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. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for article text.

September 28, 2023

MPI, union stand firm
Brandon Sun
With negotiations at a standstill, Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) is rolling out new backup plans and more replacement workers, which shows that the government is out of touch, says the leader of the 1,700 union workers on strike.

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Unifor addresses members who are unhappy with three-year Ford deal
Globe and Mail
Unifor is taking steps to deal with union members unhappy with the new contract with Ford Motor Co. of Canada, holding special meetings and writing an open letter that the agreement stands even though a majority of skilled tradespeople voted against it.

Newfoundland asks oil sands workers to return home from Alberta with the lure of new jobs
Globe and Mail
Alberta and Newfoundland are engaging in a game of tug of war with oil sands workers as both energy-producing provinces attempt to lure Atlantic Canadians in a tight labour market.

Quebec Treasury Board president asks public sector unions to scale back demands
Global News
The Quebec government says it’s ready to reduce its contract demands on teachers, nurses, and other public sector workers, but only if the unions representing them are willing to do the same.

Jeremy Corbyn: Trade Unions Are Starting to Turn the Tide
From autoworkers in the US to railworkers in the UK, organized labor is enjoying a new lease on life. In an interview, former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn explains why he thinks militant organizing represents the trade unions’ future.

Trump to UAW: Endorse me or you won’t have a union
Iowa Capital Dispatch
Former President Donald Trump told United Auto Workers (UAW) leaders Wednesday that they would not have a union if they fail to endorse him in the 2024 presidential election.

Education funding a top priority for some Manitobans in upcoming election
When Jennifer Karpenko thinks about key issues in Manitoba's upcoming provincial election, she says education is at the forefront.

Laurentian University meets its enrolment predictions this year, says interim president
Laurentian University is a bit ahead of its enrolment predictions for the year, with about 7,700 students, says its interim president and vice-chancellor.

Hundreds gather to protest Brescia's merger with Western University
Hundreds of Brescia University College students and staff members took to the streets on Wednesday to protest the controversial decision to shut down operations and merge Canada's oldest and only women's university with Western University.

University of Regina introduces new Indigenous engagement plan to further reconciliation
Global News
The University of Regina is taking steps towards reconciliation, aiming to position itself as a leader in Indigenous engagement and education.

Quest University sale details redacted from newly disclosed agreements
Prince George Citizen
The purchase price for Quest University’s campus has been censored from a contract released by Capilano University.

Louisiana’s universities are an ‘academic freedom oasis’ — for now
Louisiana Illuminator
Louisiana’s higher education faculty count themselves lucky that attacks on academic freedom on campus have not taken root here. But the looming possibility of such policy changes is one key factor that critics say keeps universities from recruiting top faculty from states where it has.

Proposed law could protect academic freedom across Europe
In response to crackdowns on academic freedom in eastern and northern Europe, a member of the European Parliament has proposed a law to safeguard research freedom across the continent.

Has tenure outlived its usefulness?
Washington Examiner
It is heresy inside the academy to say such a thing, but absent some serious reforms, tenure deserves to go the way of the spinning wheel and the dodo. Properly reformed and restructured, however, it could have an important rebirth.

September 27, 2023

Post-secondary funding hot topic at party leaders debate
Winnipeg Free Press
The three major party leaders faced off Tuesday in Brandon for an early-morning debate that put a spotlight on local issues.

Executive director's corner / EDI statements: A threat to academic freedom?
With some universities and colleges now asking job candidates to submit EDI — equity, diversity and inclusion — statements with their applications, CAUT has been asked whether this practice violates academic freedom. A sub-group of the CAUT Executive Committee considered the matter and determined that the answer to the question is, as lawyers often say: “It depends.”

The FQPPU affirms support for union drive by professors at McGill's Faculty of Education
The Fédération québécoise des professeures et professeurs d'université (FQPPU) applauds the efforts of the professors at McGill's Faculty of Education, who have formed a faculty union – the Association of McGill Professors of Education/ Association McGillienne de professeur.eure.aire.s d'éducation (AMPE) – which filed an application with the Tribunal administratif du travail seeking certification as the exclusive bargaining representative of full-time professors at the faculty.

SFU support staff going on strike Thursday
Some staff at Simon Fraser University say they will be walking off the job this week.

Librarians create educational tool for accessing residential school survivor stories
Global News
A lot can be learned from the stories of residential school survivors.

NDSU students and faculty protest cuts to provost's office
AM1100 The Flag
Department realignment continues at North Dakota State University as the university tackles budget cuts.

Not So Black and White
Is white privilege real? How racist is the working class? Why has left-wing antisemitism grown? Who benefits most when anti-racists speak in racial terms?

Conciliation effort fails in MPI strike
Winnipeg Free Press
Conciliation efforts between Manitoba Public Insurance and the union representing its striking workers appear to have collapsed, with union leaders rejecting a “final offer” put forward by the Crown corporation Tuesday.

Manitoba Public Insurance says latest offer to union is final after weeks-long strike
Manitoba Public Insurance says it has tabled its final offer to the union representing hundreds of workers who have been on strike for four weeks.

Quebec nurses union says job postings requiring bilingualism are discriminatory
The Canadian Press
A nurses union on Quebec's Gaspé Peninsula says job postings by the local health-care network discriminate against francophones because they require that applicants speak English.

Air Canada pilots to demonstrate at Pearson airport on Friday
Globe and Mail
Air Canada’s pilots will demonstrate at Toronto Pearson International Airport on Friday, calling for better pay and working conditions on the same day their collective agreement expires.

Gig economy: blurred lines need to be recognised in new labour laws
Financial Times
Is the gig up for the European platform economy? Lawmakers in Brussels are discussing new labour rules that would give drivers and riders greater protection. Uber has claimed that, if it were forced to treat its drivers as employees, it would have to cut jobs, raise prices and retrench. The UK’s Deliveroo has already exited Spain, where the government has ruled to strengthen rider rights.

Laws allowing excessive overtime makes Malaysia party to propagating forced labour
The Star
Laws allowing 104 hours of overtime per month must be amended as this is making Malaysia party to propagating forced labour, say rights groups.

Taiwan employers told to comply with overtime rules
Human Resources Director
Employers in Taiwan are being urged to comply to the legal way of paying employees overtime after fines related to such violations ballooned to millions last year, according to reports.

Nigeria’s two biggest workers’ unions call indefinite strike over cost of living
Globe and Mail
Nigeria’s two biggest workers’ unions plan to start an indefinite strike next week to protest against a cost-of-living crisis after the government scrapped a popular but costly petrol subsidy, union leaders said on Tuesday.

September 26, 2023

Foreign students being tricked into thinking they can get permanent residency by studying in Canada, experts warn
Globe and Mail
Foreign students, some of them confused by false promises from immigration consultants, are being misled into thinking that studying at Canadian postsecondary schools is a guaranteed route to remaining permanently in the country, senators and immigration experts are warning.

Ontario’s publicly funded colleges posted significant operating surpluses last year
Globe and Mail
Ontario’s publicly funded colleges recorded hundreds of millions of dollars in operating surpluses last year thanks in large part to tuition fees paid by Indian international students, one of the key financial relationships at risk as the diplomatic crisis between Ottawa and New Delhi deepens.

Female students set to rally to save Brescia University College
The London Free Press
Brescia University College students are taking up the fight to save the women’s-only school, launching a petition and organizing a rally to oppose its impending merger with Western University.

AAUP, Itself a Union, Is Locked in a Contract Fight With Its Own Staff Union
Times Higher Education
The American Association of University Professors in the last 100 years has represented many faculty members not just as the professional association it’s been since 1915, but, increasingly, as a union. The AAUP has also supported racial equity and vocally opposed efforts in Florida and elsewhere to limit discussions of race and gender.

Reclaim academic freedom
Washington Examiner
Colleges are enthralled with diversity, equity, and inclusion ideology. It’s not just the bureaucratic commissars some red-state leaders are finally defunding. Nor is it that college professors are hired and promoted based on their adherence to DEI ideology. This neo-Marxist ideology is insinuating itself evermore into courses and graduation requirements. Any sign of pushback from legislators is labeled an attack on "academic freedom."

Striking university staff ‘forced to cut back on food’ as they ‘can’t pay the bills’
The Independent
Striking university staff say they are being forced to cut back on food and are struggling to pay their bills in an ongoing row about pay.

Canadian auto workers to target General Motors after deal with Ford is ratified
Windsor Star
Canadian auto workers say General Motors will be their next target after members ratified a new three-year labor contract with Ford.

Why the richest contract in Canadian automaking history might not be good enough for GM and Stellantis workers
Toronto Star
It’s arguably the richest contract agreement in Canadian automotive history.

Protests call attention to health care privatization
Penticton Herald
As provincial representatives return to the legislature at Queen's Park, calls to strengthen Ontario's health care system are getting louder.

Labour Arbitration Is No Alternative To A Strike
The Maple
A recent dust-up in the house of labour has raised questions about when unions should opt for arbitration. When the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) struck a “tentative deal” with the province in late August seeming to surrender the union’s right to strike in favour of binding settlement, this usually banal and technical issue momentarily became a political flashpoint.

Should federally regulated employees be allowed to file complaints directly to the CHRC?
Canadian HR Reporter
One lawyer is calling for a change in the system to allow workers in federally regulated workplaces to file complaints directly to the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) if they need to.

Trump stabbed labor over and over. Now he says he supports striking auto workers?
The Guardian
Strikes are painful affairs for unions and companies alike, but that hasn’t stopped Donald Trump from making plans to go to Detroit next week to try to make political hay out of the United Auto Workers’ historic strike. The former president is planning a prime-time speech before 500 union members that will trumpet the message that he has “always had their back”.

Finland’s new government wants major changes to labour law
Nordic Labour Journal
A new centre-right government started governing in Finland on 20 June after winning April’s elections, and there is now talk of an historic paradigm change. Petteri Orpo’s four party coalition wants to make major changes in the labour market.

September 25, 2023

Brandon University faces $3-M deficit
Winnipeg Free Press
With rising expenses and no expectation of equitable provincial funding, Brandon University’s administration is contending with a $3 million deficit heading into budget season.

Brescia's students and faculty 'blindsided' by decision to merge with Western University
A decision to merge Canada's oldest and only women's college with Western University is being met with anger and disappointment by the Brescia community who say the integration was not done with consultation and is misguided. 

University of California accused of not honouring contracts negotiated following massive strike
Chemistry World
After tens of thousands of postdoctoral and graduate student researchers at the University of California (UC) system went on an unprecedented strike lasting more than a month they were ecstatic when they eventually won substantial pay increases and other benefits late last year. Their example went on to inspire other higher education workers across the US who also mobilised to seek better conditions. But their hopes have been tempered by the failure of some of these benefits to materialise at many UC institutions.

Sexual harassment impacts university staff – our research shows how
Academic Matters
There is increasing attention on the lack of progress around sexual harassment and assault on Australian university campuses. On Wednesday, Education Minister Jason Clare acknowledged community concerns, saying “we’re just not doing enough”.

Who is reviewing the reviewers?
University Affairs
One-third of peer reviewers for the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) submitted outstanding reviews, while no more than one in 20 did not perform adequately, according to an analysis of the first three years of the funder’s review quality assurance (RQA) program.

University staff union backs away from UK-wide strikes as support wanes
The Guardian
The University and College Union has backed away from UK-wide strikes scheduled for next week, after two-thirds of campus branches declined to take part.

Students worry about their education in Canada
The Sunday Guardian
Indian students studying in Canada and their relatives in India are a little concerned about their education, as relations between the two countries have reached an all-time low. In light of Canada’s deteriorating security situation, India on Friday stopped issuing visas to Canadian citizens and released a travel advisory for Indian students, professionals, and tourists travelling to the country. Tensions between the two countries continue to simmer diplomatically.

Over 90% of public sector union members in Quebec in favour of a strike
The first votes held by the common front of major public sector unions indicate unequivocal support for a walkout.

Unifor reaches deal with Ford; Payne: ‘We will change lives with this agreement’
After a marathon of bargaining over the course of more than 24 consecutive hours this week Canada’s largest public sector union Unifor reached a tentative deal with Ford Motor Company.

Social media is a double-edged sword for the public image of Canadian labour unions
The Conversation
Union membership in Canada has been declining over the past four decades. In 2022, the percentage of employees who are union members fell to 29 per cent from 38 per cent in 1981. This decline has been partly attributed to the stagnant or outdated image of unions, which makes it difficult for some workers to relate to these organizations.

'Our people are ready': General strike possible in Quebec health, education, social services
Thousands of public-sector workers carried turquoise flags Saturday afternoon through downtown Montreal. The workers, representing a collaboration of several unions, say they’re ready to launch general strike unless the Quebec government can give them a “respectable” offer.

Common Front unions to continue protests in Quebec
CTV News
Front Commun (Common Front) union members plan to gather at dawn on Monday to denounce the Legault government's decision to cut bonuses as tense negotiations continue between Quebec and unions representing thousands of public sector workers.

Writers Guild and Hollywood studios reach tentative deal to end strike. No deal yet for actors
CTV News
Union leaders and Hollywood studios reached a tentative agreement Sunday to end a historic screenwriters strike after nearly five months, though no deal is yet in the works for striking actors.

Thousands of Greece public workers strike against new labor laws
Thousands of public sector workers in Greece took part in a strike on Thursday in opposition to new labor law put forth in the Hellenic Parliament. Workers including doctors, transport staff and firefighters protested in Athens, Greece to voice their objection.

September 22, 2023

Union, BIZ argue for, against remote work for civic employees
Winnipeg Free Press
Remote work triggered extensive debate at city hall Thursday, with some pushing to expand work-from-home options for municipal employees and others calling to immediately end the practice.

CUPE Extendicare locals secure strike mandates
At an information picket outside Extendicare Maples Long-term Care Home, CUPE announced that CUPE 1475 workers at Extendicare Oakview Place and CUPE 2719 workers at Extendicare Maples have both voted 99% in favour of a strike mandate.

Parks Canada: Employer delays delivering final agreement
More than 5,000 members of PSAC’s Parks Canada bargaining unit are still waiting for the employer to deliver a final draft of the new collective agreement, ratified August 4, 2023.

Apple workers in France stage strike on iPhone 15 launch day
Workers at Apple (AAPL.O) stores in France began a nationwide strike over pay and working conditions on Friday in a protest designed to coincide with the launch of the iPhone 15.

Former U of M law dean’s disciplinary hearing temporarily on hold
Winnipeg Free Press
The professional disciplinary hearing of a law dean who was ousted from Robson Hall under mysterious circumstances in 2020 has been adjourned for a month.

Manitoba educators say protests over LGBTQ rights, sex ed in schools exploit parents with misinformation
The head of Manitoba's largest school division says nationwide protests that hit the province on Wednesday involved people "deliberately stirring the pot to create misinformation" about public education.

'Fear mongering' kept 1,000 kids home from Winnipeg school division, superintendent says
A co-ordinated effort of hate and intolerance left a Winnipeg school division with more than 1,000 student absences on Wednesday, the division's superintendent says.

Canada's only women's university ends 104 year run to merge with Western University
After 104 years as one of Canada's only women's universities, London, Ont.'s Brescia University College has announced that it will fully integrate into Western University starting in May.

NOSM University, workers begin conciliation process Friday
Unionized faculty and staff at NOSM University in Sudbury and Thunder Bay are ready to enter provincially mediated conciliation with the administration of the medical school, said a news release Thursday from the NOSM U Faculty and Staff Association (NUFSA), part of OPSEU Local 677.

A new agreement at University of Toronto
The University of Toronto Faculty Association (UTFA) has achieved a seven per cent pay increase, retroactive to July 1, 2022, for the third year of their 2020-2023 agreement. The seven per cent is in addition to the one per cent already awarded for each year of the agreement, resulting in a compounded total of 10.17 per cent for UTFA members over the three-year period. The increase also applies to the overload course rate.

Universities hit hard by Meta’s block of Canadian news
University Affairs
Late last June, after news broke of a stabbing at the University of Waterloo, the student paper Imprint immediately turned to Instagram — its most popular social media platform — and X (formerly Twitter) to share all the latest developments. Posts included updates, bumps of university feeds as well as links to stories on the police investigation and student demands for accountability.

What happens if a university goes bust?
The Conversation
Governments face difficult choices when industries fail. They can stand by while private businesses collapse and see the resulting loss of jobs and revenue. Or they can step in and use public money to prop up these firms.