble. How­ever, nei­ther side seems to know ex­actly what it will take to ac­tu­ally con­clude an ac­cept­able agree­ment.

Now as much as I like to at­tack the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment, I find my­self in some ways sym­pa­thiz­ing with them through­out this process. From their per­spec­tive they are reach­ing a deal that is ac­cept­able to the union lead­er­ship who also agreed to rec­om­mend it and two oth­ers to their mem­ber­ship.

As a former ne­go­tia­tor I know the dif­fi­cul­ties of ne­go­ti­a­tions and, in par­tic­u­lar, when fac­ing a hos­tile em­ployer. But when you bar­gain with this em­ployer and you reach a ten­ta­tive agree­ment you must be sat­is­fied that this is the best deal on the ta­ble.

The NSTU has reached that po­si­tion three times now only to be shut down by its own mem­bers. I can see this hap­pen­ing maybe once but three times!

This tells me that the NSTU lead­er­ship has no idea what it is their mem­bers want and, worse than that, they don’t have the ca­pa­bil­ity of get­ting the deal.

I think it’s time for the mem­ber­ship to re­place the lead­er­ship of their union, elect new ne­go­tia­tors and give them a clear and pre­cise man­date. I feel sorry for the pres­i­dent of this union but it’s clear she has lost the con­fi­dence of her mem­bers and now it’s time to put the mem­bers first.

To the teach­ers out there, get off your asses and get this is­sue done or else set a strike dead­line. It’s time to stop us­ing the stu­dents as your pawns and take con­trol of your con­tract ne­go­ti­a­tions with this em­ployer.

If the Lib­eral gov­ern­ment is the prob­lem, then show the pub­lic what your con­cerns are and for­mu­late a bet­ter plan of at­tack that deals with your is­sues. Com­pla­cency is a dan­ger­ous thing and I think this is one of the prob­lems that your union faces that has brought you to this point.

The old say­ing that a union is only as strong as its mem­bers is a proven fact. Make your union strong again by se­cur­ing strong lead­er­ship and tak­ing a ac­tive role in both your fu­ture and the fu­ture of our ed­u­ca­tion in our prov­ince. Good luck.

“To the teach­ers out there, get off your asses and get this is­sue done or else set a strike date.”

D. Vic­tor Tomiczek Re­tired Di­rec­tor CAW Do­min­ion

This let­ter is di­rected to the mem­bers of the Nova Sco­tia Teach­ers’ Union.

You have ar­tic­u­lated over and over the great harm and depth of the is­sues our chil­dren are sub­jected to. You have stated you will no longer be a party to th­ese grave in­jus­tices. You have pro­nounced you have the an­swers for our chil­dren.

Well, you also have the power. You must show lead­er­ship to cre­ate th­ese needed changes.

First you need to look in­side as in­di­vid­u­als and be­gin to make changes in your own house. You have a union ex­ec­u­tive you don’t trust, don’t want and cer­tainly don’t lis­ten to. Deal with it.

You are now pre­sent­ing an im­age of a group that is paid the same for less work at school, less work at home and no ex­tracur­ric­u­lar in­volve­ment, all of which equals less time with your main re­spon­si­bil­ity. You are now mak­ing our chil­dren your most im­por­tant pri­or­ity for just 5-6 hours a day, much less time than what it should be.

If the pub­lic is to trust what you say than you now need to lead. Show the in­testi­nal for­ti­tude as a group and stop us­ing our chil­dren as a pawn. Stand up and be lead­ers in a fight you un­der­stand all too well. I think you will be sur­prised how you will feel and the sup­port you will re­ceive.

A strike is no fun, but that is where you find your­selves.

Barry Brewer Glace Bay

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