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.

February 7, 2024

Finding the right funding formula
Winnipeg Free Press
Manitoba school divisions are getting a funding boost this year. Provincial government officials say it will exceed the rate of inflation. However, many school boards will only receive increases of one per cent or less. That means some may have to cut back on core services or raise education property taxes.

$12 million in Inuit post-secondary education funds approved
The Hamilton Spectator
An increase of $12 million in funding support for training and post-secondary education has been approved in a joint initiative between Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated (NTI) and the three regional Inuit associations: Kivalliq Inuit Association, Kitikmeot Inuit Association and Qikiqtani Inuit Association.

Applications to McGill, Concordia plummet after tuition hike targeting English schools
Globe and Mail
Applications to Quebec’s two largest English universities from out-of-province domestic students dropped substantially after the provincial government announced a tuition hike targeting those schools.

Canadian universities and colleges trying to come to grips with fallout from international student cap
Globe and Mail
Postsecondary schools across the country are trying to come to grips with the financial impact of the federal government’s cap on international study permits, assessing short-term issues such as visa processing delays and longer-term threats to entire programs and schools.

English school teachers agree to labour deal, but union president expresses ‘disappointment’
Global News
Teachers in Quebec’s English-language school system have voted in favour of a new contract offer after an agreement in principle with the provincial government on Dec. 28.

UBC student commutes from Calgary -- cheaper than paying Vancouver rent
CTV News
Vancouver’s sky-high rental prices have forced many residents to find creative ways to be able to afford to live in the city.

Sask. teachers return to the picket line for more rotating strikes
CTV News
Saskatchewan teachers in certain school divisions are taking park in more rotating strikes on Wednesday as contract talks remain stalled between the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation (STF) and province.

Unions call for action after report criticizes values and ethics in federal public service
Unions representing federal public servants say the government needs to do more to address dissatisfaction among the workforce after a recent report found some employees are unable to feel pride in their work.

Workers earn less after a divorce and researchers aren't sure why
Financial Post
Divorce is expensive, and researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis quantified some of the losses.

A right to disconnect: what would new rules mean for employees and bosses?
The Guardian
A phone call after you’ve left work. An email you need to check on a Sunday. A stream of texts over the weekend about a new project.

Starbucks Is Sending 1 Lucky Barista To Costa Rica, But Not If They're In A Union
Dillon Dix was excited to compete this year in StarbucksNorth America Barista Championship, a company-wide contest in which the winner would receive a paid trip to Starbucks’ coffee farm in Costa Rica. But he found some disappointing news in the fine print about the contest: Unionized Starbucks stores are not eligible to participate.

Women ‘would need to work extra 19 years typically to close pensions gender gap’
Morningstar Online
WOMEN must work for an extra 19 years to retire with the same pension savings as men, according to a report published today.

Mexico Goodyear workers win $4.2 million back pay in US labor rights challenge
The U.S. government on Monday announced that a labor rights mediation plan at a Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co GT.O plant in Mexico has delivered $4.2 million in back pay to more than 1,300 current and former workers.

About 10,000 Finnish service workers to go on strike in mid-February
Helsinki Times
Service Union Limited
(PAM) on Tuesday announced it will organise a series of three-day strikes at the logistics centres of retail companies between 14 and 16 February.

February 6, 2024

When the Quebec minister of higher education attacks university autonomy
Policy Options
Are Quebec universities still autonomous from political interference? That’s the question raised by recent decisions by Quebec Higher Education Minister Pascale Déry.

B.C. minister stepping down amid outcry from pro-Palestinian groups over 'crappy piece of land' remark
CTV News
The B.C. NDP's minister of post-secondary education is stepping down from her cabinet position, days after sparking widespread outrage by describing the region where Israel was founded as a "crappy piece of land."

It’s not about ‘woke’ or foreign students – the truth is that UK universities are starved of cash
The Guardian
What is the biggest problem bedevilling universities right now?

Striking Jamieson workers block bus carrying non-union employees
Workers on the picket line Monday afternoon at Jamieson Laboratories in Windsor, Ont., prevented a bus carrying employees from entering the building's parking lot, but the company says those on board were not replacement workers.

Number of nurses injured on the job is 'staggering,' says union president
Every day of the year, on average, a registered nurse or a licensed practical nurse is injured on the job in Newfoundland and Labrador.

As migrant workers return, calls for improved farm, living conditions
Windsor Star
With the annual return of thousands of migrant workers to Essex County greenhouses underway, the union advocating for their rights is pressing for what it sees as critically needed workplace reforms.

Gender pay gap in Canada’s banking sector at 18.4 per cent, data shows
Global News
Female employees at Canadian banks and financial institutions earn 18.4 per cent less per hour in wages than their male colleagues, according to newly released data by the federal government, even as gender pay gaps have narrowed in the country.

One of the world's biggest atomic power plants used to have a staff of 12,000. Now only 3,000 run the facility
CTV News
Security at Ukraine's(opens in a new tab) Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant remains fragile amid worrying recent staff cuts enacted by Russian authorities occupying the facility, which is one of the 10 biggest atomic power plants in the world, the United Nations nuclear watchdog chief said Tuesday.

The world won’t wait for Canada to act
Canadian Labour Congress
We face an existential climate crisis and a critical moment for our economy.

Dynacare workers vote for strike action as bargaining for a first collective agreement reaches impasse
Lab tech workers at nine Dynacare locations in Ontario, including Hamilton, Burlington, Kitchener, and Niagara Falls, have voted unanimously in favour of strike action as bargaining for a first collective agreement with their employer has reached an impasse over wage rates.

NLRB says Dartmouth basketball players are school employees, setting stage for union vote
A National Labor Relations Board regional official ruled on Monday that Dartmouth basketball players are employees of the school, clearing the way for an election that would create the first-ever labor union for NCAA athletes.

Boeing’s problems go beyond 737 manufacturing gaffes as aerospace union workers prepare to demand 40% pay raise
Boeing Co. executives have spent the past month grappling with the aftermath of a near-catastrophe on an airborne 737 Max jet. As the US planemaker works through its latest crisis tied to manufacturing lapses, a new risk looms: a labor rift 10 years in the making.

Rio Tinto unit faces criminal case in Canada over injured worker
Reuters via Yahoo
A Canadian unit of global mining company Rio Tinto is facing a criminal case after an employee was seriously injured at an Arctic diamond mine, according to an announcement by local authorities.

February 5, 2024

Class-size data for Manitoba elementary schools to go online in fall
Winnipeg Free Press
Manitoba families will soon be able to scroll through elementary class sizes online as the province implements real-time reporting in its bid to hold school boards accountable to lowering teacher to student ratios.

'Serious blow': N.S. universities push back after province's funding announcement
Universities in Nova Scotia are crying foul after the province announced new caps on tuition and funding levels that are below last year's rate of inflation, and which come with strings attached.

Rescind out-of-province tuition hike, advisory committee tells Quebec
The Gazette
A government-appointed advisory committee is urging Quebec to scrap the 33-per-cent tuition hike for university students from the rest of Canada, the Montreal Gazette has learned.

Quebec Universities and the Struggle for Autonomy: Recent Decisions Raise Concerns
University Herald
Recent decisions by Quebec's Higher Education Minister, Pascale Déry, have ignited a debate about the autonomy of the province's universities.

TRU Faculty Association seeks legal advice after university board votes to axe visual arts programs
Thompson Rivers University faculty members are seeking legal advice after the university's board of governors voted Monday to axe the fine arts programs, but the head of the TRU Faculty Association won’t say whether a lawsuit is on the table.

“Enough is enough”: Canadian Federation of Students charts new direction
The Varsity
“Shameful,” “posturing,” and “trying to find unity” — attendees of the Canadian Federation of Students’ (CFS) 2023 National General Meeting (NGM) used many phrases to describe the federation’s current and future course. The meeting, which included representatives from more than 30 student unions across the country, saw heated debates over the federation’s claims to represent the more than 530,000 postsecondary students numbered among its membership.

Columbia Faculty Union president says union unsure whether it will discipline more than 200 part-time faculty who crossed the picket line during strike
The Columbia Chronicle
Columbia Faculty Union President Diana Vallera said the union is not currently pursuing charges against instructors who crossed the picket line during the seven-week historic strike last fall.

B.C. appoints panel to consult with industries ahead of Labour Relations Code review
The provincial government has appointed a panel to consult with industries and labour groups on changes to the B.C. Labour Relations Code this spring, and one union executive hopes the independent review will lead to better gains for workers across the province.

Sask. Viterra workers say company pulled 'switcheroo' on negotiated wage increase
CTV News
The union representing Viterra workers across Saskatchewan says their employer has failed to follow through on its promised wage increases, weeks after they voted in its final contract offer.

Black Canadians report high levels of racism despite workplace improvements
CTV News
Canadian companies are making uneven progress on efforts to make workplaces more inclusive and equitable for Black workers, according to a survey from KPMG in Canada.

Leap year means some employees make more money, while others get paid less
CTV News
It's once again a leap year in 2024. For some Canadians, Feb. 29 means an extra day of pay, while others may find themselves having to work for free on the leap day.

Entering the job market during a recession can leave lasting scars on a workers' career and earnings: report
CTV News
Getting your first job during a recession can have a long-lasting effect on young workers trying to break into the labour market, with earnings impacts persisting for years, according to a report from TD economists.

Florida House votes to loosen child labour laws a year after tougher immigrant employment law enacted
CTV News
A year after Florida enacted a new law to making it more difficult for employers to hire immigrants in the country illegally, the House passed a bill Thursday to let 16- and 17-year-olds work longer and later hours.

Minister O’Regan launches first of its kind pay transparency website: Equi’Vision
Government of Canada
Every Canadian deserves a real and fair chance at success. Reducing pay gaps and improving representation means knocking down the barriers that hold back marginalized communities in the workplace. In order to do this, we need to know where the gaps are.

Union calls strike at Lufthansa for Wednesday
Ground staff at German flag carrier Lufthansa (LHAG.DE), opens new tab will go on strike this Wednesday, the Verdi union said on Monday, in the latest bout of industrial action to hit Germany's transport sector as workers demand more pay.

Workplace Safety And Well-Being On The Decline In 2024, Study Shows
As millions of American workers return to their work desks after the holidays, workplace safety remains a big concern in the New Year. Since 2021, a series of surveys show that psychological and physical safety are lacking in the modern workplace. In fact, studies show that workplace mental health and well-being continued to decline in 2023.

UAW Says Over 10K Workers Have Signed Union Cards
Ford Authority
Back in October 2023, the United Auto Workers (UAW) reached a tentative agreement on a new master contract with Ford – and later, General Motors and Stellantis – which effectively ended a six-week-long targeted strike by the union, which was ratified by workers shortly thereafter. However, the UAW didn’t exactly rest on its laurels, and instead, announced that it would be targeting non-unionized automotive plants in the U.S. operated by the likes of Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, and Tesla, to name a few. Those efforts are already well underway, and now – following UAW President Shawn Fain’s official endorsement of Joe Biden in the upcoming presidential race – it has announced that more than 10,000 workers have signed union cards thus far.

Millions of Australians have a chronic illness. So why aren’t employers accommodating them?
The Conversation
More than 20 million Australians have at least one long-term health condition, 63% of whom are in the workforce.

February 2, 2024

Manitoba Government Investing in the Future of Manitoba Students
Province of Manitoba
The Manitoba government is increasing operating funding for public schools by 3.4 per cent, an amount higher than the provincial inflation rate and supporting school divisions as they roll out a universal nutrition program, Education and Early Childhood Learning Minister Nello Altomare announced today.

Province boosts school funding, reinstates trustee taxing powers
Winnipeg Free Press
Manitoba’s new government is restoring trustees’ right to raise local property taxes and topping up public school funding above the rate of inflation forecast for 2024.

Manitoba NDP promises inflation-rate increase to school operating funding, says trustees can raise taxes
Manitoba school divisions will see their annual operating funding climb just under the province's inflation rate for 2023, with the government giving trustees the option to raise property taxes if they find that money isn't enough.

Ford not willing to raise post-secondary tuition in Ontario despite schools reporting financial struggles
Ontario Premier Doug Ford said Wednesday he does not want to raise tuition for post-secondary students, despite colleges and universities struggling financially and a panel that recommended otherwise.

Clock ticking toward strike deadline at York University
After six months of negotiations with Toronto’s York University without significant progress, CUPE 3903 has filed for a “no board,” setting the clock ticking toward a possible strike.

Opinion: University autonomy under attack in Quebec
The Gazette
Last December, Quebec’s minister of higher education, Pascale Déry, informed McGill, Concordia and Bishop’s universities that starting from the 2025 academic year, 80 per cent of their undergraduate students from out of province must reach a Level 5 competency in French. 

John Ivison: University instructor fights back after being suspended for daring to denounce Hamas
National Post
The reason academic politics are so bitter is because so little is at stake, it’s said.

Laurie Anderson ends German professorship after criticism of Palestine support
The Guardian
The artist, musician and film director Laurie Anderson has withdrawn from a guest professorship at a university in Germany after officials took issue with her support for a 2021 statement by Palestinian artists titled Letter Against Apartheid.

Living wage is least staff can ask for
Winnipeg Free Press
The age-old complaint, and a justified one at that, is that costs go up, but wages stay put. That proves to be true, it turns out, even when it comes to a government job.

City of Winnipeg's largest union filing grievance over security at city hall
The City of Winnipeg's largest union is adding its voice to those concerned about security at city hall.

Central Vancouver Island transit strike ends after 48 days
Transit workers in the Comox Valley and Campbell River have voted to end their strike and return to work, 48 days after walking off the job.

Workload, wages at issue, union says, as Jamieson Laboratories workers strike
More than 300 workers at Windsor's Jamieson Laboratories are on strike.

B.C. union told 19-year-old film caterer he was too young
Richmond News
B.C.’s Human Rights Tribunal has rejected a film union’s attempt to stop a 19-year-old caterer’s age discrimination complaint.

Bus firm and union agree to mediator’s plan to avert Metro Vancouver strike
Globe and Mail
Coast Mountain Bus Company and the union representing its transit supervisors have both accepted the recommendations of a mediator in an agreement that looks set to avert another Metro Vancouver bus strike.

B.C. union says workers ratify collective agreement with Rogers Sugar
Global News
The union that represents the workers who were striking at Rogers Sugar has announced the tentative agreement that was agreed upon has now been ratified.

IBM tells managers to move near an office — or quit
Financial Post
International Business Machines Corp. delivered a companywide ultimatum to managers who are still working remotely: move near an office or leave the company.

Sega of America layoffs will hit organized staff hard, union worked to lessen impact
Game Developer
The upcoming layoffs at Sega of America (SoA) are set to hit its workers union, AEGIS-CWA.

French farmers' unions suspend protests after government offer
France's two major farmers unions announced Thursday their decision to suspend protests and lift road blockades across the country, in a dramatic development shortly after the French prime minister unveiled a new set of measures they see as "tangible progress."

February 1, 2024

Teachers, boards deadlocked in contract talks
Winnipeg Free Press
Manitoba teachers are deadlocked with their employer and have accused the latter of “contract stripping” as the two negotiate the first mega-contract for professionals who work in 38 public school divisions in the province.

Sask. teachers begin rotating full-day strikes amid stalled contract negotiations
Saskatchewan teachers have begun rotating strikes in some divisions, as neither the government nor the teachers' union are budging on contract negotiations.

How some international students will avoid Quebec's tuition hike
In a stated bid to preserve French and reduce the gap between chronically underfunded English and French universities, the Quebec government is hiking the out-of-province Canadian tuition fee — a financial barrier that some international students can bypass.

International student cap could help clean up post-secondary 'mess,' say B.C. advocates
When Dayzzel Dungo arrived in Canada from the Philippines in 2022, things did not get off to a smooth start.

Concordia students picket outside classrooms in protest of Quebec's tuition hikes
CTV News
Thousands of Concordia University students were on strike Wednesday, with some picketers blocking access to classes in protest of Quebec's tuition hikes for out-of-province and international students.

American University Bans Indoor Protests
Inside Higher Ed
American University administrators have banned all indoor protests in a move they say is intended to promote inclusivity and signal a clear intolerance of antisemitism on campus. 

Activist who led ouster of Harvard president linked to ‘scientific racism’ journal
The Guardian
The rightwing activist Christopher Rufo has links to a self-styled “sociobiology magazine” that is focused on the supposed relationships between race, intelligence and criminality, and which experts have characterized as an outlet for scientific racism.

The Real Problem With American Universities
The Atlantic
Just about everyone in America seems to be angry at higher education. Congress is angry. State governments are angry. Donors are angry. Parents are angry because schools are so expensive, and students are angry because they aren’t getting what they paid for. Just 36 percent of Americans now tell pollsters that they have significant confidence in higher education, down from 57 percent less than a decade ago.

Top universities use ‘gig-economy’ employment practices for researchers – union
Leading universities in the UK are using “gig-economy” employment practices for staff in their research departments, a union has warned.

Civic workers union filing grievance over city hall safety issues
Winnipeg Free Press
The city’s largest union will file a grievance over security at city hall, which will accuse the municipal government of failing to provide a safe workplace.

Union decries low wages at Family Visions
Brandon Sun
Substandard wages and a reduction of statutory holidays are being offered to support workers at a Brandon non-profit organization that helps individuals with intellectual disabilities, says Kyle Ross, the president of the union representing the staff.

Government of Canada announces the Inclusive Workplaces campaign to encourage employers to hire persons with disabilities
Government of Canada
Canada’s greatest resource is its people. Businesses and organizations benefit from having a diverse and inclusive workforce where all Canadians, including persons with disabilities, get the opportunity to put their talents to use and reach their full potential. That is why the Government is making significant and targeted investments in Canada’s workforce development—supporting Canadians in preparing for, obtaining and keeping good jobs, advancing in their careers or becoming self-employed.

Task force rejects calls for special employment status for Jewish, Muslim public servants
Months before the eruption of the Israel-Hamas war ramped up ethic and religious tensions in many Canadian communities, a government task force rejected requests to recognize Muslim and Jewish public servants as separate groups facing systemic workplace barriers, CBC News has learned.

Laid-off Java Blend staff say they were terminated for union drive, but company disputes it
Employees recently laid-off by a north-end Halifax coffee shop say they were illegally terminated for trying to start a union, but the company's owners say financial difficulties are to blame.

Quebec public sector psychologists seek union of their own
For more than a decade, the public education system in Quebec has seen a dramatic decrease in the number of psychologists available to students, says data published by the Ordre des psychologues du Québec. 

Bangladesh workers face violent and courtroom repression as they try to win a living wage
Someone once observed that “behind every great fortune lies a great crime.” They might have been thinking of the garment industry in Bangladesh, among other great criminal enterprises. 

More Americans apply for unemployment benefits but layoffs still historically low
CTV News
The number of Americans filing for jobless benefits rose last week to the highest level in 11 weeks, though layoffs remain at historically low levels.

Sticking It to Nickelodeon
Labor Notes
Production workers at Nickelodeon’s Animation Studio are fighting for their first contract alongside already-organized artists (writers, designers, colorists, storyboarders and background painters) who have been working under an expired contract for two and a half years.

After Teamsters meeting, Trump says of possible union endorsement, ‘Stranger things have happened’
Former President Donald Trump met with leaders of the Teamsters Union in Washington Wednesday as he tried to chip away at President Joe Biden’s organized labor support heading into a likely general election rematch.

Chicago Tribune’s unionized newsroom staff to go on historic 24-hour strike Thursday: ‘Enough is enough’
Chicago Sun Times
In what’s believed to be a first in Chicago newspaper history, reporters and other newsroom staffers at the Chicago Tribune plan to go on strike Thursday, joining hundreds of other Tribune Publishing employees in a nationwide action after years of contract negotiations.