Nearing Semester End, Profs in Record Strike To March on Legislature
Halifax, Nova Scotia—On Wednesday 13 April, professors and librarians from the record strike at Université Sainte-Anne, as well as their vocal student supporters, will move their multi-week demonstration to Province House. They hope that the government will persuade the University’s administration to enter into the binding arbitration that the province’s Acting Chief Conciliation and Mediation Officer, Peter Lloyd, recommended to both sides on 29 March. The strike, which began on 3 March, is now the longest university strike in Atlantic Canada. Little time remains in a semester where students have yet to be offered a refund.
Binding arbitration was an acceptable semester-saving solution to both parties in the recent strikes at Acadia University and the University of Manitoba. Neither strike lasted as long as that of Sainte-Anne, the first in the francophone university’s 130-plus-year history (though one endorsed by 93% of professors and librarians in their February strike vote).
The president of the Canadian Association of University Teachers, Professor Brenda Austin-Smith, says, “CAUT calls on Minister Wong to facilitate binding arbitration to end this job action. It is unconscionable for the administration of Sainte-Anne to risk the success of students and decades of collegial governance by refusing to engage a neutral third party. Minister Wong can urge this step and bring about a quick end to this strike.”
President of the Association of Professors and Librarians of Université Sainte-Anne, Dr. James Crombie, describes how, “The university administration refused the option of arbitration when they imposed, as a condition, that 44 contract clauses be removed from the arbitrator’s consideration.”
The University of Northern British Columbia’s Professor Ted Binnema, an historian, describes binding arbitration as “an inherently conservative process.”
Student support for the strike remains strong despite the seeming loss of the semester, as documented in a recent interview on CBC Radio’s Mainstreet, French interviews on Radio Canada, and in student-created memes on Facebook.
According to strike records at the Canadian Association of University Teachers, the Université Sainte-Anne strike is now the longest faculty strike in Atlantic Canada, surpassing the 38-day tie of Cape Breton University (2000) and New Brunswick’s St. Thomas University (2007).
Classes at Université Sainte-Anne’s Halifax campus on Barrington Street have also been cancelled due to the record strike. Striking Sainte-Anne faculty and their student supporters intend a 12:30 p.m. rally in Grand Parade followed by a march to Province House.
For more information, or interviews, contact APPBUSA Spokesperson Professor Darryl Whetter: firstname.lastname@example.org (902) 837-6050