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.

April 18, 2019

Resistance to education cuts
On April 4, over 100,000 students at over 700 high schools across Ontario walked out to protest the Doug Ford government’s proposed cuts to education on April 4. Organized by students, this mass walkout is believed to be the largest student protest in Canadian history.

Teacher shortage puts Quebec's education system to the test
Montreal Gazette
Francophone students graduating with a bachelor of education this spring are leaving university with more than just a diploma.

'We're not going away': Labour groups criticize Doug Ford's education changes, protest job cuts
An organized labour group in Ontario wants to derail some of Premier Doug Ford's plans to axe thousands of full-time teaching positions through attrition, while phasing in an increase to intermediate and high school class sizes under the province's education revamp.

Rutgers Faculty Union Reaches Contract Agreement
Inside Higher Ed
Full-time faculty members and graduate assistants at Rutgers University reached a tentative contract agreement with their administration, averting a possible strike, they announced this week. “For the first time in the union’s nearly 50-year history, we won equal pay for equal work for female faculty, faculty of color and for faculty in the Newark and Camden campuses,” Deepa Kumar, associate professor of media studies and Middle Eastern studies, and president of the American Association of University Professors- and American Federation of Teachers-affiliated union, said in a statement. Graduate stipends will increase from $25,969 to $30,162 over the course of the contract.

Teachers: Unions criticise minimum wage internship
Two teaching unions have strongly criticised a minimum wage internship for teachers run by Stranmillis University College.

Manitoba premier picking fights with workers 100 years after general strike, labour leader says
A century after the Winnipeg General Strike rocked the city, Manitoba's premier is picking fights with unions and sowing "disharmony" between workers and their employers, a Manitoba labour leader said Wednesday.

No nursing home strike possible as court reserves decision
New Brunswick's Court of Appeal reserved its decision on a case that will have a crucial impact on the nursing home contract dispute and whether 4,000 unionized workers can walk off the job.

Gender equality emphasized on rights charter anniversary
Radio Canada International
In lauding the 37th anniversary of the signing of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms today, the justice minister focussed on gender equality and women’s empowerment.

The Ford government needs to realize the long-term benefits of pay equity
The Globe and Mail
Half an hour out of my day, once per year, is a reasonable amount of time to dedicate to achieving pay equity in my business, but that won’t be required of me now that Ontario’s Pay Transparency Act has been put on pause.

With boomers retiring and investment uncertain, where will Canada’s workers come from?
The Globe and Mail
We often hear about the economic and policy challenges that Canada faces because of a retiring boomer cohort, but the scale of the problem isn’t always clear, and solutions are limited. The lack of workers is already discouraging business investment, a situation that bodes poorly for growing the productive capacity of our economy. Already today, if not for immigration, Canada’s work force would be declining in numbers, so immigration is key to growing our pool of labour. In addition, measures should be taken to maximize work force participation for under-represented groups.

CFL Players' Association urges training camp boycott unless new deal with league is done
Contract talks between the CFL and its players have turned ugly.

Labour reform passes Mexican congress, making USMCA closer to reality
Automotive News Canada
Mexico's lower house of Congress has approved a labour law reform aimed at ensuring workers can freely vote for their union representation and contracts.

April 17, 2019

Free concerts in strike centenary spotlight
Winnipeg Free Press
The centennial of the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike will be celebrated with free concerts featuring performers such as Bruce Cockburn, Ani DiFranco and Heather Bishop, local unions announced Tuesday.

Labour council meets after harassment claims
Winnipeg Free Press
The spectre of Basia Sokal’s pending resignation hung over the Winnipeg Labour Council (WLC) on Tuesday night as the group’s monthly meeting kicked off with the reading of an anti-harassment policy statement.

BOMBSHELLS: Business as usual for Bombers despite contentious CBA negotiations
Winnipeg Sun
With the start of training camps a month away, the Canadian Football League and its Players Association are not even talking about a collective bargaining agreement, but that’s not about to change anything for Winnipeg Blue Bombers general manager Kyle Walters and his team of scouts and coaches.

Striking Saskatoon Co-op employees ratify new contract
Global News
A strike at Saskatoon Co-op that lasted over five months has ended.

U.K. tourists evicted from Niagara Falls hotel for supporting striking cafe workers
A vacationing father and daughter from the United Kingdom say they feel "threatened" and "scared" after being evicted from the Crowne Plaza Niagara Falls because they supported striking workers at the nearby Rainforest Cafe.

Working 9 to 9: Chinese tech workers push back against long hours
The Guardian
Chinese tech employees are pushing back against the industry’s notoriously long hours, known as the “996” schedule of working from 9am to 9pm, six days a week.

Polish government vows to fight wage rises as teachers’ strike enters second week
World Socialist Website
The Polish government, led by the extreme right-wing Law and Justice Party (PiS), is refusing to accede to demands of teachers for increased wages and better classroom conditions. Hundreds of thousands of teachers have been engaged in a national walkout since April 8 in one of largest struggles by the working class against decades of austerity that followed the restoration of capitalism 30 years ago.

Ford warns teachers not to strike as contract talks near
Toronto Sun
Premier Doug Ford warned teachers Tuesday not to “pull this strike nonsense,” with a likely challenging round of bargaining set to start as soon as this month.

Rutgers has gender wage gap of 6 to 8%, professor says
The Daily Targum
Rutgers American Association of University Professors and American Federation of Teachers' (AAUP-AFT) announced on Facebook last night at approximately 10 p.m. that they were making progress and would stay at the bargaining table 'round the clock' until a deal is reached to avert a strike.

Province pulls $20M in funding from OCAD University expansion
The Star
OCAD University is determined to move forward with a campus expansion project after receiving “devastating news” that the province is withdrawing millions in funding.

$32-million in education cuts expected at Ottawa's public school board
Ottawa Matters
Provincial funding cuts will eventually mean about $32 million less funding per year for the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board, trustees heard Tuesday night, but the resulting effects of those cuts are still to be determined.

ArcticNet to receive $32 million Arctic research grant
The Star
Canada’s largest program of Arctic research will receive more than $32 million in funding over the next five years, the federal government announced Tuesday.

Indigenization efforts vary widely on Canadian campuses, study finds
University Affairs
When it comes to Indigenization at Canadian universities, most have focused on Indigenous hiring and student recruitment, with few making progress on long-term commitments that Indigenous education experts say are key to Indigenizing the academy. That’s the overall conclusion of a survey carried out by two researchers at the University of Alberta.

Growing inequalities in post-secondary education means students of color less likely to enroll in college
The Hill
Higher education remains the clearest pathway to the middle class for low-income families, but for millions of students every year, it remains out of reach. Low-income students are less likely than wealthier students to go to college and less likely to graduate with degrees that give them a shot at well-paying jobs if they do enroll.

April 16, 2019

Ford government stopping university, college profs from 'double-dipping'
University and college professors will no longer be allowed to "double-dip" by drawing a full salary and pension simultaneously, if legislation proposed by Premier Doug Ford's government passes.

Universities spend big on recruiters in scramble for foreign students
When Sahjanand Rai decided his educational future lay on the other side of the world, he did what many high school students do in his home province of Gujarat, in India. He hired an agent.

U of A academics vote to accept pay raise for female professors
Edmonton Journal
University of Alberta academic staff have voted in favour of a deal that gives female professors pay bumps and a lump sum to address a historic gender pay gap.

Big plan on campus: Canadian universities commercialize their land
The Globe and Mail
Trent University in Peterborough, Ont., may have jumped the gun when it put Noblegen Inc.’s future home on its latest campus map, but at least the move was on-trend.

Fifth of teachers plan to leave profession within two years
The Guardian
Around one in five teachers (18%) expect to leave the classroom in less than two years while two-fifths of teachers, school leaders and support staff want to quit in the next five years – blaming “out of control” workload pressures and “excessive” accountability, according to a poll by the country’s biggest teaching union.

UCU response to government decision not to support universities facing increased pension costs
Responding to the government's decision not to extend financial support to universities facing increased costs to fund the Teachers' Pension Scheme, University and College Union (UCU) acting general secretary, Paul Cottrell, said:

Co-op, union reach tentative agreement five months into strike
Saskatoon Star Phoenix
Like many of his colleagues, Robert Sawkew has spent the last five and a half months struggling to make ends meet.

'A New Kind of Union': New book explores the first five years in the history of Unifor
Unifor is Canada's largest private sector union with over 315,000 members. It's also a very young union. Just five years old, Unifor was formed through a merger of two unions -- the Canadian Autoworkers Union and the Communication, Energy and Paperworkers Union.

April 15, 2019

Education review commission releases discussion paper, public meeting schedule
Winnipeg Free Press
The commission tasked with a major review of Manitoba's kindergarten to Grade 12 system announced its public consultation schedule and published a discussion paper on its main areas of focus Friday.

Gerrard, educators analyze provincial education system
Winnipeg Free Press
Manitoba’s Liberal education critic was in Brandon Sunday to speak with local educators on the pitfalls of Manitoba’s education system.

B.C. puts $1.9M into funding tuition for childhood educators
Times Colonist
More current and future childhood educators will receive bursaries to help cover tuition costs at post-secondary schools, the B.C. government has announced.

Post-secondary campuses greet PC funding plan with mix of acceptance and fear
As the Progressive Conservatives unveil their plan to significantly tie university and college funding to performance, Ottawa's post-secondary campuses are reacting to the provincial budget with a mixture of acceptance and fear.

U of A academic staff vote on new deal addressing gender wage gap
Edmonton Sun
More than 4,000 academic employees at the University of Alberta are voting on new employment agreements that would give raises only to women who are full professors.

How PCs and Liberals have damaged higher education
The Star
Ford’s government dropped yet another bombshell for Ontario’s universities and colleges when it announced, in the new budget, that 60 per cent of their funding will be tied to performance metrics by 2024-25.

The Bombshell in the Ontario Budget
Higher Education Strategy Associates
Yesterday at Queen’s Park, Finance Minister Vic Fedeli brought in the Ontario Conservatives’ first budget of their new mandate.   There were cuts of various sorts, particularly in social services, but in many ways it was gentler than people expected: the plan involves getting the budget to balance in five years, which frankly is what the Liberals probably would have done anyway (though they wouldn’t have got there exclusively by reducing the spend side). It’s not even a strict zero-growth strategy – though some expenditures are being cut for fiscal 19-20, heath, education and post-secondary are all expected to grow at least a tiny bit in the coming years (albeit in nominal terms, not real ones).

Concordia students push for changes to university's sexual violence policy
Some Concordia students are protesting outside the Sir George Williams campus Friday morning, calling on the university to make swifter changes to its sexual violence policy, which includes sexual discrimination, intimidation, harassment and assault.

McGill drops Redmen name, citing pain caused to Indigenous students
CTV News
McGill University is dropping the Redmen name for its men's varsity sports teams, effective immediately, the university announced Friday.

COMMENTARY: Striking teachers unions and reforming Nevada labor law
Review Journal
There is strike talk in the air from the Clark County Education Association. The bone of contention is what nationwide typically pits teachers unions against local school boards and politicians. The teachers want higher pay and better working conditions.

Cuts to nursing programs 'a step backward' during nurse shortage, universities say
The provincial government has cut $8.7 million in funding for nursing programs at a time when New Brunswick is suffering a shortage of nurses.

Jeff Bezos challenges retail rivals to match Amazon's $15 minimum wage
Washington Post
Just five months after Amazon moved to a $15 minimum wage, chief executive Jeff Bezos has called on other retailers to match it.

April 12, 2019

Funding for Ontario colleges, universities will be increasingly tied to performance outcomes
CTV News
The Ontario government is putting more conditions on post-secondary funding, saying money for the province's public colleges and universities will increasingly be tied to performance outcomes.

Ontario faculty alarmed by proposal to overhaul university funding in provincial budget
University of Toronto Faculty Association
Ontario’s faculty are alarmed by the Doug Ford government’s budget proposal to allocate 60 per cent of university funding based on institutional performance. By design, performance-based funding threatens education quality as it rewards institutions that meet specific performance targets while penalizing those that do not. Faculty are also concerned by signals that the government is considering targeting the rights of senior faculty and interfering with university collective agreements.

As Ontario education funding rises by less than inflation, critics call it ‘rolling back the clock’
The Star
The Ontario government will spend $1 billion more on education over the next three years, mostly to meet the costs of growing enrolment and a new child-care rebate — an amount critics said won’t even cover inflation.

Langford University? New report recommends West Shore campus
CTV News
The number of West Shore high school students going to university is significantly below the provincial average.

Sask. Polytechnic laying off 19 employees, reviewing vacancies
Saskatoon Star Phoenix
Saskatchewan’s largest trade school is laying off 19 people this week, including seven academic staff and a dozen professional services employees.

Here's what would happen if the Rutgers University faculty went on strike
More than a year of fruitless contract negotiations has spurred Rutgers University's unionized faculty and graduate students to mobilize the university community — staff, students and distinguished professors — to back their plans to strike, if union leaders deem it necessary.

Judge rules against WRHA's bid to claw back $3,500 from former worker
A Manitoba judge has upheld an arbitrator's decision not to get involved in the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority's fight to claw back cash it says was overpaid to a now-retired employee.

Public-sector workers join forces to fight 'peanuts' for wages
As nursing home workers continue to take their labour dispute public, making noise across the province, more and more public-sector workers are joining them in their fight for better wages.

City probe impacting contract talks: transit union
Winnipeg Free Press
Winnipeg city hall’s internal probe into the workplace habits of its building inspectors seems to be having a ripple effect across the administration.

Striking public health nurses rallying for new employer mandate
CTV News
Striking nurses at the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit are holding a ‘Rally for a New Employer Mandate’ on Friday.

Tens of Thousands of Stop & Shop Grocery Store Workers Strike Over Wages, Health Care
Tens of thousands of employees at Stop & Shop supermarkets in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut went on strike Thursday over stalled contract negotiations.

The Amazon Air pilots who deliver your parcels are prepared to strike
The Washington Post
Amazon has become a retail powerhouse in part because of its promise of two-day delivery on millions of items. But now some of the pilots who transport the company’s packages are speaking out against what they describe as low wages, shoddy maintenance and stalled contract negotiations.

FG’s failure to honour agreements radicalising labour unions –Don
A member of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), University of Abuja chapter, Professor Isaac Nnamdi Obasi, has said the inflexible attitude of the federal government towards fulfilling agreements reached with labour unions has been responsible for the unending industrial disputes and radicalisation of trade unions in the country.