Labour and education in the news

Below are recent news stories on labour and education related issues.  Click the headline to be taken to the article. Some may require a subscription.

June 18, 2021

'Back-of-the-napkin plan': Province's nursing enrolment request panned
Winnipeg Free Press
THE timing of the province’s rushed request to nursing colleges to submit proposals on increasing their respective admissions as fast as possible has sparked widespread speculation.

Canada’s growing pool of gig workers among the world’s highest paid, new data suggests
Globe and Mail
Canada’s casual work force has grown significantly in recent months, and new data suggests its gig workers are among the highest paid in the world.

Five lives lost: Workers at CN raise safety alarm after string of rail deaths
CTV News
Yoan Morneau rarely talked at home about the details of his job. His girlfriend only knew two things: he liked it, but it also made him increasingly nervous.

Amazon’s Greatest Weapon Against Unions: Worker Turnover
Huff Post
Chris Smalls made a lot of friends in his first year working at an Amazon warehouse in 2015. But within a matter of months, most of them were gone.

MSNBC employees are forming a union
The Seattle Times
Employees at MSNBC, the 24-hour cable news channel with a slate of prominent liberal anchors, said Thursday that they planned to form a union representing about 315 workers including producers, bookers, writers and fact checkers.

Bill 64 re-evaluation tied to Pallister retirement
Winnipeg Free Press
When things aren’t going a government’s way, the first rule of politics is to "pause and re-evaluate" whatever is irking the public.

In Canada’s K-shaped recession, education levels divide the labour market
Globe and Mail
Education, not gender, is the dividing line in Canada’s K-shaped recession.

All Canadian universities must critically reassess their collaborations with China
Globe and Mail
Canada is proud to have one of the world’s best research environments for cutting-edge development in technology and science. But recent media reports have documented the risks of a system where Canadian researchers may collaborate with China.

Universities and colleges wrestle with mandating COVID-19 vaccines for return to campus
Andrew Mrozowski just graduated this week from McMaster University's political science program, but the editor-in-chief of the school's student-run newspaper has already turned his mind to the fall semester.

World Refugee Day: Education unions stand with refugee students and educators
Education International
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a damaging impact on refugee students, teachers and other education personnel. On World Refugee Day, education unions call on governments to guarantee inclusive education and decent living, learning, and working conditions for all migrants.

June 17, 2021

Post-secondary institutions concerned after province demands nursing enrolment skyrocket
Winnipeg Free Press
A senator who represents nursing instructors at the University of Manitoba is raising red flags about a provincial directive to colleges to expand their enrolment to graduate more nurses as soon as possible.

Louis Riel School Division projects $7.6-M shortfall
Winnipeg Free Press
THE Louis Riel School Division is projecting a deficit of $7.6 million, citing both pandemic-related expenses and operational losses, and a teacher salary arbitration award.

OFL Vows “We Won’t Forget” as Ford government rams through unconstitutional Bill 307
Ontario Federation of Labour
TORONTO – Today, the Ford Conservative government used the notwithstanding clause to ram through Bill 307, formerly Bill 254, anti-democratic legislation that takes aim squarely at critics of Doug Ford and his party. Today’s Bill 307 reinstates parts of Bill 254 deemed unconstitutional in an Ontario Superior Court decision released just last week by Justice Morgan. The Ontario Federation of Labour is outraged at Ford’s unprecedented use of the notwithstanding clause to trample Ontarians’ Charter Rights.

“Don’t cut our wages”, female dominated hospital workforce tells Ontario Premier
With commitment, skill and much personal sacrifice Ontario’s hospital workers have delivered for patients, province-wide throughout a crushing and long COVID 19 pandemic. Now 70,000 registered practical nurses, personal support workers, ward clerks, cleaners and other front-line hospital staff who are members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees – Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU/CUPE) and SEIU Healthcare begin central negotiations on June 2

Hospital unions join forces against bill to cap their wage increases below inflation
For the first time, Ontario's two largest hospital unions are joining forces to do their collective bargaining with the Ontario Hospital Association. It will be a first for the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) hospital division, the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU/CUPE) and the other union, SEIU Healthcare.

CFLPA feels biggest amendment it reached with CFL was getting players back on field
Globe and Mail
CFL teams will have one less Global player in 2021 but access to five-player taxi squads when they resume play later this summer.

CBSA workers to start strike votes this week amid Canada-U.S. talks on easing border restrictions
The Hill Times
Canada Border Service Agency workers, who have not had a new contract in just under three years, are set to kick off strike votes this week at the same time that Canadians continue to eagerly await the loosening of long-standing border restrictions put in place to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Countries that kept women engaged in labour force during the pandemic will rebound faster
Financial Post
The benefits of female labour participation have been well documented over the years, particularly related to the positive impacts on growth, economic productivity, rates of return on capital and currency performance.

Will Labor Unions become Stronger in the Coming Years?
HR Exchange Network
The American workplace has seen the diminished power of unions over the last few decades, a development that contributed to a loss of bargaining power for workers, a stagnant minimum wage and de-regulation of people practices. Not coincidentally, it’s all come during a period of the middle class fading away.

The PRO Act Empowers Union Bosses, Not Workers
Labor unions spent more than $27 million to help get President Joe Biden, a self-described "union man," into the White House.

Hotels, unions forge compromise on ‘Right to Return to Work’ ordinance
Chicago Sun Times
After marathon negotiations, Chicago’s reawakening hotel industry and union leaders forged a compromise on a “Right to Return to Work” ordinance requiring Chicago hotels to rehire employees laid off during the pandemic.

Controversial new labour laws set to shake up working life in Greece
The Guardian
Greece is set for the biggest shake-up of working life in decades after its pro-business government sought to brand parliament’s passage of controversial labour laws as a fresh start for a nation once at the centre of Europe’s financial crisis.

June 16, 2021

Hydro skirts PUB order to deliver financial data
Winnipeg Free Press
Manitoba Hydro says it won't be turning over its financial forecasts for scrutiny by the Public Utilities Board any time soon.

Zero Per Cent of Manitobans Say They Are ‘Very Satisfied’ With Brian Pallister’s Handling of COVID-19 Pandemic, Poll Finds
Has Brian Pallister finally hit rock bottom?

Here is What Everyone in Canada Needs To Know About How Collective Bargaining Really Works
Imagine walking into your new workplace and being greeted by your shop steward, who guides you through your hard-fought collective agreement. They explain the evolution of the collective agreement, the renewal date, what they want to achieve next, and how you can get involved to help shape your local.

How to keep workers safe from COVID-19: Focus on the air they breathe
Globe and Mail
In Saskatchewan, sharing pens in the workplace is discouraged. In Newfoundland, workers are told to avoid handling money, while in B.C., they’re encouraged to disinfect common surfaces such as light switches.

CPE union asks for mandate for 10-day strike in September
CTV News
Exhausted and out of patience, 11,000 workers in Quebec's public daycares (CPEs) are threatening to go on strike in September.

Ten years on, domestic workers still fight for equality and decent work
International Labour Organization
Ten years after the adoption of a historic International Labour Organization Convention that confirmed their labour rights, domestic workers still fight to be recognized as workers and essential service providers.

Feminist Strike 2021 - Respect! Better pay! Better pensions!
In February of this year, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of women’s right to vote and to stand for election at the federal level in Switzerland. Women were no longer second-class citizens. Fifty years later, we still have to mobilise to stop women being treated as second-class workers.

Opinion: Back to class -- for the vaccinated
Winnipeg Free Press
Universities and community colleges, including the Universities of Manitoba and Winnipeg, must come to their senses. A return to in-person classes in all faculties and disciplines should be in the cards for September this year. It is time. It is safe. And it is appropriate.

Parent councils join campaign against public school changes
Winnipeg Free Press
Parent councils are the latest to critique the public school overhaul.

Manitoba education funding model review to begin in the fall, deputy minister says
CTV News
Manitoba's deputy education minister says a new education funding model review is set to begin in the fall.

Government of Canada makes major investment in Canadian science, research and engineering
Government of Canada
The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the importance of a strong and vibrant science and research ecosystem. The Government of Canada remains committed to supporting this ecosystem, along with the talent and innovation that it nurtures. Since 2016, we have made the largest science investments in Canadian history. We are committed to continuing these investments in support of a world-leading science ecosystem and a strong economic recovery.

COVID-19 school closures accelerate education inequities in Ontario: U of T researchers
University of Toronto
A report on the effect of school closures in Ontario due to COVID-19 suggests that inequities in education are being accelerated, particularly among vulnerable groups.

Ryerson University latest school to make COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for students in residence
Ryerson University has become the latest school to require students living in residences for the 2021-2022 school year to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Burmese military junta crackdown on 125,000 teachers and try to take over schools.
Education International
More than 125,000 teachers have been suspended across Burma as the military regime retaliates against those who are standing up for democracy, specifically unions and teachers.

How Academic Freedom Can Be Used to Silence Others
The Dispatch
Last month, in the wake of the conflict between Hamas and Israel, more than 130 women’s and gender studies programs at North American universities issued a coordinated statement expressing solidarity with the “Palestinian Feminist Collective.” The statement condemned “Israeli policies and practices,” and calling for a Palestinian “right of return.”

June 15, 2021

Province of Manitoba
The province has released a Fact versus Fiction web page to clarify a number of misconceptions regarding the Better Education Starts Today (BEST) strategy and bill 64: the education modernization act, Education Minister Cliff Cullen announced today.

Parents question abolishing trustees at virtual meeting
Winnipeg Free Press
WINNIPEG parents did not hold back frank criticism about either Bill 64 or the province’s consultation process on the controversial education reform legislation during an engagement session Monday.

Cullen sticks up for education bill
Winnipeg Free Press
As thousands of anti-Bill 64 signs pop up on front yards across the province, Manitoba’s education minister held a news conference to dismiss critics of his government’s controversial reform legislation as politically motivated fearmongers.

Outcry over Manitoba's education reform hangs on misinformation, minister says
Manitoba's education minister lobbed accusations on Monday that the vocal opposition against the province's sweeping school reforms are misled, as the outcry over the proposed overhaul shows no signs of letting up.

The Manitoba Teacher (Slam the Door on 64)
Manitoba Teachers' Society

Alberta's COVID-19 vaccination rates tied to levels of formal education, data shows
An analysis of COVID-19 vaccination rates in Alberta suggests one socio-economic factor, in particular, is correlated to vaccine uptake. And it's not income, language or cultural barriers.

Pressure mounts on UBC to review honorary degrees due to troubling legacies of past recipients
There are growing calls for the University of British Columbia to review its process for granting honorary degrees after it emerged that several people with troubling legacies have been honoured in the past.

Queen’s University ignored allegations staff falsely claimed Indigenous identity, scholars say
Globe and Mail
Dozens of academics want Queen’s University to retract a statement defending employees anonymously accused of falsely claiming Indigenous identity.

Queen's University response to false Indigenous identity claims 'concerning,' say academics
Dozens of academics from across North America have signed an open letter calling on Queen's University in Kingston, Ont., to retract its statement defending faculty and staff members who were accused of falsely claiming Indigenous identity in an anonymous dossier.

Manitoba vaccine rollout failing to reach migrant workers, advocates say
Nora Velazquez says her recent conversations with some Mexican migrant workers in southern Manitoba reveals a gap in access to vaccines.

Ontario overrides Charter to pass legislation to limit election advertising
Globe and Mail
The Ontario government used the Constitution’s notwithstanding clause for the first time in the province’s history on Monday, for the purpose of overriding the guarantee to free expression in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in order to pass legislation to limit election advertising.

Black employees slam Ontario Public Service for rampant, systemic racism
On his first day as a corrections officer at a Toronto jail, Glendon Thomas was barred from entering. Back in 2004 as a Black man with cornrows, Thomas says staff didn't believe he worked there and questioned if he was an inmate.

Hospital unions join forces against bill to cap their wage increases below inflation
For the first time, Ontario's two largest hospital unions are joining forces to do their collective bargaining with the Ontario Hospital Association. It will be a first for the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) hospital division, the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU/CUPE) and the other union, SEIU Healthcare.

Tackling burnout: How to deal with stress and safety in the workplace
The Conversation
When I began working in disaster and emergency management, there was a funny anecdote suggesting the job was 98 per cent paperwork and two per cent adrenalin.

June 14, 2021

Teachers seeing red in education overhaul fight
Winnipeg Free Press
A new anti-Bill 64 campaign calls for public education supporters in Manitoba to wear "Red for Ed" on Fridays, in solidarity against the Pallister government’s controversial plans for the K-12 school system.

T-shirt campaign protests proposed education bill in Manitoba
CTV News
A group of Manitobans are seeing red in response to a proposed education bill.

Queen's University defends faculty, staff against allegations they're falsely claiming to be Indigenous
Queen's University in Kingston, Ont., is defending its faculty, staff and community partners after an anonymous report surfaced online this week alleging six of its instructors, professors and associates had falsely claimed Indigenous identity.

New Brunswick education bill passes with Higgs majority despite pushback
Global News
The New Brunswick Progressive Conservatives used its majority power to push forward a controversial education bill that the opposition parties are calling “dangerous.”

EDITORIAL: X University caves to cancel culture
Toronto Sun
When a Canadian university tacitly endorses the toppling and destruction of a statue dedicated to the man who gave it its name, it illustrates the problem with universities in general today.

Underpaid Adjunct Professors Sleep in Cars and Rely on Public Aid
Adjunct professors are the minimum-wage temp workers of academia. Underpaid, overworked, with no benefits and no job security, their numbers have ballooned in recent decades. They are part of what Herb Childress calls “hope labor,” in his new book, The Adjunct Underclass. Childress quotes researchers who define hope labor as “un- or under-compensated work carried out in the present, often for experience or exposure, in the hope that future employment opportunities may follow.” For most adjuncts, that hope comes to nothing.

Shared Health memo to nurses rankles union
Winnipeg Free Press
After Manitoba nurses voted to strike, their largest employer issued a staff memo to say certain contentious issues cannot be settled through arbitration.

Vaccine uptake raising employment outlook
Winnipeg Free Press
Even as COVID-19 vaccine uptake increases and governments across Canada announce reopening plans to bring back local economies, Winnipeg-area employers expect a limited hiring climate for the third quarter of 2021.

Paramedics in Montreal and Laval set to go on strike at midnight
Montreal Gazette
Urgences-santé paramedics, who serve Montreal and Laval and belong to the Syndicat du préhospitalier-CSN, were set to begin an indefinite strike as of 12:01 a.m. Monday.

New York Times, Stop Union Busting
The News Guild of New York Local 31003
We call on Meredith Levien (CEO), A.G. Sulzberger (Publisher), and managers of The New York Times to stop breaking federal labor law, stop union-busting, and recognize the Times Tech Guild union.

Amazon's labor exploitation is a return to the 1920s — and unions are our best hope out
There is perhaps no clearer manifestation of how America is failing the working class than Amazon.

German labour legislation strengthens hand of trade unions
World Socialist Web Site
On 21 May the Bundestag (parliament) passed the Works Council Modernisation Act. The new legislation makes it easier to set up works councils and provides them with additional powers with regard to the use of artificial intelligence and the organisation of mobile forms of working.

June 11, 2021

Nurses back strike; union hopes bargaining results in contract
Winnipeg Free Press
Manitoba nurses have voted resoundingly in favour of a strike, but the union still hopes to reach a deal at the bargaining table.

Manitoba nurses nearly unanimous in strike action vote
Winnipeg Sun
Manitoba nurses have voted overwhelmingly to take strike action, but do not expect them to walk off the job any time soon.

Manitoba nurses vote overwhelmingly in favour of a strike
Manitoba nurses voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action as hospitals struggle to keep up with the demand from patients amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

CBSA workers to hold strike votes next week, possibly jeopardizing border reopening
A union representing 9,000 Canadian Border Service Agency personnel says Canada-U.S. border reopening plans are in jeopardy as their workers prepare for strike votes starting next week.

New Yorker Employees Stage Protest Outside Anna Wintour’s Townhouse
New York Times
On Monday morning, union employees at The New Yorker unveiled a website that included their demands for higher pay and better job security, as well as the statement that they were “on the verge of a strike.”

Province of Manitoba
The Manitoba government is creating a Minister’s Advisory Council on Inclusive Education to enhance the school experience of students with special needs and support classroom teachers, Education Minister Cliff Cullen announced today.

U of M law prof sounding alarm over vaccine passport
Winnipeg Sun
A University of Manitoba law professor is raising concerns over the province’s vaccine passport program.

Pembina Trails trustees vote to study name change for Winnipeg's Ryerson School
This could be one of the last years that Grade 6 students graduate from Ryerson elementary school in south Winnipeg.

'Used as a last resort': Manitoba unveils school seclusion room guidelines
Winnipeg Free Press
Detailed written reports, immediate notification to parents, and post-incident reviews will now be required after a student is put into seclusion at school during an outburst that escalates to put them or others at risk.

Inaugural Gabriel Dumont Research Chair in Métis/Michif Education
University of Regina
We are pleased to announce the launch of the inaugural Gabriel Dumont Research Chair in Métis/Michif Education within the Faculty of Education, University of Regina.

Inside NSCAD’s real-estate row: Ousted president battled with board over Halifax properties, internal e-mails show
Globe and Mail
Nearly a year after a Nova Scotia art college abruptly fired its president without explanation, new documents obtained by The Globe and Mail reveal the effort to replace the top administrator began soon after she pushed back against a proposal to sell historic campus buildings to a Halifax developer.

CAUT calls for the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design to be accountable
The Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD) must immediately release all relevant documents related to its decision last year to dismiss its President and the role commercial interests may have played in that decision--this, according to the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT), the national voice of 72,000 faculty and staff at 125 universities and colleges across Canada.

Scholars at Oxford University Refuse to Teach Under Statue of Colonialist
New York Times
A long-running controversy at Oxford University over a statue of Cecil Rhodes, the British imperialist seen by many as an architect of apartheid in South Africa, gained new momentum this week after more than 150 academics said they would refuse to teach students of the college where the monument sits.

President Joe Biden continues to take an ax to former President Donald Trump’s labor policies, removing all 10 of his predecessor’s appointees to the Federal Service Impasses Panel.