Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia Teachers Union tentative contract closely guarded secret

New teachers union president Liette Doucet voted against a previous tentative agreement with the province. She says the current deal before Nova Scotia's 9,400 teachers better represents their concerns.

Union representing Nova Scotia's 9,400 teachers will decide Sept. 15 whether to recommend new proposal

Nova Scotia teachers are expected to vote on a tentative contract before the end of September. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)

The new president of the Nova Scotia Teachers Union says she is satisfied teachers' voices have been finally heard in recent contract negotiations with the provincial government.

Liette Doucet, who took the helm of the union in August, voted against the first contract proposal endorsed by former NSTU president Shelley Morse and the union executive in December.

"I can't comment on how different the actual tentative agreement is," she told CBC's Information Morning on Friday.

Contract details a closely guarded secret

She said the provincial executive will see the details of the tentative agreement Sept. 15 and at that time will make a decision on whether to recommend it to the members. The details of the proposal are being closely guarded by both sides.

The recent negotiations were different than the ones that produced the first rejected contract offer, Doucet said.

Liette Doucet is the president of the Nova Scotia Teachers Union. (The Nova Scotia Teachers Union)

"I was upset about the process whereby that agreement came about. There was no opportunity for teams to get together for discussion about what we were looking for. The teachers union is always looking for input into changes the government is implementing," she said.

"We went back to the table in January. There was plenty of time for discussion … We met 11 times until the end of May and then we went into conciliation."

Classroom educators need to be consulted

The union and the province also spent July, August and the first part of September working with a conciliator, Doucet said.

She said she's also met with Education Minister Karen Casey about concerns teachers aren't being consulted about changes in the education system.

"They want to be part of the changes right from the beginning, not just when something is being implemented," Doucet said.

"Teachers are the experts. Teachers know what is necessary in the classroom. I believe that the minister did hear what I was saying. We discussed ongoing meetings, meeting regularly. I believe the minister is open, I believe she is hearing us."

Union service a family tradition

Doucet, who taught in the elementary school system for 26 years, inherits her union leadership from her father, Harold Doucette, who was president from 1980 to 1984.

He retired from the union in 2000, after serving as a contract negotiator.

Not even he knows what is in the newest contract proposal, Doucet said.

"I actually don't talk to him about the deal. He's like everyone else, he wants to know what is in it," she said.

With files from Information Morning, Shaina Luck