NSCAD administrative and custodial workers laid off | National Union of Public and General Employees

NSCAD administrative and custodial workers laid off

Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD) planning to contract out the work of Custodial staff and eliminate the Administrative Assistant and Clerk positions.

Halifax (18 June 2015) — Administrative and Custodial workers at NSCAD have learned that they are losing their jobs, as part of the Liberal government’s mandate to balance their budget at any cost.

Sixteen of these workers are members of the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union (NSGEU/NUPGE): nine Custodial Workers, six Administrative Assistants and one Clerk.

Work being contracted out

The employer plans to contract out the work of the Custodial staff and altogether eliminate the Administrative Assistant and Clerk positions. These job losses will lead to a less supportive environment for students, who will now have fewer supporting staff to help them when they need them.

“This government has clearly signaled to university administration that they must put their budget and bottom line before anything else. They’ve essentially handed them a baseball bat, and the administration is taking a swing at these workers,” said NSGEU President Joan Jessome.

“Eliminating and contracting out staff positions that come with decent wages and benefits isn’t good for the workers, local economy, the students, or the overall quality of education NSCAD will be able to offer in the future.”

Move contradicts public demand for increased support for students

In both the government-commissioned university consultations last fall and polling done by the Nova Scotia Post-Secondary Education Coalition, it was found that the public actually wants more support for students. Cutting support staff at NSCAD will do the opposite.

Administrative staff members support the students and faculty each day by arranging studio bookings, organizing purchase orders, managing the Departmental budget, booking models for drawing classes, and coordinating room bookings. They must be on-hand to help solve a variety of administrative/studio problems that students encounter throughout the day.

Poor way to treat long serving staff

The affected custodial staff members have worked at the university for up to 24 years. They know the complex campus well, and understand how to work with and around the students and the art they create. An art and design university is not an environment conducive to contract custodial work with its characteristic high turnover rates.

“We call on NSCAD administration to reverse these detrimental funding cuts,” said Jessome, “The support students receive from these staff members is vital to their success and essential to a positive experience teaching or studying at NSCAD.”


The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 360,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

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