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.

March 21, 2023

Fact-Checking Manitoba Budget Claims
Claim: “Budget 2023 removes 47,400 low-income Manitobans from the tax rolls and saves the average family $1,000”

Audior general’s comments cross line
Winnipeg Free Press
I have written around 1,500 columns and op-eds over the past four decades. Many contained advice and suggestions directed toward the provincial government in power at the time each column was written, but only a few of those recommendations were ever implemented by those governments.

Bill 35 step toward teacher transparency
Winnipeg Free Press
Through a simple online search, Manitobans can find out whether their doctor, lawyer, nurse, pharmacist, physiotherapist or veterinarian has a history of impropriety. These are just a few of the occupations held to account through professional complaint and discipline registries designed to protect the public.

Uncertainty impacts school budgets
Brandon Sun
While Westman school divisions outside of Brandon are coming out the other side of their 2023-24 budgeting processes, some officials are concerned about what future financing will look like under the current provincial government.

The schools are once again alive with the sound of music — but the pandemic took a toll
Winnipeg music teacher Jewel Casselman is back in her element, leading elementary-aged students in song and guiding them on musical instruments after three years of pandemic restrictions and adapted lessons. Her students are finally getting their hands on ukuleles she purchased back in 2019, for instance, and they're having a blast.

Dozens of students who could be kicked out of Canada say they were duped by immigration agents in India
For Karanveer Singh, the pieces of his Canadian dream started to fit together one by one.

Western ramps up support for struggling grad students, triples financial support to $1.5M
Western University has promised to increase funding for graduate students dealing with monetary difficulties from $500,000 to a new total of $1.5 million.

McMaster students stage hunger strike over university’s fossil fuel investments (video)
Global News
A group of McMaster students are staging a hungers strike after the university installed four gas-powered generators. Ahmar Khan reports.

Ottawa to extend postgraduation work permits for thousands of foreign nationals
Globe and Mail
The federal government will allow thousands of foreign nationals with expiring postgraduation work permits to extend their stays in Canada by up to 18 months, a relief for temporary residents who faced the possibility of being forced to leave the country, and for Canadian employers who depend on them to fill an abundance of jobs.

CUPE workers begin full-scale strike, halting bus service across B.C.’s Fraser Valley
Globe and Mail
Bus service across most of B.C.’s Fraser Valley, from Abbotsford to Hope, has been halted by a strike.

Ontario to boost penalties for employers who withhold workers’ passports
Globe and Mail
A new omnibus labour bill introduced Monday in Ontario would slap steep fines on employers who withhold migrant workers’ passports, extend mass layoff protections to remote workers and require more washrooms on construction sites.

Treasury Board, union disagree on strategy for implementing pay equity plans for public servants
Ottawa Citizen
The government agency that operates as the principal employer of the core public service is at odds with the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) on plans to implement pay equity for workers.

CFL players’ unions fighting for workers’ compensation coverage for pro athletes
OHS Canada
It’s five years and counting for the CFL Players’ Association and executive director Brian Ramsay.

Unifor reaches tentative agreement with CN Rail
Unifor has reached tentative collective agreements with CN Rail, averting strike action. 
“These negotiations were fraught with challenges, including demands for concessions by CN,” said Unifor National President Lana Payne. “With the solid support of the membership, the bargaining committees were able to stand up to this large profitable company and persevere to secure the tentative agreements.”

Union of Southern Service Workers Is Organizing Low-Wage Workers Across Industries
Teen Vogue
If you truly want to understand the history of organized labor in this country, you must look to the South — specifically, to what Black workers and other workers of color have accomplished there despite every conceivable obstacle. Nowadays, states such as Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and North Carolina are home to antiunion “right to work” legislation that makes it extremely difficult for workers to organize. Corporate-friendly politicians have actively worked to disenfranchise and oppress poor and working-class people, especially the most marginalized. A century ago, things weren’t much different, but like today, those workers fought back. They protested, picketed, formed unions, and went on strike. Many of them were considered “unorganizable” by labor leadership and labor opponents alike, a status pinned to various groups of workers — typically casual, low-income workers of color, recent immigrants, or both — throughout the centuries.

France’s government survives no-confidence votes and controversial pension reforms will move ahead
Two no-confidence votes against French President Emmanuel Macron’s government have failed in the country’s parliament, clearing the way for his hugely unpopular pension reforms to be implemented and sparking new protests in Paris.

South Asian Farmworkers Rising
Our Times
A partnership between the South Asian Studies Institute (University of the Fraser Valley) and the BC Labour Heritage Centre led to the groundbreaking Union Zindabad! South Asian Canadian Labour History in British Columbia. The book explores the stories of South Asian workers in BC over a period of more than 100 years, including the pivotal work of the Canadian Farmworkers Union (CFU).

So you began your event with an Indigenous land acknowledgment. Now what?
Land acknowledgments have become increasingly common nationwide over the past few years. Many mainstream public events — from soccer games and performing arts productions to city council meetings and corporate conferences — begin with these formal statements recognizing Indigenous communities' rights to territories seized by colonial powers.

March 20, 2023

The Manitoba Teachers’ Society Opposes Bill 35
Manitoba Teachers' Society
The Manitoba Teachers’ Society Opposes Bill 35. The Society does not oppose regulation, but Bill 35 does not protect teachers’ due process, follow the rules of natural justice and ensure absolute fairness.

Union, child protection group at odds over Manitoba teacher misconduct bill
Manitoba's teachers' union is raising concerns about proposed legislation that would create a new process to address educator misconduct — but an organization that advocates for children's safety says those concerns are misguided.

Timing, union’s bond with NDP likely mean end is near for teacher-registry bill
Winnipeg Free Press
A bill introduced this week by the Stefanson government to regulate teacher misconduct is a good first step toward making schools safer for children. But the proposed legislation may never see the light of day if the teachers’ union — with the help of its NDP allies — gets its way.

Parents anxious about proposal for two St. Vital schools
Winnipeg Free Press
PARENTS of students in two St. Vital schools are upset about a proposal to trade young students in one school with older students at the other.

Province withholds $4-M grant after Seven Oaks School Division raises taxes
Winnipeg Free Press
Manitoba Education is striking back against a school board in Winnipeg after its trustees voted to raise local taxes — in defiance of a provincial directive to freeze fees — to avoid sizable staffing and programming cuts.

University of PEI Faculty Association says members on strike as negotiations stall
Globe and Mail
The University of Prince Edward Island Faculty Association says its staff has gone on strike after what it says are failed attempts to enter additional negotiations with the university’s administration.

Contract instructors, TAs inch closer to strike: Here’s what you need to know
The Charlatan
Last month, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) local 4600, which represents contract instructors and teaching assistants (TAs) at Carleton University, voted in favour of a strike after months of unsuccessful collective bargaining with the university.

Education needs $400M more funding to meet needs: Sask. Teachers' Federation
Regina Leader-Post
The Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation (STF) wants to see the provincial government commit to an investment of at least $400 million more for public education when officials deliver the annual budget later this week.

High-paying STEM jobs are becoming more attainable for those without a degree
Globe and Mail
Careers in science, technology, engineering and math often command higher salaries, but they don’t necessarily require higher education.

Republicans are again targeting local labor and teachers unions
Florida lawmakers are again taking aim at public employee unions. A proposal to raise the membership threshold to 60% and prevent automatic withdrawals for union dues is moving in the legislature over accusations that it targets some of Republicans’ most vocal critics. 

Tens of thousands of university staff on strike today - with more to come
Sky News
Tens of thousands of university staff are set to go on strike today - the first of three walkouts planned for this week.

Unionized housing workers in Iqaluit now on strike over wages
Iqaluit Housing Authority employees are out on the picket lines Friday morning calling for better wages, increases to allowances and no concessions.

Nearly 80,000 federal employees joined unions in a year, White House says
Washington Post
Nearly 80,000 federal government employees joined a union between September 2021 and September 2022, a roughly 20 percent increase, a White House task force announced on Friday. The task force, led by Vice President Harris, attributed the increase to recommendations it had laid out to make the federal government a model union employer for the rest of the country.

Michigan posts 'closed for business' sign to please unions. Biden wants the same for US.
USA Today
After regaining full control of the Michigan Legislature in November for the first time in four decades, state Democrats are patting themselves on the back for marching through their liberal priority list, from expanding LGBTQ protections to restricting guns

March 17, 2023

Union says proposed registry would make teachers vulnerable
Winnipeg Free Press
A Manitoba bill to create a virtual registry of teachers — resumes and disciplinary records included — has been touted as a step towards transparency, but the profession’s largest union says it must be tossed to protect its members’ rights.

Winnipeg school divisions say funding increase doesn't keep up with growing student populations
Educators who gathered in Winnipeg for an annual convention this week say the money doled out to school divisions from the province this year isn't enough to keep up with rising costs — especially for divisions seeing spikes in enrolment.

Ontario colleges move to protect international students, before and after they come to Canada
Toronto Star
In the face of growing concerns about the treatment of international students in this country, publicly funded colleges in Ontario are bringing in a new set of rules meant to protect those coming from abroad to study.

Trinity Western University Faculty Unionize
The majority of Trinity Western University (TWU) faculty have chosen to form a union, selecting CLAC as their representatives.

U of Guelph says $3M lawsuit by professor should be thrown out
Guelph Mercury Tribune
The University of Guelph, school administration and researchers being sued by a professor at that institution say a lawsuit against them has no standing, and should be thrown out.

Community reacts to disturbing report of alleged abuse by King's prof.
CTV News
Feelings of shock, anger, and disgust remain a day after the University of King's College released its independent report into accusations of sexual assault, levelled against one of its former professors.

Chinese post-docs under scrutiny in Canada
The PIE News
The Chinese regime gave post-doctoral students two weeks of training on avoiding security scrutiny and then sent them to Canada to gain access to vital technologies for industrial and military purposes, a new report has said.

U. of C. graduate student workers win union election in a landslide
Hyde Park Herald
Graduate student workers at the University of Chicago have successfully voted to unionize. The union, Graduate Students United-United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (GSU-UE), will now represent some 3,000 graduate workers across the sciences, humanities and business programs in contract negotiations with the university.

How ‘grade obsession’ is detrimental to students and their education
The Conversation
Grading has been central to most education systems for over a century.

Preparing Gen Z for an unpredictable future
University Affairs
ChatGPT is suddenly everywhere. From Hollywood writing rooms to the stages of Davos to the halls of the U.S. Congress, the AI-powered chatbot has our attention.

To Keep Grad Students From Unionizing, Duke University Wants to Change the Rules
The Nation
Earlier this month, after the Duke Graduate Students Union filed for an election with the National Labor Relations Board, the university initially told its graduate workers that the administration would “support the right of all eligible voters to freely consider and register their views” because, ultimately, “the decision about unionization is up to Duke students.”

English professor in Florida says university terminated his contract after a complaint over his racial justice unit
A former English professor at Florida’s Palm Beach Atlantic University says the school terminated his contract early after a complaint that he was “indoctrinating” students by teaching about racial justice.

Former executives took kickbacks, OPSEU alleges in lawsuit
Globe and Mail
The Ontario Public Service Employees Union is accusing three former union executives of unjustly awarding contracts to certain associates in exchange for financial kickbacks to enrich themselves.

Government finds that Canadian Human Rights Commission discriminated against workers
Globe and Mail
A central government agency has found discrimination against workers within a Canadian institution specifically designed to root it out.

Windsor Salt union and parent company enter negotiations next week
Unifor Locals 240 and 1959 units representing Windsor Salt employees is returning to the bargaining table with the salt company's owners, U.S.-based holding company Stone Canyon Industries.

What’s Behind Union Members’ Support of Poilievre?
The Tyee
According to a recent poll by Abacus Data, Pierre Poilievre’s Conservatives are now the top choice of union members in Canada.

Four-Day Workweeks Could Be Coming to the U.S. — Here's How
California Rep. Mark Takano has reintroduced a bill that aims to trim back the traditional 40-hour workweek, after dozens of companies in the United Kingdom have already jumped on board and reported positive results, according to The Washington Post.

Nearly all UK employers failing to adequately support women at work
The HR Director
Adzuna analysed over 1m job ads advertised in March 2023, revealing the number of postings promoting perks aimed at women – and the dire need for employers to step up.

NHS unions reach pay deal after government offers 5% rise
Sky News
NHS unions have reached a pay deal with the government in a major breakthrough that could herald the end of strikes by frontline staff in England.

March 16, 2023

Union rep says Hanover school board should focus on wage parity, not job cuts
The union rep for Educational Assistants (EAs) in Hanover School Division, says rather than considering job cuts, the school board should shift its focus to wage parity.

UPEI reaches tentative deal with university support staff
The University of Prince Edward Island has reached a tentative agreement with the union representing university support staff.

Discipline Outcomes
Government of British Columbia
Discipline outcomes provide confidence that educators who fail to meet the standards are held accountable. In some cases, outcomes are not published if it would cause hardship to a person who are harmed.

Halifax university apologizes for inaction on professor’s ‘predatory’ behaviour
Globe and Mail
University of King’s College in Halifax failed to address reports of a professor’s sexual assaults on campus and instead protected him, an independent report has concluded.

B.C. students call on province to cool rising tuition
CTV News
The BC Federation of Students wants the provincial government to provide more funding to the post-secondary system to bring down what it calls sky-rocketing tuition.

Historians express 'horror' at Florida's HB 999. They say it threatens academic freedom
The American Historical Association recently issued a statement opposing Florida's HB 999, which they argue would give the state too much power over higher education.

Pressure on Florida universities turns to faculty unions
Tampa Bay Times
The big story: Florida lawmakers have made clear their disdain for public employees unions, including those representing teachers.

Manitoba labour groups fear province's review could mean apprentices won't see expected wage hike
Two Manitoba labour groups say they're concerned the provincial government's current review of minimum wages for apprentices could leave the door open to lower rates for those workers.

Sask. nurse's union president says emergency rooms in the province are collapsing
The Saskatchewan Union of Nurses (SUN) says the situation at Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon was terrible Monday, with 100 people waiting for care and more than 50 in the emergency room waiting for beds to be available.

Labour movement titan Ray Haynes built a powerhouse of union solidarity
Globe and Mail
Ray Haynes was a titan of the B.C. labour movement at a time when unions made so much news that the Vancouver Sun employed two full-time labour reporters. No one made more news than Mr. Haynes. As head of the B.C. Federation of Labour from 1966 to 1973, Mr. Haynes pushed, propelled and prodded the Federation into the most militant labour organization in North America. During his seven raucous years at the helm, strikes, union protests and labour’s all-consuming fight against the anti-union policies of Premier W.A.C. Bennett’s Social Credit government rocked the province.

60 days to find a job or leave the country
Rest of World
It had seemed like a typical workday for Harini. As an analytics engineer at a software startup in San Francisco, she spent her day building reports and dashboards for her colleagues. The first sign that something was off came at 4 p.m., during her weekly Zoom catch-up with her manager. That’s when another participant joined the conversation: the company’s human resources manager.

A Four-Day Workweek Reduces Stress without Hurting Productivity
Scientific American
Working four days instead of five—with the same pay—leads to improved well-being among employees without damaging the company’s productivity. That’s the recently reported result of a four-day workweek test that ran for six months, from June to December 2022, and involved a total of 61 U.K. companies with a combined workforce of about 2,900 employees.

Greek unions stage general strike over rail deaths
CTV News
A general strike in Greece called in response to a rail disaster last month grounded flights and extensively disrupted services, with protests in cities across the country planned for Thursday.

March 15, 2023

Manitoba proposes online registry for disciplined teachers
Winnipeg Free Press
The Manitoba government has introduced legislation to create an online public registry that would list disciplinary action taken against teachers.

Tax hike will help support Seven Oaks students, division says
Property taxes will be raised in the Seven Oaks School Division in order to maintain its levels of teaching staff and student programs, the division's board says.

Winnipeg school to offer province's first Punjabi bilingual program next year
Manitoba's first Punjabi bilingual program will help bridge the gap between generations, Winnipeg parents say.

Brandon U needs to build 'safe athletics environment,' review says after reported sexual harassment by coach
A report triggered by allegations of sexual harassment by a former Brandon University coach makes three dozen recommendations focused on better protecting athletes in the campus sports programs.

'Anxiety in the air': Faculty strike deadline weighing on UPEI students
With a possible faculty strike at the University of Prince Edward Island now just days away, the university's student union says it's hearing lots of concerns and questions about how a strike would impact the semester.

Memorial University to Refund Some Students for Time Missed During Faculty Strike
Memorial University students will be refunded money for time they missed during the faculty association strike earlier this year.

McMaster University student group plans hunger strike protesting gas-powered generators
The Spec
McMaster University student members of the McMaster Divestment Project say they plan to stage a hunger strike, until university administration agrees to completely divest from fossil fuels and remove gas-powered electricity generators now under construction next to Cootes Drive.

With food costs soaring and no national program, Canadian schools struggle to feed students
Globe and Mail
Lindsay Steeves, a Grade 1 teacher at Cathy Wever Elementary School in Hamilton, knows that if she wants to feed young minds, she also needs to make sure their little bellies are properly nourished.

Auditor general decries government inaction on key issues
Winnipeg Free Press
Manitoba’s auditor general says the provincial government has acted on only 10 per cent of his office’s recommendations in recent years.

How We’re Fighting for a Union at Amazon’s Biggest Air Hub
Labor Notes
I work as a tug driver at Amazon’s global air hub in Northern Kentucky (KCVG). My co-workers and I are taking on one of the largest corporations in the world to get what we deserve.

Chicago Grocery Teamsters Face Firing and Retaliation for Exercising Their Rights
Labor Notes
Workers couldn’t wear a sticker or button, because what if it fell into the fruits and vegetables they packaged for the Anthony Marano Company, a major distributor of produce in Chicago and the greater Midwest for restaurants and grocery chains including Aldi’s, Sysco, and Pete’s Fresh Market?

Child Labor in the US: Despite Laws, Kids Work in Agriculture, Fast Food, Industry
Teen Vogue
While most kids looked forward to summer break, José Velázquez Castellano did not.

Child Labor: Republicans Are Passing Regulatory Rollbacks
Teen Vogue
Following harrowing reports of child labor exploitation across the country and federal officials announcing plans to “crack down,” plenty of Americans expressed shock at the prevalence of the problem despite laws meant to eradicate it. Not to be outdone, on March 7 Arkansas governor/nepo baby, Sarah Huckabee Sanders (Trump’s former press secretary), signed a bill ending a law requiring age verification for children younger than 16 to start a job.

BBC local services disrupted by 24-hour strike over radio cuts
The BBC's regional TV bulletins and local radio and online output in England are being disrupted by a 24-hour strike on Wednesday and Thursday.

Major travel disruption in London due to strike action
Sky News
Commuters in London are facing lengthy delays due to travel disruption caused by strike action.

‘This can’t go on’, says civil service union as staff walk out
Evening Standard
A senior figure in the union representing civil servants has said “this can’t go on”, as staff walked out in their campaign for a pay rise.

March 14, 2023

Province will share death records of residential school students with truth, reconciliation centre
Winnipeg Free Press
The provincial government has committed to sharing the death records of Indigenous children who attended residential schools in Manitoba with the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation.

The lasting lesson from the MUN strike: Let's respect all work, no matter the occupation
The nearly two-week labour dispute between Memorial University and the university's faculty association finally came to an official end in late February when the faculty ratified a new collective agreement. The new deal includes higher wages and formalized commitments to support collegial governance.

Why training more child-care workers isn't enough to solve the staffing crisis
The shortage of early childhood educators (ECEs) that threatens Canada's $10-a-day child-care program cannot be solved simply by expanding training opportunities, according to a range of people working in the sector.

In Quebec City, hundreds of Université Laval professors walk out on 1st day of strike
Hundreds of professors went on strike Monday morning, raising signs and marching with their families around the Université Laval campus in Quebec City.

Manitoba Workers Compensation Board staff threaten to strike
Staff with the Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Brandon and Thompson may walk off the job next week as negotiations with their employer have stalled, their union says.

Manitoba health-care unions call for workplace safety certifications amid high injury rates
Global News
Manitoba’s health-care unions are calling on the province to get all health facilities workplace safety certifications to cut down on the high rate of worker injuries.

Do private, for-profit clinics save taxpayers money and reduce wait times? The data says no
There's a lot of talk these days about an increased role for private health-care clinics in Canada, sparked in part by Premier Doug Ford's plans to significantly increase the number of Ontario surgeries done in for-profit clinics.

3 years into the COVID-19 pandemic, are we ready for what comes next? 2 experts aren't sure
Looking back on the past three years of the COVID-19 pandemic, Simon Bacon is worried.

Three years later: What has COVID-19 taught us and are we ready for the next big threat?
Think back to the before times. Before March 2020.

Alberta government to expand ad campaign attracting workers from out of province
Globe and Mail
The Alberta government is expanding its Alberta Is Calling advertising campaign to attract workers from Ontario and Atlantic Canada to fill tens of thousands of job vacancies across the province.

WestJet Pilots Union Authorizes Strike Vote
Simple Flying
WestJet, the Canadian airline born in 1996, is once again facing the threat of a pilot strike. The airline last came close to a strike in 2018, but this time, the pilot’s association has requested the Canadian Minister of Labour provide a conciliation officer to help navigate to an agreement before taking strike action.

California court upholds treating app-based drivers as contractors
A California state appeals court on Monday revived a ballot measure allowing app-based services such as Uber Technologies Inc and Lyft Inc LYFT.O> to treat drivers as independent contractors rather than employees, in a major victory for the industry.

eBay Finally Has Its First Worker Union in 27 Years
Workers at eBay-owned trading card seller TCGPlayer have successfully voted to unionize, making them the first union in eBay’s 27-year history.

France’s unions have put up one hell of a fight – and sent a message to the rest of Europe
The Guardian
f French democracy were in a healthier state, Emmanuel Macron’s pension reform legislation would have already been scrapped by now. Broadly unpopular from the outset, his plans to raise the country’s retirement eligibility age from 62 to 64 have triggered a protest movement – historically large even by French standards – lasting nearly two months.

Major labor union raided, accused of espionage
The Korea Herald
Amid mounting controversy over the alleged connection between one of Korea's major national labor union umbrella organizations -- the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions -- and North Korea, police investigating illegal activities at construction sites raided three chapter offices that are under the umbrella organization, Tuesday.

South African court orders healthcare workers to end strike
Al Jazeera
The South African Labour Appeal Court has ordered striking state healthcare workers to end a weeklong walkout that has affected services in some of the country’s big hospitals, the health department said.

50,000 New Zealand teachers prepare for nationwide strike against pay cuts
World Socialist Web Site
In New Zealand’s first major industrial action of 2023, 50,000 teachers at public schools will hold a nationwide one-day strike on March 16, after rejecting proposed wage-cutting agreements from the Labour Party-led government.