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.

May 26, 2022

Supports for students, nursing expansion, and research in 2022-23 UM budget
UM Today
The University of Manitoba’s Board of Governors approved the University’s 2022-23 $698.5 million general operating budget on May 24, 2022.

Latest COVID-19 Recovery updates
UM Today
Below are the latest updates and news as of May 25, 2022. For further information, please visit the COVID-19 webpage.

U of Manitoba approves tuition bump averaging 3.7% for 2022-23 school year
The University of Manitoba's board of governors has approved a tuition bump for the 2022-23 school year, as part of its nearly $700-million general operating budget.

Indigenous calls for exemptions to Quebec's Bill 96 get louder
Indigenous leaders in Quebec continue to call for an exemption to Bill 96 after the contentious legislation overhauling the Charter of the French language was passed Tuesday.

Faculty call on the administration to recognize the graduate worker union
Indiana Daily Student
IU faculty overwhelmingly voted in support of the graduate worker strike, including protection from being fired for striking and calling on the administration to recognize the union, according to a press release on May 23.

Institute pledges $1.5 billion to support scientists of color
The Washington Post
One of the country’s largest biomedical research institutions has pledged $1.5 billion to support scientists of color in university laboratories, an effort heavily influenced by the work of outgoing University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) President Freeman A. Hrabowski III, officials announced Thursday.

Student-professor relations post-pandemic prompt learning and intellectual curiosity
The Cavalier Daily
Through attending office-hours and sharing an occasional meal, students and professors both attempt to build relations with one another in order to build a more cohesive learning experience at the University. Students look to gain everything from a better understanding of the material to tangible, experienced-based career advice, while professors find enjoyment in and even learn from getting to know their students.

Duke professor under fire for refusing to attend 'Maoist' diversity training
Restoring America
professor at the Duke University School of Medicine is under fire after he blasted a mandatory equity training as "Maoist political propaganda" and refused to attend.

Universities are sleepwalking into censorship
History hardly lacks examples of unintended consequences, but Hanoi 1902 remains especially instructive. Having caused a rat infestation by laying nine miles of sewage pipes, the colonial government of French Indochina reckoned it could fix things by paying locals to catch them: one cent per tail handed in at the local municipal office. The scheme began in April and by June the Vietnamese were producing up to 20,000 tails per day.

Students’ Opinions of Professors Lean Positive
Inside Higher Ed
“I’ve had some really incredible and engaging professors,” wrote a Student Voice survey respondent attending a private university in New York. The next sentence of that comment, however, reflects just how individualized the education experience is, and how hard it is for students to give an overall rating of professors: “I’ve also had some really awful, racist/sexist/homophobic professors who didn’t listen to any student feedback.”

No token hires: Putting women in top jobs in men's sports is about winning
When Cammi Granato was young, she had a fantasy: she and her hockey-mad brothers would win the lottery and buy a hockey team and manage it together.

Carpenters’ union representing 15,000 striking Ontario workers reaches tentative agreement
Global News
The carpenters’ union representing 15,000 striking Ontario workers says it has reached a tentative agreement with various employer bargaining agencies.

Apple will hike retail wages by 10% as it faces inflation, a tight labor market—and a union drive
Apple is the latest big tech company to increase its pay amid record inflation and the fight for tech talent.

Nurses start strike today
The Monitor
Uganda Nurses and Midwives Union (UNMU) has announced that its members will start a strike today over low pay, joining thousands of allied health professionals who started theirs on May 16.

Global shipowner group and seafarers’ unions agree new three-year global minimum wage
The MediTelegraph
Maritime transport is the only sector with a formally recognised global minimum wage, which has existed for seafarers since 1958. The UN International Labour Organization (ILO) once again convened the latest bipartite round of negotiations between shipowners and seafarers’ unions from across the world, coordinated by the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), respectively. The agreement applies universally to the rating grade of Able Seafarer and is widely recognised by the global shipping community as contributing to decent work and employment for seafarers, to support themselves and their families, recognising that the overall well-being of seafarers is inextricably linked to their economic well-being.

May 25, 2022

Pembina Trails division loses three trustees
Winnipeg Free Press
A Winnipeg school board is down three trustees since the start of 2022, following the recent resignation of the chairperson and the suspension of a member.

19 students and 1 teacher killed in Texas elementary school shooting
An 18-year-old gunman opened fire Tuesday at a Texas elementary school, killing at least 19 children as he went from classroom to classroom, officials said, in the deadliest school shooting in nearly a decade and the latest gruesome moment for a country scarred by a string of massacres. The attacker was killed by law enforcement.

Provincial government offers to buy $53.5 M of Laurentian University real estate
Laurentian University is receiving more financial help from the Ontario government.

Technology used by educators in abrupt switch to online school shared kids’ personal information, investigation shows
Globe and Mail
Millions of students in Canada and around the world had their personal information sent to advertisers and data brokers when governments made an abrupt switch to online learning during the pandemic, according to a new report that reveals safety gaps in educational technology.

University of Toronto releases details of music faculty culture review
Globe and Mail
An external review of the University of Toronto’s faculty of music – triggered last year by an open letter alleging misogyny and systemic inequalities – has found many students, faculty and staff reported experiencing sexual harassment or racial discrimination, according to a summary released Tuesday.

COVID derailed learning for 1.6 billion students. Here’s how schools can help them catch up
By October last year, Meg Brydon could see the terrible toll the pandemic had taken on children at her school. Brydon was a teacher at Ashwood High School, in the suburbs of Melbourne, Australia — the city that has spent more time in COVID-19 lockdowns than any other in the world. The school had been closed, on and off, for about seven months.

Bereavement day can wait: Tory house leader
Winnipeg Free Press
A private member’s bill to create a bereavement day in May to remember Manitobans who died of substance use likely won’t be passed before MLAs break for the summer.

CFL makes 'final' amended contract proposal while players return to training camp
Commissioner Randy Ambrosie and the CFL have put the CFL Players' Association back on the clock.

Nova Scotia unions file for conciliation after talks break down
Talks between the Health Support Bargaining Unit and Nova Scotia Health and the IWK Health Centre have reached an impasse, with unions filing for conciliation in hopes of securing a new collective agreement for more than 3,000 health care workers across the province.

Lethbridge Starbucks workers file application to join Steelworkers union
The United Steelworkers union (USW) has filed an application with the Alberta Labour Relations Board (ALRB) for a union-certification vote on behalf of Starbucks workers at five stores in Lethbridge, Alta.

How Uber got almost everything it wanted in Ontario’s Working For Workers Act
Globe and Mail
Last July 20, members of the Ontario Workforce Recovery Advisory Committee – a panel appointed by the provincial government to study the future of work – met with a group of gig workers, labour advocates and a representative from Uber Canada. UBER-N

Airport delays here to stay for the long-term, union says
Toronto Star
What do you get when you cross a labour shortage with a severe thunderstorm and pent-up travel demand over a May long weekend?

How $1 per hour can help close the gender pay gap
Australian Unions
You may have seen a few memes lately about Scott Morrison and a $1 pay rise – and there’s good reason. 

Independent unions in Mexico use the USMCA to stop abuse at multinational plants
El Pais
The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the free trade treaty formerly known as NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), has apparently enabled some of Mexico’s independent unions in their defense of worker’s rights. Since the USMCA came into effect in July 2020, US trade authorities have lodged three complaints against production plants in Mexico for allegedly violating the agreement’s provisions on freedom of association.

Starbucks Workers Are Winning 90 Percent of Their Union Elections
The unionization drive at Starbucks is taking off.

Rail Unions Seek to Push Two-Year-Old Labor Talks to Biden
BNN Bloomberg
President Joe Biden and Congress could eventually be asked to resolve a long-running railroad-industry contract dispute if a federal intermediary grants a request by labor unions.

May 24, 2022

University/UMFA Anomalies Committee now receiving applications
UM Today
The Joint University/UMFA Anomalies Committee will consider applications to correct anomalies in base salaries of UMFA Members.  The University/UMFA collective agreement establishes a fund of $100,000 to correct anomalies in base salaries for each contract year. In this round, the joint committee will consider applications for both the 2021-22 and 2022-23 contract years. Members of UMFA as of March 31, 2021 are eligible to apply using the 2021 form, and members of UMFA as of March 31, 2022 are eligible to apply using the 2022 form. Applicants should apply using the form for the earliest year in which an anomaly can be established. The committee reserves the right to move an application to a different year. Salary adjustments will normally be made retroactive to April 1 of the year of application and will become part of base salary going forward.

School reconciliation experiences shared at education conference
Winnipeg Free Press
Increasing Indigenous representation among teachers and prioritizing relationship-building between school staff and students were touted as critical steps in advancing reconciliation at a national education conference in Winnipeg.

Western University unveils plan to tackle gender-based and sexual violence on campus
The results of two reports looking into multiple reports of sexual assault at the start of the 2021-2022 school year at Western University will see staff implement more mandatory programming and increase staffing in student dorms.

Cheap tuition, with a catch: Quebec lures foreign students to rural areas with price cut
CTV News
The urgent need for labour in all regions of Quebec is prompting the province to turn more to foreign students in order to fill the thousands of vacant positions.

Laurentian looks to extend creditor protection to Sept. 30
Members of Laurentian University’s senate voiced their displeasure Tuesday after LU president Robert Haché revealed the university’s plans to seek yet another extension of the stay of proceedings protecting LU from its creditors, this time until Sept. 30.

Huawei 5G ban puts UBC partnerships in spotlight; This week's decision stops short of restricting research agreements
A ban on Huawei Technologies'involvement in Canada's 5G wireless network could have a ripple effect on valuable research partnerships at Canadian universities, including the University of B.C., where Huawei funded 24 research projects worth $6.3 million over the past year.

Local post-secondary students accused of using fake documents to obtain course credits
The Record
Three post-secondary students are facing charges after fraudulent documents were allegedly used to obtain course credits.

Reinvestment needed in post-secondary education research and mental health
The COVID-19 pandemic has deeply intensified pre-existing issues within post-secondary education systems in Ontario.

UCP add post-secondary seats in Calgary, targeting 'high-demand' programs
Calgary Herald
An $84.6-million investment from the provincial government will fund high-demand programs at six Calgary post-secondary institutions.

Fighting Over Money
Inside Higher Ed
The University of Alaska system Board of Regents has approved pay raises for faculty—but the faculty union says the move is premature, coming amid ongoing negotiations and federal mediation.

Princeton Fires Tenured Professor in Campus Controversy
New York Times
Princeton fired a classics professor, “effective immediately,” on Monday after the university’s administration found that he had not been fully honest and cooperative with an investigation into his sexual relationship with an undergraduate student about 15 years ago.

Lee University Considers Limiting Student Speech On Gender
Huff Post
A private Christian university is considering strictly limiting the free speech rights of its students when it comes to sexuality and gender, from how they behave to what they wear and what they can say on campus or even online, according to published reports.

Global education in “worst crisis in a century” following pandemic
The PIE News
Closures of schools during the pandemic – with those in some regions closed for up two years – have exacerbated a poverty in learning, mental health, as well as young people losing out on school meals.

Graduate workers at Indiana University strike for union recognition
Thousands of unionizing graduate student-workers at Indiana University Bloomington (IU) are in the midst of a vital fight for union recognition and the future of public higher education in Indiana.

Labour board tosses fired education worker’s COVID-testing claim
Winnipeg Free Press
The Manitoba Labour Board has dismissed an educational assistant’s claim that her union failed to fairly represent her by not challenging a school division’s government-mandated requirement to collect proof of COVID-19 vaccination or regular rapid test results from employees.

Overcrowded Grace Hospital emergency room 'at the breaking point,' nurse says
Winnipeg Free Press
While the pandemic isn't straining hospitals to the same degree as before, the diagnosis for Winnipeg's health-care system is troubling and, in some cases, worsening. Wait times increased in March at every hospital, patients are waiting in ERs for days for an inpatient bed and chronic staffing shortages are widespread.

CFL players nix contract ratification
Winnipeg Free Press
Right when it looked as though it was smooth sailing for the Canadian Football League, they entered uncharted waters on Monday, leaving the 2022 season in danger of starting on time – or at all.

More federal government workers were exempt from COVID-19 vaccinations for religious reasons than medical concerns, data shows
Winnipeg Free Press
More federal public servants got out of the government’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate for religious reasons than for medical concerns, according to new data from 55 departments and agencies.

Phoenix 'nightmare' still haunting public servants, more than 6 years on
From forfeiting a family home to being chased into retirement for overpayments, public servants are opening up about how their lives are still deeply impacted by the infamous Phoenix pay system more than six years after problems first began.

Op-Ed: A new generation is reviving unions. The old guard could help
Los Angeles Times
This is the most exciting — and promising — moment for the nation’s labor movement in decades thanks to the landmark union victories at Starbucks and Amazon, as well as the spread of union drives to well-known companies like Trader Joe’s and Apple. To find similar excitement about unions, one would have to go back to the 1930s and the victorious Flint Sit-Down strike against General Motors, which inspired a tremendous wave of strikes and union drives across the U.S.

Activision Blizzard’s Raven Software workers vote to form industry’s first union
The Guardian
Workers in a division of video game company Activision Blizzard have voted to unionize, creating the first labor union at a major US gaming firm.

Stop the planet! Britain is facing a beer shortage over summer
Some 225 GMB members at Budweiser’s factory near Preston are taking their first action for 50 years.

May 20, 2022

Government accused of robbing students of education
Winnipeg Free Press
Manitoba university students and faculty went to the legislature Thursday to report a "theft."

Manitoba pushes ahead on education tax rebate, despite opposition to payouts for commercial property owners
The Manitoba government is ready to dish out education rebate cheques for the second straight year, despite the Official Opposition's objections to tax relief being extended to corporate landowners.

International students waiting months for Canadian visa approvals amid immigration backlog
Some international students looking to attend post-secondary schools in Canada, and who had already started online learning with them, say they've been waiting months for Ottawa to approve their study permits, putting their education and lives on hold.

University Must Reinstate Professor Who Tweeted About 'Black Privilege'
Yahoo News
The University of Central Florida must reinstate a longtime tenured professor who was fired after comments he made on Twitter were roundly condemned as racist following the murder of George Floyd, an arbitrator has ruled.

Princeton professor under sex misconduct probe faces firing in ‘politically motivated’ move
New York Post
An Ivy League professor who was under investigation for sexual misconduct is facing possible termination at Princeton University in what critics call a politically motivated maneuver.

Faculty react to AAUP report criticizing limits on academic freedom in UNC system
The Daily Tar Heel
In 2016, UNC history professor Jay Smith said he wanted to teach a course putting UNC’s athletic-academic scandal into the context of the broader history of big-time college sports.

Election 2022: Labor accused of being ‘sneaky’ over plan to cut discount for 40,000 uni students
About 40,000 university students who pay their tuition upfront would stop getting a 10 per cent discount on their fees under a Labor government, in a quiet change contained in the party’s policy costing documents released right before the election.

Here’s what the government and universities can do about the crisis of insecure academic work
The Conversation
Contract and casual workers in Australian universities have borne the brunt of revenue losses and funding cuts to higher education and research. When the government refused to provide JobKeeper to public universities during the COVID pandemic, thousands of academics on contracts got the boot.

How not to run a university
TODAY’S universities are complex businesses, not 19th-century workhorses of knowledge. They create and diffuse knowledge and act as a production force and a social lab for a better society. Experienced and knowledgeable faculty, modern infrastructure, technology and pedagogical changes are formidable targets to achieve before attracting quality students. These challenges require a reliable stream of finances and an enriching professional environment. Sustainability depends on student fees and competitive projects rather than just reliance on government grants. One’s own resources bring the autonomy needed to attract a more vibrant student body and industrial clientele.

Union expects $50M in backpay from province for civil servants
Winnipeg Free Press
Manitoba taxpayers are on the hook for more than $50 million in retroactive pay as a result of the Manitoba Government and General Employees’ Union arbitration award this week.

Nursing home nurses poised for about $8K in back pay, says association head
Nursing home nurses could soon each get about $8,000 in back pay, according to the interim CEO of the association.

Anti-Union Lobby Group Has Received Millions of Dollars From Doug Ford’s Government Since 2021
Doug Ford’s government has given millions of dollars to an “open shop” anti-union lobby group which has lobbied Ford’s own office as recently as three months ago in a bid to undermine unions representing skilled trades workers.

Three public sector unions challenge 'punitive' federal vaccine mandate for bureaucrats
National Post
The three biggest federal public sector unions are challenging the Liberals’ vaccine mandate for bureaucrats in court, arguing suspending unvaccinated workers without pay instead of letting them return to work from home is “punitive” and “unjustified.”

Revealed: Starbucks fired over 20 US union leaders in recent months
The Guardian
Starbucks has fired over 20 union leaders around the US over the past several months as union organizing campaigns have spread across the country, the Guardian can reveal.

10 Major Labor Strikes Throughout U.S. History
Since colonial times, when fishermen, bakers, refuse collectors and tailors tried to get more money or fairer treatment by refusing to perform their jobs, going on strike has been an important tactic of American labor. Strikes figured prominently in the rise of the organized labor movement that began in earnest in the mid-to-late 1800s. Over the years, they played a part in many of the labor movement’s hard-fought gains—from better wages to the eight-hour-work day and other improvements in working conditions.

Australia Has Mandatory Voting, and Election Days Are a Party
Teen Vogue
When Australians head to the polls on May 21, they won’t just be filling out ballots. Many voters will also grab a "democracy sausage” or a cupcake. At thousands of polling places around the country, volunteers will run barbecues and bake sales to raise money for their school or church group. They’re pretty much guaranteed a customer base because turnout at Australian elections is consistently between 90 and 95%. In a country where voting is mandatory, election days are a party and everyone’s invited.

May 19, 2022

Province to appeal U of M faculty damages award ruling
Winnipeg Free Press
The province has filed to appeal the recent court decision requiring it to pay the University of Manitoba Faculty Association more than $19.3 million in damages for government interference in 2016 salary negotiations.

'Enough is enough'
Winnipeg Free Press
A Winnipeg mother has taken severe steps — including filing a police report and keeping her elementary schoolers at home — to address a student’s violent threats towards one of her daughters, citing insufficient intervention at the hands of educators.

Education property tax cut misguided
Winnipeg Free Press
The absurdity of the Stefanson government’s decision to cut education property taxes while posting massive deficits and underfunding health care was laid bare last week.

McMaster says masks no longer mandatory on campus as of June 1
Masks will no longer be mandatory for students, staff and visitors at McMaster University, starting next month.

Laurentian University looks to extend creditor protection to Sept. 30
Members of Laurentian University’s senate voiced their displeasure May 17 after university president Robert Haché revealed plans to seek yet another extension of the stay of proceedings protecting the school from its creditors, this time until September 30.

SIIT receives $2.25M to expand nursing program into rural, remote locations
Academica Group
The Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies has received $2.25M from the Government of Canada in 2021-22 to expand its Indigenous Practical Nursing Diploma program in rural and remote areas. The program aims to increase the number of Indigenous healthcare professionals and build capacity for culturally appropriate care within Indigenous communities. “The expansion of SIIT’s Indigenous Practical Nursing program to rural and remote locations will provide increased access and opportunity for Indigenous Peoples who wish to enter the healthcare field,” said SIIT President Riel Bellegarde. “Ensuring Indigenous representation is of paramount importance to improving the healthcare system, to confronting existing racism and discrimination, and to ensuring the provision of culturally responsive care.” Canada (SK)

Arbitration panel sides with MGEU in wage-freeze fight
Winnipeg Free Press
An arbitration board has awarded a four-year collective agreement, with retroactive pay increases, plus interest, to a group of Manitoba civil servants who went to court to fight provincial wage-freeze legislation.

Manitoba civil service union wins retroactive pay hikes after fighting wage freeze
Some 11,000 Manitoba civil servants have won retroactive pay raises after fighting government demands for a wage freeze.

Manitoba civil service union fought wage freeze, wins retroactive pay hikes
CTV News Winnipeg
Some 11,000 Manitoba civil servants have won retroactive pay raises after fighting government demands for a wage freeze.

Tentative agreement brings end to CFL strike
Winnipeg Free Press
It’s time to get back to football.

Staff shortage forces Kamloops hospital to move some patients to Kelowna
When Arian Macaulay and her newborn son were admitted to Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops, B.C., last week she never imagined their stay would be cut short because of the hospital's staff shortage.

Talks stall as public service union seeks 13.5 per cent wage increase over three years
Ottawa Citizen
Canada’s largest federal union is walking away from contract negotiations over the government’s refusal to offer raises that keep up with the soaring cost of living.

Ground breaking legislation for garment workers in the US
Last week, the Fashioning Accountability and Building Real Institutional Change (FABRIC) Act was introduced to the US Senate. Once in place, the legislation will improve working conditions and reform the piece-rate pay scale for the country’s nearly 100,000 garment workers.

Gender pensions gap means retired women go the equivalent of four and a half months each year without a pension
The gender pensions income gap in the UK means that retired women effectively go for four and a half months each year without getting a pension, making today (Thursday) ‘gender pensions gap day’ – the day women pensioners start getting paid.

May 18, 2022

Minister mandates abuse-prevention training
Winnipeg Free Press
School coaches, teachers and other K-12 personnel will soon be required to complete new abuse prevention and recognition training, which covers topics ranging from power dynamics to their duty of care.

Education rebates on hold over ‘corporate welfare’ stand by Opposition
Winnipeg Free Press
WHILE the province is promising education property tax rebates will be issued by the time Manitobans’ tax bills are due at the end of June, the minister of finance says the NDP is threatening to delay the process.

University of Manitoba building new $24 million concert hall
Journal of Commerce
The University of Manitoba (UM) is building the $24-million, state-of-the art Desautels Concert Hall which, when compete in fall 2023, will not only provide a large performance space for students from the university’s faculty of music but also an intimate performance venue for lectures, conferences and other events.

NDP wants to stop education tax rebate from benefiting corporate property owners
Manitoba's Opposition says education property tax rebates should only go to homeowners and farmers — not the owners of commercial properties.

Manitoba's rules need change, woman says after teacher faced no consequences for inappropriate relationship
A year after graduating from a Winnipeg high school, Olivia Wilson says she's still shocked that there was no way for the school division to hold her music teacher accountable for his inappropriate relationship with her.

Ontario child-care sector skeptical rebates will begin in May as government announced
Globe and Mail
When Ontario signed a deal with the federal government to introduce $10-a-day child care, the province said parents would start seeing rebates in May – but with the program still in its early stages, the sector says that’s unlikely to happen.

Labour says Tory wage-freeze bill still sends a chill
Winnipeg Free Press
The labour movement says the Manitoba government can’t repair the damage done by its contentious wage-freeze bill by repealing it.

Canada’s largest federal public sector union declares impasse in negotiations with Ottawa
Globe and Mail
Canada’s largest federal public sector union says it has declared an impasse in negotiations with Ottawa and plans to file for conciliation in the hopes of reaching a settlement.

Passport officers facing verbal abuse, stress, long hours as demand for passports skyrockets: Union
Globe and Mail
The union representing Canada’s passport officers says its members are facing verbal abuse, stress and long hours as they continue to respond to an overwhelming surge in applications prompted by an uptake in travel after the lifting of many COVID-19 restrictions.

Ministers face demands for 11 PER CENT public sector pay rises as unions dismiss calls for restraint and threaten strike action in 'summer of discontent'
Trade unions today ramped up warnings of widespread strike action if workers' pay packets are not given a boost of more than 10 per cent.