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.

January 27, 2020

U of M opens doors to Sexual Violence Resource Centre
Winnipeg Free Press
The opening date for the University of Manitoba’s resource centre for survivors of sexual violence can’t come soon enough, advocates say, after years of calls for administration to create a one-stop, survivor-focused office.

Improving education requires avoiding curriculum traps
Winnipeg Free Press
The education minister recently hinted Manitoba might undertake extensive curriculum reform as one response to our showing on international standardized tests, and as one aspect of the education review to be released in March.

Unintended consequences and the change to Alberta post-secondary funding
At Mount Royal University in Calgary, there are two courses that regularly appear on the Top 10 list for most fails, withdrawals and poor grades. The micro- and macro-economics courses are required for those wishing to go into business, economics or policy studies. Both are hard.

Trent University’s Part Time Academic Workers Deliver Strong Strike Mandate
Business Wire
Part-time academic workers at Trent University, members of Unit 1, Local 3908 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE 3908-1) have this week voted overwhelmingly to give their bargaining committee a strong mandate to take whatever action they feel is needed to achieve a fair agreement. This mandate includes strike action if the committee deems it necessary. Voting took place online between January 17-24.

Majority of Mount Allison faculty authorize strike action
Amherst News
Support is high right now among Mount Allison’s faculty members for possible strike action, if a collective agreement isn’t reached soon with the university.

Ryerson University no longer recognizing student union after fiscal allegations
The Loop - CTV News
Ryerson University is no longer recognizing the Ryerson Students' Union as the official student government at the school, following financial mismanagement allegations.

How Harvard Aims to Muzzle Unions
The New York Review of Books
At the beginning of January, thousands of graduate teachers and researchers at Harvard University returned to work after a contentious, month-long strike, with potential consequences for American workers reaching far beyond Cambridge. The Harvard Graduate Students Union (HGSU), a United Auto Workers affiliate that comprises roughly 4,500 student employees, has—together with unions at Columbia and NYU—been at the leading edge of a movement of academic workers that has swept the country over the last decade, and in 2018 it won one of the largest successful unionization elections in recent history. Over months of bargaining, Harvard reached common ground with the union on some issues—such as agreeing to provide student workers with the workspace and materials they require to do their jobs—while giving little on the central questions of wages, health care, and protections against harassment and discrimination. But at the same time, over the course of the strike, the university began to lash out in punitive and ominous ways.

International Day of Education: the world needs another 69 million teachers
Education International
On January 24, the International Day of Education, education unions warn that the world is not facing a global learning crisis, but a global education funding crisis. The only way to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 4 and ensure inclusive and equitable education for all is to fund free quality public education.

Difficult budget choices ahead
Winnipeg Free Press
Winnipeggers can expect the city's first multi-year balanced budget to take a "disciplined" fiscal approach to managing the coffers when it's released March 6, Mayor Brian Bowman says.

Economic survey suggests U.S. labour market may have peaked
The Globe and Mail
There is an even balance in the share of U.S. businesses reporting decreases and increases in employment for the first time in a decade, a survey showed on Monday, the latest suggestion that the labor market has likely peaked and job growth could slow this year.

Unifor calling on Premier Moe to intervene after Co-op escalates dispute
Unifor is disappointed but not surprised at Federated Co-operatives Limited’s (FCL) refusal to accept the union’s offer today to return to the bargaining table.

A life on the line: From games to arrests, the Unifor pickets experience the extremes
Regina Leader-Post
Some union members on the picket line outside the Co-op Refinery Complex spent Day 50 in the lockout playing ball hockey, occasionally distracted by thumbs down or honks of support as cars and trucks moved past their barricades.

As Uber and Lyft arrive in BC, rights of ride-hailing drivers must be protected
BC Federation of Labour
The BC Federation of Labour (BCFED) responded today to the issuing of licenses to Uber and Lyft by the Passenger Transportation Board (PTB), emphasizing that ride-hailing companies must comply with BC’s labour laws and ensure drivers have minimum labour protections under the Employment Standards Act.

January 24, 2020

Age and performance ‘fail to explain’ gender pay gap
Times Higher Education
Age and performance account for less than half of the earnings disparity between male and female academics, and some women could buy a house with the amount they are underpaid over the course of their careers, according to research.

The consequences of overtime in Dutch academia
Today, I joined three colleagues to head to The Hague to hand over a report of 720 formal complaints of structural overtime in academia and its negative consequences to the Labour Inspectorate. These complaints were filed as a single collective complaint by two labour unions, on behalf of WOinActie, the activist group of academics that tries to improve working and learning conditions in academia. The main claim of WOinActie has been that the Dutch Universities (which are all public), have become inadequately funded due to the rising number of students over the last two decades, and that this has caused structural overtime to be necessary to get the work done, which in turn harms the mental, physical and social well-being of university staff. And it’s also harming the quality of our teaching.

UK universities see boom in Chinese students
The number of Chinese students at UK universities has soared - rising by 34% in the last five years.

Ontario government, teachers’ unions spar in PR battle over education fight
Globe and Mail
The Ontario government has diverted political staff to a campaign-style war room as it battles teachers’ unions. The unions are taking their fight to social media, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on advertisements decrying Premier Doug Ford’s cuts.

Ford says his patience with teachers' unions will only last for so long
National Post
Premier Doug Ford says “there is only so long” his patience will last with the teachers’ unions.

Opinion: On post-secondary education funding, Jason Kenney gets it right
Globe and Mail
There’s a pattern developing around many of the policy announcements being made by the Alberta government of Jason Kenney.

Notice of motion for non-confidence vote put forward against UNBC President Dr. Daniel Weeks
The president of the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) could face a non-confidence vote in the Senate if a motion tabled yesterday's meeting (Jan. 22) is successful.

LU social work prof should get a higher salary, arbitrator rules
An arbitrator has ruled that some of the ways Laurentian University determines the salaries of its teaching staff is too subjective, and has ordered it to review – and increase – how much a social work professor is paid.

Western investigation found discrimination against female Ivey profs
The Gazette
A discrimination complaint by an Ivey professor in 2017 spurred an investigation that found “systemic discrimination” against female faculty in the business school.

'I just couldn’t walk away and be quiet': Ex-Ivey professor breaks silence about discrimination complaint and its toll
The London Free Press
Allison Johnson harbours no illusions about the blowback she’ll face for going public.

UVic board to consider partial fossil fuel divestment proposal
CTV News
The University of Victoria board of governors is about to consider a proposal that would see a reduction of the institution's carbon footprint in its short-term investments.

Alberta’s post-secondary funding problem is staring them right in the face
10 years ago, Alberta needed geologists and petroleum engineers. Now they’re unemployed. See what happens when post-secondary funding is predicated on a boom-and-bust economy?

Billionaire George Soros Pledges $1 Billion University Fund To Fight ‘Would-Be Dictators’
George Soros pledged $1 billion to fund a new university network to tackle nationalism in a speech at the World Economy Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where the financier and philanthropist also condemned President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping.

Public, union making voices hear in Winnipeg's budget process
Winnipeg Sun
City council will likely not pass its final budget until March but petitions and complaints against potential cuts are already piling up.

Despite renewed strikes, France pushes on with pension plan
Winnipeg Free Press
Women workers danced in protest and striking Eiffel Tower employees shuttered France's most famed monument Friday — but the government pushed ahead anyway with a troubled bill redesigning the national retirement system.

Zimbabwe billionaire to pay doctors about $300 a month to end strike
National Post
Striking junior doctors at Zimbabwe’s state hospitals will end a four-month strike after accepting an offer from a telecoms billionaire to pay them a monthly allowance of about $300 for six months, their union said on Thursday.

January 23, 2020

Horizon Manitoba Report
Business Council of Manitoba
Manitoba is facing a turning point as the world is entering the fourth industrial revolution, characterized by rapid disruption of current industries, globally connected devices and people, automation, robotics, and artificial intelligence. These changes have the potential to massively disrupt the province’s workforce and will affect almost every industry in Manitoba’s economy. We need to be strategic and work together to move our province forward to address the challenges and seize the opportunities.

In the 2000s, Alberta invested heavily in its universities. In the 2020s, that's about to change
Alberta's Advanced Education minister has informed universities in the province to spend less money and expect to get less money from the government in the future.

Feds, Ontario sign funding deal for French-language university in Toronto
Winnipeg Free Press
The federal and Ontario governments have reached a deal on funding a new French-language university in Toronto.

Big Majority of Ontario Public is Supporting School Teachers Over Doug Ford, New Polling Finds
Press Progress
Doug Ford appears to be losing his battle against Ontario school teachers.

SOAS goes on the attack with major cuts to casual academic staff
Claiming financial distress, SOAS has effectively sacked all its precarious academics in one fell swoop, reports Elaine Graham-Leigh

University Academic Leaders Are Losing Confidence In Student Work Readiness—And That’s Good News
There are cracks in the ivory tower regarding how well universities feel they are preparing students for the world of work. And nothing could be better for higher education. Over the past decade, surveys of the U.S. general population, C-level business executives and university trustees have consistently revealed a vote of little confidence in the work readiness of college graduates; a mere 13% of U.S. adults, 11% of business executives and 6% of trustees give strong confidence in their assessments. All the while provosts (the chief academic officers) of universities have been much more confident in their own institutional ratings of preparing students for work—with the majority saying they are “very effective.” But that confidence is starting to erode and it signals awareness that universities can do better when it comes to preparing students for success in the workplace.

Manitoba needs climate- and social-action budget
Winnipeg Free Press
UNITED Nations scientists, we have just 10 years to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half or face catastrophic effects that threaten life on Earth. Accordingly, 12,000 young people demonstrated on the lawn of the Manitoba legislature on Sept. 27 to call on all elected leaders to act — now.

Union fined for violating court order in Regina refinery labour dispute
Winnipeg Free Press
A judge has fined a union that represents more than 700 workers at a Saskatchewan oil refinery $100,000 for violating a court order that set limits on picketing during an ongoing contract dispute.

Unions across Canada throw support behind Unifor in Regina: ‘We’re all blue collar workers’
Global News
Rally cries are growing louder as day 50 in the Co-op Refinery labour dispute approaches.

NUPGE publishes new paper in Diversity and Inclusion in Our Unions series: Women Workers
National Union of Public and General Employees
Despite legislation that would say otherwise, the fight for gender equality is not over in Canada.

Missouri unions add 47,000 members, putting total at a 15-year high
St. Louis Post Dispatch
The defeat of a right-to-work law in 2018 seems to have given Missouri's unions a boost. Their membership grew by 46,000 last year, bucking a downward national trend.

January 22, 2020

Unifor president arrested during blockade of Regina’s Co-op Refinery
Global News
Unifor national president Jerry Dias has been arrested in Regina following a tense day on the picket line outside Regina’s Co-op Refinery Complex.

Police chief says refinery labour dispute holding city of Regina ‘hostage’
Globe and Mail
Leaders in Saskatchewan are urging both sides in a labour dispute at an oil refinery to resume talks after comments by Regina’s police chief that the escalating fight is holding the city hostage.

Trust In Capitalism Eroding As Inequality Worsens: Study
Huffington Post
Rising income inequality is undermining confidence in capitalism around the world, according to a survey conducted by public relations firm Edelman ahead of the gathering of the elites in the Swiss ski resort of Davos.

Low pay, long hours, violence need to be addressed, Transit Plus drivers say
Transit Plus drivers say their work conditions include low pay for long hours and violence from some clients — and they blame the city's contract bidding system for the problems.

Wealth gap widening for more than 70% of global population, researchers find
The Guardian
Inequality has reached unprecedented levels, with more than 70% of the global population living in countries where the wealth gap is growing, according to a new UN report.

Former university prof jailed for possessing child pornography
Winnipeg Free Press
His arrest on child pornography charges cost former university professor and researcher Trevor James Pemberton his career.

How the dispute between Ontario and teachers’ unions could evolve
Global News
This week marks a busy one for teachers’ unions engaging in job action.

Teaching life skills in post-secondary education
Winnipeg Free Press/Canstar Community News
It’s a big move that could make a difference in college education across Canada. In partnership with the Manitoba Tourism Education College (MTEC), the Better Business Bureau Foundation has developed an innovative program that brings ethics education into post-secondary classrooms.