Halifax science centre workers deliver unanimous strike mandate

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13 young workers from diverse backgrounds pose with their fists in the air, celebrating

Members of Unifor Local 4005 at the Discovery Centre in Halifax voted unanimously to strike, giving full support to the bargaining committee currently in conciliation with the employer.

“This unit is unbreakable, and they have again shown their strength and solidarity with this unanimous strike vote,” said Jennifer Murray, Unifor Atlantic Regional Director. “Discovery Centre workers are fighting for recognition of their knowledge and expertise and the union will stand with them to win a fair deal.”

This is only the second agreement for this unit, after the workers first organized in 2019.

Workers at the not-for-profit science centre are mostly young workers, often post-secondary students, who have come to Halifax from other parts of the world. This shapes their bargaining priorities, which have previously included items like an annual labour-management meeting specifically focused on diversity and inclusion in the workplace, and requesting all public statements from the CEO begin with an acknowledgement that the centre is located on unceded Mi’kmaq territory, the latter of which was unsuccessful.

The bargaining committee has met with the employer for four days, plus one day in conciliation, with the next conciliation date set for October 24, 2023.

“The strike vote was important because we are unfortunately still pretty far apart on some key issues, including wages, benefits, and language related to mental health,” said Japna Sidhu-Brar, Unit Chair at the Discovery Centre, and member of the Atlantic Regional Council Executive. “As young workers, we know the only way to lift everyone up is to show a united front, and we are committed to that solidarity, 100%.”

The vote took place on Monday, October 2.