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.

February 22, 2019

2019 Budget
City of Winnipeg
The preliminary 2019 Operating and Capital budgets for the City of Winnipeg will be tabled at a special meeting of Executive Policy Committee on Friday March 1, 2019.  After the tabling of the budgets on March 1, 2019, the schedule of public meetings to hear delegations and consider the preliminary 2019 Operating and Capital budgets include: (dates in link).

Announcements: Ratification Results
We are very pleased to announce that 96% of QUFA members of the Queen’s Pension Plan who voted said yes to convert the pension and renew the collective agreement. This represents 75% of all Queen’s Pension Plan Members in QUFA. This is a clear mandate to move forward and build the University Pension Plan. Thank you all for your participation. Please see attachment for the numbers of returns and responses in the ratification vote.

Stubborn gender gap persists in math, engineering programs
London Free Press
Female college and university students outnumber men on Ontario’s campuses, but are far outflanked by their male counterparts in several areas of study including math and engineering, despite a concerted years-long push to boost female enrolment.

Challenge to students is 'overall debt,' not just loan interest, credit expert says
As B.C. students celebrate the province's decision to eliminate interest on their loans, one credit counselling expert says more could be done to help them get out of debt.

Help us avoid a strike at UOIT
Faculty Members at UOIT recently voted 86% in favour of taking strike action if the UOIT Administration continues to ignore our concerns. The Faculty Association’s bargaining team is doing everything they can to secure a deal quickly to prevent adverse effects for our students.

'History has been made:' After a long fight, part-time college support staff represented by OPSEU ratify first deal
Toronto – Hailing it as a victory for working people everywhere – particularly those stuck in precarious jobs – OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas has announced that 20,000 part-time support workers at Ontario’s colleges have voted to ratify their first-ever collective agreement.

Task force launched to tackle sexual harassment at UBC medical school
The Province
UBC medical students are being sexually harassed more often than students in other Canadian medical schools, according to a new report.

Students say good riddance to interest on loans, a ‘penalty’ on B.C.’s average families
The Star
Current and former students are applauding the province’s decision to end interest on student loans, saying the payments punished low- and middle-income families.

Alarm Over Accusations Against Professor in India
Inside Higher Ed
Scholars around the world have been alarmed by the expected arrest of a prominent Indian professor, Anand Teltumbde, for allegedly plotting against the government, The New York Times reported. Police last year accused Teltumbde and other well-known writers, academics and lawyers of participating in a conspiracy to overthrow the Indian government. Nine people have been jailed, accused of helping Maoist insurgents, trying to procure grenade launchers, inciting a riot and plotting to assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Will Me Too Activism Cost Professor Her Job?
Inside Higher Ed
BethAnn McLaughlin is a hero to many women in academe, especially those in science. She founded a nonprofit called #MeTooSTEM to draw attention to the harassment of women in academic science, much by prominent men who are considered leaders of their fields.

The Edge of Academic Freedom
Inside Higher Ed
A number of years ago, when state legislatures began to pass bills requiring high school biology classes to teach "intelligent design" as if it were a scientific theory, I suggested that the moment had come for the Flat Earth Society to establish a committee on curriculum reform.

February 21, 2019

Federal Liberal government to introduce pre-election budget on March 19
Winnipeg Free Press
Finance Minister Bill Morneau will introduce the Liberal government's pre-election budget on March 19 in a document expected to touch the issues of prescription drug costs, skills training for workers and helping more millennials get into the housing market.

Western argues rez staff seeking unionization not 'employees'
The Gazette
RAs and dons across campus can negotiate with Western or appeal to Ontario to succeed in unionization efforts allowed only to “employees.”

Student groups call for government to investigate alleged interference by Chinese officials on Canadian campuses
Ottawa Citizen
Any “malicious interference” in Canadian affairs by foreign representatives here would be inappropriate, a federal official warned Wednesday in the wake of incidents that saw students from China angrily attack Tibetan and Uyghur activists at two Ontario universities.

The Latest: Union leader says teachers forced to strike
The National Post
The leader of the union representing Oakland’s teachers says teachers are being forced to go on strike because administrators refused to listen to their demands for two years.

Playing hooky to save the climate: why students are going on strike
Thousands of young climate change activists around the world have refused to go to school in recent weeks, and more strikes are planned, including a worldwide strike on March 15.

General Motors seeks to end ‘illegal strikes’ over closure of Oshawa plant
The Star
General Motors is seeking to halt “illegal strike activities” following the company’s decision to shutter its Oshawa plant and slash 2,600 unionized jobs — claiming that ensuing protests have “significantly compromised” GM’s ability to sell products, damaged the company’s reputation and are an “unacceptable safety risk” to employees and the public.

HMP Liverpool guards strike after colleague sacked
One hundred prison officers walked out after a guard was sacked for a "pre-emptive strike" on an inmate.

February 20, 2019

Doug Ford clashes with protesting students at Ontario legislature over post-secondary cuts
Global News
TORONTO – Doug Ford admonished protesting students for their “filthy” mouths on Tuesday after a group decrying cuts to post-secondary grants disrupted a session at Ontario’s legislature by shouting obscenities at the premier.

Province eliminates interest on student loans
VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – One piece of the B.C. budget will have a big impact on post-secondary students.

University gets nearly $1 million to develop sexual assault resistance program for teens
Windsor Star
A University of Windsor research team has received nearly $1 million in federal funding to adapt a highly successful women’s sexual violence prevention program for a younger audience.

College Support Part-time workers vote on Thursday, February 21!
All College Support Part-time workers will have the chance to vote on their first-ever collective agreement on Thursday, February 21. This is an historic moment for college workers across the province, and a testament to the hard work of activists and organizers and generations of Ontario college workers.

UVic launches new plan to further education for Indigenous students
CTV News
The University of Victoria launched its first Indigenous Plan this week, building on its commitment to Indigenous education over the next five years.

Helping Institutions Reach Accessibility Goals
Inside Higher Ed
Champions of accessibility awareness have made strides in highlighting that all students, not just those with disabilities, benefit from multiple, flexible options for learning materials. A recent uptick in high-profile lawsuits alleging failure to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act has motivated many institutions to think carefully about how they work with students.

Denver: immigrant teachers threatened with deportation if they join strikes
The Guardian
Immigrant educators are being threatened with deportation if they attempt to join the wave of teachers’ strikes hitting the US.

West Virginia's striking tteachers to stay out one more day
West Virginia teachers plan to stay on strike Wednesday, with union leaders saying there is a trust issue with the Legislature, even after the state House of Delegates decided to "postpone indefinitely" any decision on proposed legislation that spurred the teachers to strike. 

Ontario government reaches an arbitrated agreement with OMA
The Globe and Mail
The Ontario government’s long-running fight with physicians has been settled – for now, at least – with an arbitration decision that will see the total amount the province pays to doctors increase by at least 3.5 per cent over four years.

OPSEU & Unifor members to Ford government: ‘We’re ready to ramp up the fight’
Workers represented by Ontario’s largest public and private sector unions have joined forces to deliver a message to the provincial government: if priorities don’t shift in the provincial budget, we’re ready to ramp up the fight.

Testimony Begins
On February 12th, 2019 the Union introduced its first witnesses in the arbitration of the collective agreements.

Treasury Board bargaining inches towards progress, but not far enough
Following more than six months of frustrating talks and delays by the government, PSAC bargaining teams representing 90,000 members finally received some responses to the union’s proposals this past week. The government’s small movements were a noticeable change from previous meetings but they fell significantly short of the progress needed at the table.

Fairness is the story in media coverage of Saskatoon Co-op strike
As UFCW Canada Local 1400 members continue to strike for a fair future at Saskatoon Co-op, a string of recent news stories and opinion pieces suggest the members’ call for fairness is resonating in the media and with the public.

Fighting for $15 & Fairness from Bill C-86 to the workplace
Labour law changes are coming to federally-regulated workers. If you have been following the Fight for $15 and Fairness in Ontario, then the changes introduced in the federal government’s Budget Implementation Act, Bill C-86, will sound similar to the labour law changes the Ontario Liberals introduced in 2017 with Bill 148.

The union local that fought privatization and won
Last summer Shirley Peck, a cleaner at CFB Greenwood, a military base in rural Nova Scotia, was told that she was to be laid off, and that her well paying job would be contracted out. She was devastated.

Cornwall grocery workers strike: “You don’t need a union to bargain for minimum wage”
Employees of a Your Independent Grocer franchise in Cornwall, Ontario have been on strike since November 23 as employer and franchise owner John Baxtrom and bargaining agent of parent company Loblaws Companies Ltd., refuse to return to the table.

Payless ShoeSource Is Closing All Its Stores In North America
Huffington Post
TORONTO — Payless ShoeSource Canada Inc. says it will soon file for creditor protection in Canada and close all 2,500 of its North American stores this spring.

February 19, 2019

Open search will best serve U of M community
Winnipeg Free Press
Members of the University of Manitoba community rallied in front of the university’s senate chambers recently to show support for the academic body’s recommendation to make the search for the U of M’s next president open to the public. That recommendation was recently rejected by the university’s board of governors.

St. Boniface university to get 80 daycare spots
Winnipeg Free Press
As Festival du Voyageur kicked off Friday, Franco-Manitobans had one more thing to celebrate with the announcement of $6.1 million for the first daycare at the Université de Saint-Boniface.

Winnipeg School Division may disregard province on funding cap
Winnipeg Free Press
At least one local school division looks poised to ignore Education Minister Kelvin Goertzen's directive to cap special requirement increases – which drive up property taxes – at two per cent. The division cites the provincial government’s refusal to “fund education adequately.”

Makeup of education commission panned
Winnipeg Free Press
After overhauling Manitoba’s health care system, the provincial government now has a commission reviewing K-12 education with a mandate to make "bold recommendations to ignite change."

Laurentian Faculty Association alleges special deals made for university administrators
The union representing faculty at Laurentian University is calling for more transparency in the practices of the university's board of governors.

Students to launch provincial campaign to fight for access to education and right to organize
CFS Ontario
Media are invited to attend the launch of a provincial campaign to improve access to post-secondary education and strengthen students’ rights.

Study details harassment of med school students
The Sudbury Star
Sexual harassment is alarmingly common among budding doctors in Canada, according to new research guided largely by Sudbury academics.

Students enlisted to write books teaching tolerance
Winnipeg Free Press
A human rights advocacy group is promoting diversity to students with a new contest, and the winner could become a published author and pocket $3,000 in the process.

Greater representation of Indigenous staff and faculty comes one year after Ryerson’s TRC report
The increase of Indigenous staff and faculty has been one of the most positive outcomes of Ryerson University’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) community consultation report, according to Olson Crow, a fourth-year criminology student, who identifies as a two-spirit Haudenosaunee person.

A new model of educational funding
The Globe and Mail
Investors hedge risk by diversifying their portfolios, households choose fixed-rate mortgages in case interest rates go up, and farmers protect themselves against fluctuations in crop prices by buying futures contracts. Everyone else wants to mitigate against risk, so why should students be any different?

Employee groups from Ontario universities vote to form new joint pension
Benefits Canada
Faculty associations at three Ontario universities, as well as certain affiliated unions, have passed a preliminary vote to convert their various existing pension arrangements into a jointly-sponsored pension plan.

West Virginia teachers to strike again over education bill
The Guardian
Nearly a year to the day after West Virginia teachers went on a strike that launched a national movement, they’re doing it again.

Teachers are leading a national workers’ revolt. Oakland may be next.
Teacher frustration keeps spreading.

A new comprehensive report shows how women in STEM face huge disadvantages
Monday, February 11 was the International Day of Girls & Women in Science. It was first celebrated in 2016 in an effort to recognize that girls and women play a critical role in scientific fields. Yet despite the surge in initiatives to address gender inequality and boost the visibility of women in science, there is still much to be done to address the disadvantages, discrimination, and sexism that women in science face today, according to a recent report from The Lancet journal.

Labour to ban university bosses from awarding themselves huge salaries
A Labour government would end the “failed free-market experiment” in higher education to protect students from “rampant” competition, the shadow education secretary has said.

Hard lessons from Europe's austerity agenda
Winnipeg Free Press
It’s been obvious since his election that Premier Brian Pallister is committed to austerity. His government is cutting public services and staff, reducing funding to municipalities and obsessing over deficit reduction, ostensibly to deal with what he labels as a financial crisis. At the same time, he is oddly insistent on cutting revenues by reducing the provincial sales tax by one percentage point.

Workplace romance in the #MeToo era
Winnipeg Free Press
With Valentine’s Day just behind us, some readers are asking if there have been any changes to policies related to office romance following the start of the #MeToo movement. To be honest, I haven’t personally heard of or seen any particularly radical changes in the Canadian market, but there certainly are reports of increased sensitivity to the issue. At the very least, organizations of all sorts are reviewing their human resource policies and reporting procedures, and are increasing awareness training for all employees in the area of sexual harassment and appropriate communication. The goal is to get ahead of any problems that might arise.

Amazon Pulls Out of Planned New York City Headquarters
New York Times
Amazon on Thursday canceled its plans to build an expansive corporate campus in New York City after facing an unexpectedly fierce backlash from lawmakers, progressive activists and union leaders, who contended that a tech giant did not deserve nearly $3 billion in government incentives.

February 14, 2019

Open presidential search committee to senate - A letter by UMFA president Janet Morrill
The Manitoban
There was a rally in front of the U of M senate chambers on Feb. 6 to show support for the senate’s recommendation, in January, to make the search for our next president open to the public. That recommendation was recently rejected by the university’s board of governors.

Former minister calls on Ford government to release sexual violence survey results
The Queen's University Journal
On Tuesday, former Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development Mitzie Hunter called on the Ford government to immediately release the Student Voices on Sexual Violence survey results.

NSCAD may be one week away from a strike
The Signal
NSCAD University students may be facing cancelled classes as early as Feb. 20 after months of unsuccessful negotiations between faculty and university administration have reached an impasse.

Urban reserve created for education advancement is first of its kind
Regina Leader-Post
The Star Blanket Cree Nation has become the first in Canada to create an urban reserve dedicated to the advancement of education — the culmination of a journey that began in 2002.

Why is Doug Ford attacking student newspapers?
The Star
Even for a government that seems like a series of sideshows in search of a plot, Premier Doug Ford’s attacks on campus student organizations has a jump-the-shark feel.

Denver teachers end strike after reaching deal
Denver teachers have reached a deal with Denver Public Schools and are set to return to the classroom after going out on strike Monday.

Headteachers in a bind as pupils prepare to go on UK climate strike
The Guardian
School leaders are having to wrestle with their consciences over pupils joining the nationwide climate strike to be held on Friday afternoon, caught between their duties as teachers and instincts as educators.

Clark College faculty seek pay increases
The Columbian
Clark College’s faculty union marched through campus Wednesday to support its bargaining team, which remains locked in contract negotiations with college administrators.

UNM Faculty Petition For Union Election
Los Alamos Daily Post
A clear majority of faculty at the University of New Mexico have declared their support for unionization in an official election petition filed today with the UNM Labor Management Relations Board.