NSGEU school board support staff facing the unknown

"NSGEU/NUPGE members were not consulted then and haven't been since. I strongly urge all Liberal MLAs to talk to the Minister and their Premier...Tell them to read page 41 of their report." — Jason MacLean, NSGEU President

Halifax (16 Feb. 2018) — On January 25, Jason MacLean, President of the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union (NSGEU/NUPGE) wrote to the Minister of Education regarding the lack of information for frontline workers at provincial school boards about what the future holds, as the government proposes sweeping changes to the education system. 

"To date there has been no response. We have had some anecdotal information passed along but that info is either started or ended with the lines, "But things could change...," said MacLean.  "That's not enough and the biggest issue for my members is the unknown."

Nova Scotia government intent on pushing legislation through without informing workers of impact

The NSGEU/NUPGE represents school support staff in the 6 school boards where pensions and benefits vary from board to board. The changes prescribed by the government's Glaze Report make no mention of how pensions and benefits will be handled.

"It's apparent that Premier McNeil and Minister Churchill are going to ram whatever legislation they need through in the session set to begin on February 27, regardless of the impact," said MacLean.  "Members are concerned because of the unknown. NSGEU/NUPGE members were not consulted then and haven't been since. I strongly urge all Liberal MLAs to talk to the Minister and their Premier. Tell them to pause.Tell them to read page 41 of their report," said MacLean.

Report recommends adequate time for thinking and planning before making changes

Raise the Bar, a controversial report written by consultant Avis Glaze, says that "systems often fall short of achieving their goals because they do not spend adequate time thinking through and planning for successful implementation in order to embed the changes into the fabric of the organization. The systems that achieve their goals are those that give focused attention to the task of translating visions and recommendations into actual, concrete actions. They engage in the necessary planning and deep implementation.' 

According to MacLean, "There has not been adequate time spent thinking this through. And there has been no engagement with those most impacted. The NSGEU/NUPGE agrees change in needed, but it has to be change that helps students achieve greater success not just fighting with unions, that approach has sent health care into crisis and will do the same in our classrooms. The NSGEU/NUPGE is ready and willing to help make things better.  We just need a government willing to be an active partner."

School support staff are a critical link in the provincial education system. They include: educational assistants, administrative assistants, library staff, student supervisors, outreach workers, student support workers and native student advisors, school bus drivers, mechanics, monitors, central office clerks, IT support specialists, early childhood educators, and cafeteria workers.

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The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 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