Nova Scotia unions rally against Bill 148 at Province House in Halifax
Rally held to oppose Public Service Sustainability Act
The Nova Scotia Teachers Union hosted a rally in Halifax Wednesday evening in opposition to the controversial four-year wage package bill introduced by the McNeil government earlier this week.
Hundreds gathered for the rally, which members of other public sector unions also attended, started at 5 p.m. at Province House.
The crowd sang Twisted Sister's We're Not Going to Take It and held signs, some of which said "Respect teachers, respect bargaining."
"The legislation, Bill 148, it's a clear violation of my rights as a unionized member to negotiate and have fair collective bargaining, and I wanted to come down here and join with my brothers and sisters and make a very clear message to this government that they're no going to get away with that," said rally attendee Wally Fiander.
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On Monday, NSTU president Shelley Morse said the government is showing it's against fair collective bargaining by introducing the bill, which would allow it to freeze wages for two years, then raise them a total of three per cent in the final two.
"I don't believe you legislate to get your own way," she told reporters. "They also said it wasn't about the money, but we wanted to go back to the table to talk about their working conditions. So now they've just made sure that whatever they choose, happens."
Other rally attendees, like Nova Scotia Nurses Union president Janet Hazelton, had a similar message on Wednesday night.
"I think it's great that teachers and others in this province are showing that legislating a collective agreement on workers in this province is not appropriate," she said.
"So to see this many people come out and send a message to the government that they elected that they don't accept having this legislated upon them."
Members of the law amendments committee began hearing from members of the public at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday and have set 5 p.m. Wednesday as the deadline to wrap up.