Some Cape Breton staff may strike

CBU’s labour situation may cause conflict


Employees at Cape Breton University were informed today that some workers who are part of the Nova Scotia Government Employees Union (NSGEU) may go on strike as early as this Friday.

If NSGEU members do walk out, they may have a tough time, since most university functions are expected to continue as normal. With the university running largely as before, administration may have little reason to give in to union demands.

Meanwhile, CBU President John Harker issued a stern warning today that all employees not on strike are still legally required to come to work. Harker knows that crossing a picket line in Cape Breton — where labour unions are revered because of the island’s history of coal mining and steel production — is no small matter and his letter to employees states repeatedly that those not on strike must come to work or face discipline.


Some Cape Breton staff may strike

  1. What level of solidarity is there amongst the various union locals here? Does the much-larger Faculty Association make time for building links with the smaller NSGEU locals, which also represent some of the teaching staff? (and vice-versa really). Without making this kind of effort, it’s all too easy for the admin to exploit these devisions to its advantage. Even if there are differences between these unions and their interests, they would be much better off working together.

    • My sense is that faculty members who grew up in Cape Breton take it for granted that we must support other unions. Those members often take on leadership positions in CBUFA, so the there is great solidarity among the executive of the faculty association, but probably much less among the rank and file.

      At least one prominent member of CBUFA has said that she may not cross the picket line if it comes to that, and another has hinted that faculty might be able to justify not crossing by claiming that crossing would be forcing them into unsafe work conditions.