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.
April 24, 2019
Failure's real cause must be examined in schools review
Winnipeg Free Press
Manitoba’s newly appointed Education Review Commission has been tasked, in the words of some of its creators, with "fixing our schools." Ostensibly, this is because our students are not doing as well as they should in numeracy and literacy on international achievement tests.
Nova Scotia Parents for Public Education seeking input on Glaze Report rollout
The Chronicle Herald
A group is looking to hear about public education system from parents, caregivers and teachers across Nova Scotia.
McGill profs resign from Board of Governors over investment in fossil fuels
Canada's National Observer
Last week, we submitted our resignations as elected faculty representatives to the Board of Governors of McGill University. We believe the board is about to make a decision to which we cannot be party in good conscience, and we have exhausted the means at our disposal to influence this decision.
Government of Canada partners with digital industries to invest in groundbreaking technology and businesses
The Government of Canada is building the foundation for Canadian innovators to invest, strengthen communities, grow our economy and create good middle-class jobs. The Government is partnering with groundbreaking digital industries to invest in quantum-related technologies and skills development. This will mean smarter security systems to better protect Canadians' homes, more powerful digital security tools to secure their online transactions, and more efficient medicines to improve their health.
A College Divided Over a Harvard Professor
Inside Higher Ed
Concordia University’s Liberal Arts College asked the conservative political philosopher Harvey Mansfield to speak at its 40th anniversary gala, planned for next month. Citing alumni backlash over Mansfield’s past controversial statements on gender and gay marriage, the Canadian college then uninvited him and postponed the event.
Sexual assault disclosures rising at University of Windsor
The number of people coming forward to report a sexual assault at the University of Windsor continues to rise, up more than 300 per cent in the 2018-19 school year compared to 2016-17.
University of Windsor increasing international student tuition to offset Ontario's domestic decrease
International students at the University of Windsor will see a tuition fee increase to offset a provincially-mandated 10 per cent decrease for their domestic counterparts.
Canada playing major role as safe haven for at-risk academics from strife-torn countries
The Globe and Mail
In 2014, Abdullah Gharamah’s neighbourhood in Sanaa, Yemen, was being used for weapons storage by armed militants when his home was stormed by some of them, who threatened the lives of his family and largely destroyed his house.
Japan university bans smokers from all teaching posts
The Jakarta Post
A university in Japan said it would not hire professors or teachers who smoke, a move that apparently is a first by a state-run university, Asahi Shimbun reported.
University hosts no-whites-allowed faculty and staff listening sessions — to promote inclusivity
The College Fix
Wake Forest University is hosting a series of “listening sessions” for faculty and staff of color that aim to advance inclusion efforts on campus.
3 Takeaways From a New Survey on Administrative Pay
The Chronicle of Higher Education
The College and University Professional Association for Human Resources released a report on Wednesday on its annual survey of higher-education administrators, a group that includes college presidents, senior institutional administrators, and academic deans at all levels.
Unions scramble to contain Polish teachers’ strike as 40,000 social workers prepare to stop work
World Socialist Website
Amid an almost complete international media blackout, the nationwide strike by 300,000 Polish teachers, which has shut down three-fourths of the country’s kindergartens and schools, could soon be joined by over 40,000 social workers. The teachers’ walkout is the latest in a series of strikes by educators around the world. The teachers’ strike, the first nationwide walkout since 1993, is one of the largest strikes since the restoration of capitalism in Poland in 1989.
Vancouver MEC store joins union
A union that is actively courting Whistler workers recently added a significant Vancouver business to its ranks, persuading workers at the West Broadway location of Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) to join its ranks in a vote on Thursday, April 11.
What’s ahead for B.C.’s labour laws? Forming new unions
The Star Vancouver
The last time significant amendments were made to B.C.’s employment laws, “gig economy” wasn’t part of our lexicon. Outsourcing, job insecurity, low wages and unpredictable scheduling have become the norm for many.
Public unions in Minnesota in cross hairs of new legal campaign
A child-care worker in a Forest Lake public school district is challenging her union membership in a case that could make it harder for public-sector unions in Minnesota to collect money from employees who don’t want to join a workplace union.
Tenement Museum Workers Vote to Unionize
After years of failed attempts, the front-facing staff at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum have finally announced their decision to unionize. In a vote held Monday, April 15, the workers voted in favor of joining Local 2110 UAW (United Auto Workers) by a 96% margin.
Supreme Court to decide whether gay, transgender workers are protected by anti-discrimination laws
The Washington Post
The Supreme Court will deliver election-year rulings on one of the nation’s most consequential and unsettled civil rights issues: whether federal anti-discrimination laws prevent employers from firing workers because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.
April 23, 2019
'Reconciliation in action': Calls made to save Indigenous education program
Ethan Barclay pinches small pieces of tobacco, sweetgrass, cedar and sage into a tiny tan leather satchel he's making to wear around his neck.
Six Nations of the Grand River closer to taking control of its education system
For years Six Nations of the Grand River has wanted complete control over its education system — and now they say they're closer than ever to making it happen.
Canadian Universities Need To Lead The Charge On Climate Action
The Huffington Post
Climate justice activists keep telling us that we must all come together to solve the current climate crisis, and they're right. However, governments everywhere are failing to rise to the occasion and implement changes — outlined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People and the Paris Agreement — to curb carbon emissions and avoid an environmental catastrophe. While we grapple with the dire effect of climate change, billions of public funds are being grossly misused in infrastructure, advertisement, and bailouts for the oil and gas industry, while public services that will support a shift to renewable energy are being neglected.
Ontarians Fight Back Against Province's Cuts To Library Services
The Huffington Post
Many Ontarians are outraged by the province's decision to cut two library services.
An inaccurate census count jeopardizes educational opportunities
The profound mission of public schools to ensure that all children have access to education is extraordinary not only as a bedrock principle of American society, but more importantly for its far-reaching positive impact on the lives of children.
Faculty Association brings salary counter-offer to administration
Bargaining for better wages, the Faculty Association presented their salary counter-offer to administration a day after their protest during the Staff and Faculty Appreciation event.
Faculty Women’s Association celebrates 25 years of inspiration, unity
The Daily Universe
Denise Stephens was shocked when she applied for a BYU faculty position more than a decade ago and found there were no female faculty members in the physics department. She was also surprised at the gender-biased questions she was asked in her interview.
Health unions split on contracts with province
Members of two public-sector unions voted last week to ratify a tentative agreement with provincial health agencies, but a third union local looks set to go back to the bargaining table after members rejected the same deal.
Stop & Shop management and local unions agree to tentative terms; Ahold Delhaize gives update on guidance following strike
Stop & Shop, an Ahold Delhaize company, announced a tentative agreement of terms with five local unions (UFCW Locals 1445, 1459, 919, 371, and 328) which allowed Stop & Shop's 31,000 associates in New England to return to work on Monday. The strikes had affected 246 of Stop & Shop's 415 stores and lasted 11 days, having started on April 11, 2019.
CUPE's case against concessions
As a labour leader and occasional social media user, I am pretty used to hearing how, because we now have weekends and minimum wage standards and health and safety laws, the work of unions in Canada is complete. The reality is otherwise.
April 22, 2019
Ontario to tie post-secondary funding to grads' employment and earnings
Future funding for post-secondary institutions in Ontario will depend on metrics such as graduates' earnings and employment rates.
Parents worry as teacher cuts, labour strife loom
Parents of Ottawa high school students are bracing for the loss of hundreds of teaching positions and the possibility of job action.
U of S 'needlessly' pushing workers toward job action: union
Saskatoon Star Phoenix
The union representing University of Saskatchewan support workers says the institution’s decision to no longer negotiate over pensions — the crux of an ongoing labour dispute — is “needlessly” pushing its members toward job action.
Faculty Association tackles labor and culture issues in its first five years
Five years after faculty created a group to represent their interests, members said they have facilitated conversations on issues including employee benefits and GW’s institutional culture.
Elizabeth Warren’s Higher Education Plan: Cancel Student Debt and Eliminate Tuition
The New York Times
Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who has structured her presidential campaign around a steady unveiling of disruptive policy ideas, on Monday proposed her biggest one yet: a $1.25 trillion plan to reshape higher education by canceling most student loan debt and eliminating tuition at every public college.
Why is there so little talk of attracting men to female-dominated jobs?
Globe and Mail
There are many initiatives aimed at encouraging women to enter male-dominated fields such as technology, engineering and finance, yet we hear very little about balancing professions that skew heavily female.
Baffinland production workers unionize, sign collective agreement
More than 800 heavy equipment operators, haul truck drivers, skilled tradespeople and other workers at Nunavut’s Mary River iron mine are now represented by a union—and they’ve just ratified their first collective agreement with Baffinland Iron Mines Corp.
Workers, Stop & Shop reach tentative deal to end strike
Stop and Shop workers have reportedly reached a deal with the New England grocery store chain to end a 10-day strike, according to the Boston Globe.
CFL players to hold strike vote
3 Down Nation
The latest development in the CFL labour negotiations has the players’ association holding a strike vote.
April 18, 2019
Resistance to education cuts
On April 4, over 100,000 students at over 700 high schools across Ontario walked out to protest the Doug Ford government’s proposed cuts to education on April 4. Organized by students, this mass walkout is believed to be the largest student protest in Canadian history.
Teacher shortage puts Quebec's education system to the test
Francophone students graduating with a bachelor of education this spring are leaving university with more than just a diploma.
'We're not going away': Labour groups criticize Doug Ford's education changes, protest job cuts
An organized labour group in Ontario wants to derail some of Premier Doug Ford's plans to axe thousands of full-time teaching positions through attrition, while phasing in an increase to intermediate and high school class sizes under the province's education revamp.
Rutgers Faculty Union Reaches Contract Agreement
Inside Higher Ed
Full-time faculty members and graduate assistants at Rutgers University reached a tentative contract agreement with their administration, averting a possible strike, they announced this week. “For the first time in the union’s nearly 50-year history, we won equal pay for equal work for female faculty, faculty of color and for faculty in the Newark and Camden campuses,” Deepa Kumar, associate professor of media studies and Middle Eastern studies, and president of the American Association of University Professors- and American Federation of Teachers-affiliated union, said in a statement. Graduate stipends will increase from $25,969 to $30,162 over the course of the contract.
Teachers: Unions criticise minimum wage internship
Two teaching unions have strongly criticised a minimum wage internship for teachers run by Stranmillis University College.
Manitoba premier picking fights with workers 100 years after general strike, labour leader says
A century after the Winnipeg General Strike rocked the city, Manitoba's premier is picking fights with unions and sowing "disharmony" between workers and their employers, a Manitoba labour leader said Wednesday.
No nursing home strike possible as court reserves decision
New Brunswick's Court of Appeal reserved its decision on a case that will have a crucial impact on the nursing home contract dispute and whether 4,000 unionized workers can walk off the job.
Gender equality emphasized on rights charter anniversary
Radio Canada International
In lauding the 37th anniversary of the signing of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms today, the justice minister focussed on gender equality and women’s empowerment.
The Ford government needs to realize the long-term benefits of pay equity
The Globe and Mail
Half an hour out of my day, once per year, is a reasonable amount of time to dedicate to achieving pay equity in my business, but that won’t be required of me now that Ontario’s Pay Transparency Act has been put on pause.
With boomers retiring and investment uncertain, where will Canada’s workers come from?
The Globe and Mail
We often hear about the economic and policy challenges that Canada faces because of a retiring boomer cohort, but the scale of the problem isn’t always clear, and solutions are limited. The lack of workers is already discouraging business investment, a situation that bodes poorly for growing the productive capacity of our economy. Already today, if not for immigration, Canada’s work force would be declining in numbers, so immigration is key to growing our pool of labour. In addition, measures should be taken to maximize work force participation for under-represented groups.
CFL Players' Association urges training camp boycott unless new deal with league is done
Contract talks between the CFL and its players have turned ugly.
Labour reform passes Mexican congress, making USMCA closer to reality
Automotive News Canada
Mexico's lower house of Congress has approved a labour law reform aimed at ensuring workers can freely vote for their union representation and contracts.
April 17, 2019
Free concerts in strike centenary spotlight
Winnipeg Free Press
The centennial of the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike will be celebrated with free concerts featuring performers such as Bruce Cockburn, Ani DiFranco and Heather Bishop, local unions announced Tuesday.
Labour council meets after harassment claims
Winnipeg Free Press
The spectre of Basia Sokal’s pending resignation hung over the Winnipeg Labour Council (WLC) on Tuesday night as the group’s monthly meeting kicked off with the reading of an anti-harassment policy statement.
BOMBSHELLS: Business as usual for Bombers despite contentious CBA negotiations
With the start of training camps a month away, the Canadian Football League and its Players Association are not even talking about a collective bargaining agreement, but that’s not about to change anything for Winnipeg Blue Bombers general manager Kyle Walters and his team of scouts and coaches.
Striking Saskatoon Co-op employees ratify new contract
A strike at Saskatoon Co-op that lasted over five months has ended.
U.K. tourists evicted from Niagara Falls hotel for supporting striking cafe workers
A vacationing father and daughter from the United Kingdom say they feel "threatened" and "scared" after being evicted from the Crowne Plaza Niagara Falls because they supported striking workers at the nearby Rainforest Cafe.
Working 9 to 9: Chinese tech workers push back against long hours
Chinese tech employees are pushing back against the industry’s notoriously long hours, known as the “996” schedule of working from 9am to 9pm, six days a week.
Polish government vows to fight wage rises as teachers’ strike enters second week
World Socialist Website
The Polish government, led by the extreme right-wing Law and Justice Party (PiS), is refusing to accede to demands of teachers for increased wages and better classroom conditions. Hundreds of thousands of teachers have been engaged in a national walkout since April 8 in one of largest struggles by the working class against decades of austerity that followed the restoration of capitalism 30 years ago.
Ford warns teachers not to strike as contract talks near
Premier Doug Ford warned teachers Tuesday not to “pull this strike nonsense,” with a likely challenging round of bargaining set to start as soon as this month.
Rutgers has gender wage gap of 6 to 8%, professor says
The Daily Targum
Rutgers American Association of University Professors and American Federation of Teachers' (AAUP-AFT) announced on Facebook last night at approximately 10 p.m. that they were making progress and would stay at the bargaining table 'round the clock' until a deal is reached to avert a strike.
Province pulls $20M in funding from OCAD University expansion
OCAD University is determined to move forward with a campus expansion project after receiving “devastating news” that the province is withdrawing millions in funding.
$32-million in education cuts expected at Ottawa's public school board
Provincial funding cuts will eventually mean about $32 million less funding per year for the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board, trustees heard Tuesday night, but the resulting effects of those cuts are still to be determined.
ArcticNet to receive $32 million Arctic research grant
Canada’s largest program of Arctic research will receive more than $32 million in funding over the next five years, the federal government announced Tuesday.
Indigenization efforts vary widely on Canadian campuses, study finds
When it comes to Indigenization at Canadian universities, most have focused on Indigenous hiring and student recruitment, with few making progress on long-term commitments that Indigenous education experts say are key to Indigenizing the academy. That’s the overall conclusion of a survey carried out by two researchers at the University of Alberta.
Growing inequalities in post-secondary education means students of color less likely to enroll in college
Higher education remains the clearest pathway to the middle class for low-income families, but for millions of students every year, it remains out of reach. Low-income students are less likely than wealthier students to go to college and less likely to graduate with degrees that give them a shot at well-paying jobs if they do enroll.