NDP – Tammy Martin
Dear members of FUNSCAD Unit I,
I am writing to update you about negotiations. Our negotiating team has been working behind the scenes while we’ve been picketing out in public. We are glad to report that the Employer’s bargaining team has agreed to meet with the Union’s bargaining team this coming Sunday.
We are still far apart, but our team is willing to continue to be flexible and creative at the table. We hope the Employer will also be willing to do what it takes to get a deal.
The fact that we are going back to the bargaining table is solely attributable to our amazing collective effort over the last 7 days – to those who have braved the bitter cold to walk the line and to those who have contributed in other important ways behind the scenes in support of our strong and united strike action. It is your remarkable energy, creativity and grit on the picket line, as well as the solidarity that we have shown with each other and the wonderful solidarity that the students have shown us, that has made it clear to the administration that we will not falter in our resolve.
This is a step forward, but we have to keep up the pressure now more than ever. An agreement to meet is not a guarantee of an agreement. Please be there tomorrow for your picket shifts and for the big rally at noon. We want to end this magnificent week on the picket line with a boom that will make the noontime cannon sound like a peashooter.
ps. We were asked by the Employer to clarify for our members that we are not legally locked out. When we gave notice to strike, we sent the notice to the Minister of Labour and Advanced Education. The 48 hours countdown to the strike began the moment the Minister officially received the notice. If the Employer had locked us out, they would have had to provide similar notice to the Minister. They did not do so.
Congratulations on making such a grand display of solidarity on the line this week. We have been noticed by the employer, the downtown core, and we are hearing from people across the country that the we are lighting up social media!
We have already received thousands of dollars in donations from our sister unions, which is enormously helpful in covering the benefits expenses and other strike expenses. The CAUT members know that our fight is the same as theirs, wherever they are. And our students have been fantastic in their support and encouragement.
Many thanks to all of you who have been bringing in soups and other treats. It has been greatly appreciated by all the cold picketers coming in for their breaks. We will need more soup for Friday, when we have more pickets and visitors. FUNSCAD will provide the extras to make a good spread.
To wrap up the first full week of job action, we have planned a big rally at Granville Mall at noon. If you are on the afternoon picket shifts and can come a bit early, that would be great. There will be lunch for picketers after the rally in the HQ. We will be joined by 10 flying pickets from as far away as BC, and also by members from other NS Universities. We need a big turnout, so if you aren’t scheduled for picket duty tomorrow, please do join us. We will be making our creativity visible! Memories will be made! Don’t miss this event — if we show our strength, maybe we won’t need to do it again next week.