NDP Caucus News Release
Robert Chisholm, Leader
July 25, 1997
ACADIA CASE PROVES NEED FOR ACTION AGAINST
NDP Leader Robert Chisholm says the situation facing
physical plant workers at Acadia University highlights the need
for clear policies to limit contracting out by the provincial
government and other publicly-funded agencies.
The NDP Leader made the statement following a meeting
Thursday night with unionized workers formerly employed by
Acadia. The 84 workers were fired at the end of June when the
university contracted out its maintenance services to the U.S.-
based Marriott Corp. Marriott has hired back most of the workers,
but layoffs have occurred and the status of the collective
agreement with the International Union of Operating Engineers is
"Both the University and Marriott should be ashamed of the
way they are treating these workers," said Chisholm. "The
university seems to be motivated by short-term bottom-line goals,
while Marriott is only interested in profit.
"This case starkly illustrates the need for full
consideration of costs and benefits before services are
contracted out. Acadia may save a few dollars on its maintenance
costs, but it's at the expense of the physical plant workers and
the community in which they live.
"Marriott is in this business to make a profit, and one way
they'll make that profit is by reducing labour costs. The whole
community suffers when the job security of employees is
sacrificed in order to boost the profits of foreign contractors."
Earlier this week the NDP Leader signed a five-point quality
service protection plan developed by the Nova Scotia Government
Employees Union. The plan calls for employee involvement and full
public examination of costs and benefits before provincial public
services can be privatized.
"What is happening at Acadia suggests that this approach
should not be limited to just the provincial government, but
should be extended to cover the so-called MUSH sector -
municipalities, universities, hospitals and school - as well.
"Public institutions have to go beyond short-term thinking.
They have to examine whether the community can possibly benefit
when the livelihood of Nova Scotia workers is threatened in order
to make profits that are then shipped off to corporate
headquarters in the States."