Students at NSCAD University are returning to class now that the faculty strike is over.
The contract dispute, which saw union members walk off the job on March 1, is not resolved, though the strike ended at noon on Tuesday. Both sides agreed to address the remaining grievances through arbitration.
“We had virtually no other options, aside from making it a five-week strike, destroying the students’ year and putting everybody in the poorhouse,” said Jayne Wark, chief negotiator for the Faculty Union of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design.
The academic term will be extended by three days, which means classes will end on April 17. Graduation ceremonies will be held on April 29, as originally scheduled.
No date has yet been set for the arbitration hearing, but the result will be legally binding. Toronto lawyer William Kaplan will be the arbitrator.
“We proposed that we move to arbitration because it was clear that … we had fundamental differences, and (NSCAD) had virtually no intention of negotiating any further,” said Wark.
FUNSCAD includes two units. Unit 1 — the group that was on strike — includes teaching and technical staff, such as librarians and art gallery assistants.
The union wants better job security for part-time teaching staff, research days for librarians to advance their professional standing, and more flexibility for full-time instructors to pursue their own projects.
Wark said that university administrators want to reduce faculty sabbaticals and prevent the union president from participating in university governance.
In an emailed statement, NSCAD administrators said, “We are pleased that NSCAD University and the Faculty Union have agreed to a process to resolve all outstanding issues in labour negotiations.”
Classes taught by non-unionized instructors were held as usual during the strike. The bookstore and library also stayed open.
The Student Union of NSCAD University supported faculty, and many students braved the cold alongside their instructors during the strike.
Student Lisa Klakulak joined the picket line on March 5.
“I am a master of fine arts student getting my degree so that I can teach at a college level, so what they’re fighting for is what I’ll soon be fighting for,” she said.
With files from Olivia Elliott