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Monday, January 13, 2014

Union Says UNB Can't Compete When Trying To Attract New Faculty

90 per cent of the UNB teacher's union voting for a strike and one professor says that number indicates how unhappy they are.

Associate History Professor Deborah Lindsay tells CHSJ News there is a sentiment that they are considered a liability more than an investment.

Lindsay says that is demonstrated by the offer that the management team has put on the table.

She adds they have tried to tell management that they need to attract new faculty and currently they can't compete in terms of what they can offer them in terms of salary and start-up costs for labs.

A picket line is set up at the entrance to the Tucker Park campus and those walking the line are getting supportive honks from drivers going by.

UNB President Says The Sides Are Far Apart

It's a first.   The faculty at UNB campuses including Saint John and Fredericton are on strike with classes suspended.

President Eddy Campbell tells CHSJ News a cooling off period is needed for the bargaining teams who have been working very hard to try and resolve this.

He says like everyone on any side of this they are upset and disappointed and they need some down time to recharge their batteries.

Campbell says they are very far apart on the issues and he calls it a very bad place to be.

He says their best offer is 9.5 per cent over 4 years and the Union returned with an offer of 26 per cent over 4 years and Campbell says they do not have anywhere near that amount of money.

UNB SRC Prez Sees Mixed Reaction To Strike

The President's of the Student council at UNB Saint John says the reaction is mixed to the faculty strike.  

Ashley Macosky tells CHSJ News some view it as a break and others are upset at the unwelcome interruption to their education.

We asked him what might happen to the school year if the strike goes on indefinitely and he tells us there is a no clear answer to that right now.

He says there is enough room in the academic calendar to accommodate a two-week strike.  He says the semester would get pushed back to the end of April adding March break would remain in tact where people have already made travel plans.

Macosky hails from Calgary, Alberta and says while it's not breaking news out west, his mom is upset to hear of the strike.

Last January's Mecklenburg Fire Stands As Biggest of 2013

Saint John Fire Chief Kevin Clifford says it's the call people most remember from last year.  What turned out to be the biggest fire of 2013 happened on January 27th at 70-72 Mecklenburg Street---two abandoned buildings. 

Divisional Fire Chief Mark Wilson says it was a very difficult very strenuous fire to fight because of the extreme cold and Platoon Chief Peter Saab was watching his crews very diligently.

There were rumours at the time that squatters might have been living in the building where the fire started but fire officials saw it was locked up when crews arrived and they had to force their way inside.

23 people were displaced because of the fire due to water and smoke damage to nearby buildings.

16lbs Of Pot Seized In Traffic Stop

RCMP conducting a traffic stop on Highway 2 near Havelock got much more than they bargained for.

A search of the vehicle led to a seizure of approximately 16 pounds of marijuana.  Police arrested the driver of the vehicle, 36-year-old Jean-Phillip Dubreil, of Montreal, and he has been charged with trafficking and possession for the purpose of trafficking.

He has been remanded into custody and is scheduled to appear in Moncton Provincial court today (Monday). The drugs are believed to have been destined for various locations in the Maritimes.

SJPD Dealing With Arrests, Break-Ins And Assaults

The SJPD has released a few highlights from their activities over the past week.

According to Sergeant Jay Henderson, a 24 year old man has been arrested for allegedly pepper-spraying several teenagers at  Market Square in mid-December. An 18 year old man was also arrested in connection with a masked home invasion on Newman Street last week. Both are set to appear in court today.

Police also warning homeowners in the Cabot Court area to lock their doors after 2 break-ins in that area in the past 3 days. In the most recent break in, two flat-screen televisions were stolen.

A 16 year old youth was also arrested on Riverview Drive over the weekend for assault causing bodily harm, and is being held in custody. The victim received non-life threatening injuries.

Big Developments For 2014 Could Include Partridge Island, Coast Guard Site

2013 saw the inception of a number of major, even unprecedented projects in Saint John including pension reform, a public-private partnership for the water utility, and a major funding commitment to improving roads.

That being said, Mayor Mel Norton tells CHSJ News those aren't the only irons the city has in the fire, with lots of less-touted projects aimed at increasing quality of life for Saint Johners.

Norton says the biggest and best things for Saint John are yet to come--like the new YMCA, the development of the old Coast Guard site, and continued movement on the big projects like the Energy East Pipeline which will create jobs.

Teachers Walking The Picket Line Starting Today

Teachers at UNB walked the picket line in the early morning hours hoping for better wages. comparable to those at universities elsewhere in Canada.

Teacher's Association President Miriam Jones tells CHSJ News they were surprised to hear the news they'll be locked out of the school as of tomorrow.

All classes have been cancelled for the duration of the strike. The strike headquarters has been set up in the Somerset Pub mini-mall. It's expected that both sides will take a cooling-off period before they resume further negotiations.

Roads Closed Due To Flooding

The following roads are still closed as a result of flooding:

Simpson Drive at Golden Grove Road                                                                 

Rothesay Avenue near Rothesay Road at the train bridge
Todd and Holland Streets between Simpson Drive and Rothesay Avenue
Brown Street
Motorists are urged to use caution and observe barricades and signage. 

Please do not drive through water-covered or closed roads. Doing so may cause damage to your vehicle or to adjacent properties. 

Town Works Department Getting Generator After Ice Storm

Quispamsis council allocating some money in their budget to buy a generator for the Public Works garage, after crews worked through the ice storm without heat or lights.

Councillor Pierre Rioux says now if there's another power outage, the job can be done under better conditions. Mayor Murray Driscoll says it's important the department have back-up power.

While the storm was, literally, a dark time for the town, Driscoll says he is proud of the way the town came together. 

He says it's still too early to tell what the financial impact of the storm will be for the town.

Two Pedestrians Hit By Cars, Dispute Involving A Gun, And More From the SJPD

Slippery, dark roads made things dangerous for people out walking over the weekend.

Yesterday evening a young man was hit by a car on University Avenue and suffered major injuries. Just a few hours later at 9:30pm on Golden Grove Road near the intersection with Harmony Drive, another man was hit and is expected to remain in hospital for some time. Speed and alcohol don't appear to have been a factor in either case, it no charges are expected.

Police also arrested a man for breaking into cars in the North End If your vehicle has been broken into around the Montgomery, Landsdowne, or Main Street area, you're being asked to call police because you might be able to claim your property. A young adult male was arrested for possession of stolen goods.

In Quispam, a 38 year old man was taken into custody after a domestic dispute that involved a gun. No one was hurt and he'll be appearing in court today (Monday)

As well, police are letting us know the underpass on Rothesay Avenue by the old train bridge is still flooded out and that area is closed to traffic.

UNB On Strike

As of midnight Jan. 13, the Association of University of New Brunswick Teachers (AUNBT) has announced it is exercising its legal right to strike. Picket lines have been set up this morning at the Tucker Park campus, and the teachers have been informed they've been locked out.

With the exception of some online courses and courses in Miramichi, all classes will be suspended for the duration of the strike.  In a statement, UNB restated its committed to achieving a new collective agreement that serves the interests of students and and that improves the current contract with faculty.

Key issues are wages and working conditions at other universities of a similar size.

UNB's VP of Finance Dan Murray said the wage increase the teachers are asking for amounts to an increase of more than $2700 and he said they don't think it's a viable thing for the university to do in this economy.

Murray also points to decreasing enrollment and caps on tuition increases as reasons that money is tight at the university these days.

Meanwhile Dr. Miriam Jones, AUNBT president says she wondered if they ever intended to settle, since they kept the negotiation team   talking until practically the last minute and then offered no movement.

For details on which classes are cancelled, click here