CUPE 5047 education workers on picket lineSchool support workers represented by CUPE 5047 say their contract would have been settled already if employers in Nova Scotia were legally prevented from hiring replacement workers, as is the case in Quebec and British Columbia.

“It’s insulting, frankly,” said Natalee Boulanger, an EPA and CUPE 5047 member. “If we had anti-scab legislation in Nova Scotia, this strike wouldn’t be dragging on, and we could have negotiated a fair deal. Instead, we’re getting nowhere because government and the HRCE are trying to break the union by hiring replacement workers, and it’s the kids who are suffering because of it.”

The use of scabs during a labour dispute is illegal in Quebec and BC. The practice is also strongly discouraged by the United Nations International Labour Organization because it undermines the integrity of collective bargaining. “It’s clear that Tim Houston and Becky Druhan do not care about the kids we serve. We want to be back in schools supporting them, but our elected representatives would rather freeze us out than come back to the bargaining table,” said Boulanger.