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 27, 2020

Advocates decry state of Manitoba child care
Winnipeg Free Press
A report card on the state of Manitoba daycare unveiled at the legislature Wednesday gives the province a grade of "worse."

Externally scorned, internally mismanaged: Why Canada's universities are in deep crisis
National Post
Four years after narrowly losing the presidency to Donald Trump and facing pressure to run again, former U.S, First Lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has instead taken on a new role as the top authority in a powerful institution facing an existential crisis.

Regina professor taking university to court over research funding info
The Globe and Mail
A professor taking the University of Regina to court to find out who’s funding research into oil and gas, as well as climate change says a dangerous precedent could be set if the information stays secret.

Faculty association at Université Sainte-Anne critical of board’s decision to change clause regarding term length for president position
The Chronicle Herald
A spokesman for the faculty association at Université Sainte-Anne says changes proposed by the association with regard to the selection and hiring of the university president – and the union’s decision to publish an open letter on the matter – reach beyond the scope of a philosophical dispute between the union and the university’s board of governors.

New agreement ratified
Castanet.net
The University of British Columbia and the UBC Faculty Association have ratified a new collective agreement.

Faculty Association relieved by Weeks’ resignation; optimistic under Payne leadership
CKPG Today
PRINCE GEORGE – With UNBC President Dr. Daniel Weeks announcing his decision to end his second term as President on Friday, there’s some sigh of relief on behalf of the faculty association according to president Stephen Rader, bringing an end to what he describes as some troubling times in the school’s history.


Discover Weyburn
After voting overwhelmingly in favour of job action if they cannot come to a deal with the provincial government, the Saskatchewan Teachers Federation [STF] are feeling a bit better about the current situation after an in-person meeting with Education Minister Gordon Wyant Tuesday.

Second University Of Oklahoma Professor Is Under Fire For Using The N-Word In Class
Huffington Post
A professor at the University of Oklahoma has recently come under fire for repeatedly using the N-word while reading from a historical document during a class lecture. It was the second time a professor at the university received criticism for using the racial slur in a class this month.

After deadline, hammer yet to fall on defiant UCSC grad students
Santa Cruz Sentinal
Days after a midnight Friday deadline, the hammer has yet to fall on scores of striking UC Santa Cruz teaching assistants threatened with termination.

Teacher Who Was Suspended After She Showed Photo of Her Wife Reaches $100,000 Settlement
New York Times
In August 2017, Stacy Bailey, an art teacher at Charlotte Anderson Elementary School in Arlington, Texas, introduced herself to her fourth-grade class with a slide show of her childhood, parents, friends and family.

February 26, 2020

Manitoba's daycare centres struggle to keep staff with some wages lower than retail
CBC
MJ Farrow feels helpless. Some of her child-care workers could earn a higher wage in retail, and there's nothing she can do about it.

With Historic Win, Foodora Couriers a Big Step Closer to Union Certification
CUPW
The Ontario Labour Relations Board ruled today that couriers working for Foodora are, as Foodsters United and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers argued, dependent contractors – which means they have the legal right to organize and certify a union.

Starbucks worker says he was fired for union organizing and 'to create fear'
The Guardian
Gabriel Ocasio Mejias worked as a barista at Starbucks in Orlando international airport for two years before he was fired on 18 February, shortly after he emerged as one of the leading organizers to unionize his co-workers with labor union Unite Here.

Work stoppage looms for Toronto’s outside employees as city, union clash over 'jobs for life’
Globe and Mail
Toronto could be heading for a stoppage by outside workers – affecting ice rinks, garbage pickup and a host of other city services.

Man convicted of making child porn wins right to fight U of M firing
Winnipeg Free Press
A Winnipeg man convicted of making child pornography and banned from contacting children has won the right to contest his firing by the University of Manitoba.

Course freeze at community college leaves students, daycares in limbo
CBC
An early childhood education student who is one step away from graduation says a sudden freeze on her courses at a Brandon college due to a provincial subsidy running out feels like a "slap in the face."

PSAC Statement on Tuition Increase
Union of Graduate and Postdoctoral Workers at the University of Saskatchewan
We are deeply concerned by the proposed tuition fee increase put forward by the interim Dean of the College of Graduate Studies and Post-Doctoral Fellows. The report proposes a ten percent increase per year for five years for domestic students with a 6.9 percent differential increase for international graduate students. These increases will put a significant burden on already financially-stressed graduate students.

34 professors pen letter criticizing U of R’s lack of engagement with Indigenous voices
Global News
More than 30 professors at the University of Regina have penned an open letter to the heads of the university asking them to repair their relationship with the Indigenous community.

University of Guelph faculty demand transparent probe into school’s handling of Scott-Thomas allegations
Globe and Mail
More than 200 professors and staff have demanded that the University of Guelph do more to address its past and current handling of the allegations against former track coach Dave Scott-Thomas.

University of Regina’s dean of arts sorry George Elliott Clarke ‘vilified’ over lecture controversy, e-mails show
Globe and Mail
E-mails show the University of Regina’s dean of arts told George Elliott Clarke that he was sorry the acclaimed poet had been vilified over his relationship with the killer of an Indigenous woman.

Study: Sexual orientation plays part in pay gap
Western News
Lesbian, gay and bisexual community members continue to find themselves on the lower end of the pay scale when compared to their heterosexual male counterparts – findings one researcher says call for further exploration and could support the inclusion of sexual orientation in employment equity legislation.

White Men Dominate Aging Tenure-Track Ranks
Inside Higher Ed
The median age for tenure-track faculty members is 49, according to a recently released data brief from CUPA-HR, the association for human resources professionals in higher education. That median age is seven years older than the median for the typical American worker, which isn't surprising given that professors required advanced training and credentials.

'Abuse of power': should universities ban staff-student relationships?
The Guardian
W
ithin weeks of starting her postgraduate degree, Allison Smith, then a student at Sussex University, entered a relationship with her lecturer. They had met at an induction party celebrating the new term with drinks and fireworks, where she found him “drunk and loud” but not inappropriate. He later approached her on Twitter. “That escalated quickly into flirtatious talk,” she says.

Kenya university's rape memo sparks anger
BBC
A top Kenyan university has apologised after blaming "reckless" female students for becoming victims of rape.

February 25, 2020

MASTER PLAN TO BE DEVELOPED FOR HEALTH SCIENCES CENTRE WINNIPEG CAMPUS
Province of Manitoba
One of the largest and most significant initiatives in Manitoba’s health system, a master capital plan, will be developed for Health Sciences Centre (HSC) Winnipeg’s campus.  The plan will ensure clinical services and partner organizations are well aligned throughout the site’s future development, Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Cameron Friesen announced today.

Need for Universities to Remain Autonomous from Government
CanLII
Post-secondary education is about more than just obtaining a degree.

Ontario elementary teachers say they will step up job action if no deal made
Global News
TORONTO – Ontario’s public elementary teachers are threatening more job action in two weeks – and they aren’t ruling out a full strike.

Saskatchewan teachers vote in favour of job action over contract dispute
Globe and Mail
Members of the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation have voted overwhelmingly in favour of job action.

University of Guelph faculty demand transparent probe into school’s handling of Scott-Thomas allegations
Globe and Mail
More than 200 professors and staff have demanded that the University of Guelph do more to address its past and current handling of the allegations against former track coach Dave Scott-Thomas.

MRU board raises tuition and student fees citing provincial budget cuts
CBC
The board of governors at Mount Royal University (MRU) voted Monday to approve a seven per cent tuition increase for next school year.

UC Santa Cruz Strikers to Lose TA Jobs
Inside Higher Ed
The University of California, Santa Cruz’s ongoing graduate student strike over a requested cost-of-living adjustment escalated late Friday, when many teaching assistants did not turn in undergraduates’ fall quarter grades by a deadline set by Janet Napolitano, university system president. A week prior, Napolitano said anyone who withheld marks as part of a December grade strike would be ineligible for a spring teaching appointment. She also told those teaching assistants on a current labor strike to resume their duties.

CUPE blocks scabs at landfill, garbage service disrupted in northern New Brunswick
NB Media Co-op
Garbage trucks were lined up outside a landfill south of Bathurst after a lockout of CUPE workers left nobody inside to deal with the waste. A CUPE picket at the site blocked scabs (“replacement workers”) from entering.

Trump Gives Defense Department Power To Abolish Bargaining For Civilian Unions
Huff Post
President Donald Trump has officially granted the Department of Defense the legal authority to abolish the collective bargaining rights of its civilian labor unions representing some 750,000 workers.

Kickstarter Employees Vote to Unionize in a Big Step for Tech
New York Times
Employees at the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter voted on Tuesday to unionize, the first well-known technology company to take the step toward being represented by organized labor.

February 24, 2020

Final arguments in Bill 28 challenge wrap-up
MGEU
The Partnership to Defend Public Services (PDPS) delivered closing arguments this week in the court challenge against the government’s wage freeze legislation (Bill 28) for public sector workers.

Trial challenging Pallister wage-freeze legislation concludes
MFL
The trial for the constitutional challenge to the Pallister government’s Public Services Sustainability Act has now concluded

Diversity push doubles the number of minorities studying education at U of M
CBC
The University of Manitoba has doubled the number of minorities studying to be teachers — years after introducing an aggressive target to admit nearly half of all education students from diverse backgrounds.

Two Manitoba students among select group to earn $100K undergrad awards
Winnipeg Sun
Two Manitobans were among a select group of students to receive four-year undergraduate awards valued at $100,000 each.

Quebec education minister offers ‘sincere apologies’ to McGill prof barred from ethics forum
Global News
Quebec’s education minister has formally apologized to a renowned McGill University ethics professor for removing him from consultations based on false information.

What you need to know about teachers' strikes this week (Feb. 24 to 28)
CBC
Job action by teachers and education workers is expected to continue this week with strikes scheduled on Friday affecting schools in Guelph and Wellington County.

University of Guelph admits ‘toxic environment’ was fostered within athletics program
Global News
Amid the allegations surrounding former track coach Dave Scott-Thomas, the University of Guelph admits a “toxic environment” was allowed to grow within its athletics program.

TRU faculty association members to see general wage increases
My Cariboo Now
The board of governors at Thompson Rivers University (TRU) and the TRU Faculty Association (TRUFA) have ratified a 3-year agreement under government’s Sustainable Services Negotiating Mandate.

Hundreds attend youth reconciliation conference at Concordia University
CBC
Amid ongoing rail blockades across the country, hundreds of Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth are coming together to talk about what reconciliation means as part of a nationwide conference being held at Montreal's Concordia University.

The university ‘free speech crisis’ has been a rightwing myth for 50 years
The Guardian
T
he idea that there is a free speech “crisis” at British universities has gained considerable currency over the last decade. “No platforming”, “safe spaces” and “trigger warnings” have been held up by conservatives, libertarians and “classic liberals” as the holy trinity of campus censorship methods – supposed threats to free speech and academic freedom.

February 21, 2020

Canadian postsecondary enrolments and graduates, 2017/2018
Stats Canada
Student enrolment at Canadian public universities and colleges rose for the third consecutive academic year in 2017/2018, largely driven by higher enrolments by international students, particularly from China and India.

Virus affects Chinese students' applications in Manitoba
Winnipeg Free Press
Manitoba universities are making application exceptions for prospective Chinese students as the coronavirus outbreak disrupts everything from regular semesters to English-language proficiency tests.

Ontario universities must respect the autonomy of democratically governed students’ unions
OCUFA
At universities and colleges across Ontario, democratically elected students’ unions are a vital part of the campus community. They provide numerous services to their members, including access to vibrant student clubs, inclusive spaces, event programming, and important resources that support marginalized students on campus.

'A demonstration of unity': Ontario teachers holding protest at legislature in province-wide strike
CBC
The unions representing Ontario's public and Catholic school teachers kicked off a day of protest they said is aimed at sending a message to Premier Doug Ford and Education Minister Stephen Lecce.

Ontario’s teachers’ unions walk off job together in provincewide strike
The Globe and Mail
About 200,000 Ontario teachers and education workers will be on the picket line Friday in the first ever provincewide strike that will close all publicly funded schools, with the threat of more labour action next week.

Ford government's claim of spending '$1.2B more' on education doesn't add up
CBC
Ontario Premier Doug Ford's oft-repeated statement that his government is spending $1.2 billion more on education this year than last year doesn't stand up to scrutiny.

University of California President Janet Napolitano threatens to fire striking grad students
Salon
The wildcat strike among teaching assistants at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) is inspiring solidarity labor action at other University of California (UC) campuses — despite threats from UC leadership to fire grad students who are withholding grades as part of the strike.

Coronavirus outbreak thrusts China into a mass experiment in remote work
The Globe and Mail
Never have so many people worked from home. Never have so many bosses wanted their employees back in the office.

CUPW Statement on the Land Defenders in Wet’suwet’en Territory
CUPW
The Canadian Union of Postal Workers commend the land defenders in Wet’suwet’en territory for their brave and noble stand against greed and destruction. We condemn the RCMP for trespassing on unceded territory and intimidating land defenders there. Costal Gaslink wants to build a 670 km pipeline through their territories and a pristine wilderness. Once again, land is given away to corporations to enrich shareholders and divide communities.

A Negotiated Settlement to the Situation on Wet’suwet’en Territory
Vancouver and District Labour Council
The Vancouver and District Labour Council is alarmed by the ongoing conflict taking place on the Wet’suwet’en territory. While the recent discussions between the Provincial Government and the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs was a hopeful development, it unfortunately did not lead to a resolve of the dispute.

Co-op gives cash to help truckers affected by refinery lockout
Regina Leader-Post
As the labour dispute between the Co-op and Unifor moved to mediation this week, truckers who have been affected by the lockout are set to receive support from the company.

February 20, 2020

Teachers work satisfaction slips in shadow of education review: poll
Winnipeg Free Press
As Manitoba teachers brace for a massive overhaul of the public education system, they’re anxious to find out how classrooms will change — many say their jobs already have.

University of Toronto agrees to first open access publishing deal with Karger Publishers
University of Toronto
The University of Toronto (U of T) and Karger Publishers have entered into a transformative open access agreement that includes reading access to all Karger e-journals with immediate open access to U of T-authored articles. This agreement is Karger Publisher’s first open access deal in Canada.

Queen’s track coach fired after criticizing University of Guelph’s handling of Dave Scott-Thomas allegations
The Globe and Mail
Queen’s University has dismissed a long-time track and field head coach, who said he was terminated Wednesday because he was outspoken about how the University of Guelph handled allegations against a star coach.

Open or closed search?
CAUT Bulletin
The hallmarks and value of holding an “open” job search might seem obvious, but when it comes to particular jobs — such as senior administrative positions at universities — academic staff associations across Canada are finding it more and more necessary to explain and defend the need for openness.

UK university staff to strike for 14 days in pay and pensions row
The Guardian
University staff who are due to start 14 days of strike action at 74 campuses across the UK have expressed their anger and frustration at what they see as employers’ failure to address their concerns over pay, pensions and working conditions.

Canada should spend more on early childhood education, new report says
The Globe and Mail
Canada risks its competitiveness if it fails to invest in the learning and development of the country’s youngest children, according to a new report that is calling on the federal government to spend more on universal early childhood education.

Two teachers' unions return to bargaining table as province-wide strike looms
CTV News
Bargaining is set to resume today between the Ontario government and two teachers' unions, just one day before a planned joint strike by all four major teacher groups in the province.

Alberta’s largest labour organization questions use of pension funds to support energy industry
The Globe and Mail
Alberta’s largest labour organization says public-service pensions are being used to prop up the province’s struggling fossil fuels industry at a time when many large investment funds are moving away from the sector.

Evening Update: Via announces 1,000 temporary layoffs as rail blockades continue
The Globe and Mail
Just as Justin Trudeau was decrying the “unacceptable” layoffs and shortages resulting from the rail blockades in support of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs opposed to a natural-gas pipeline in northern B.C, Via Rail announced the temporary layoff of 1,000 employees.

With money tight, competition between Britain’s unions is getting dirty
The Economist
I
N A NORTH LONDON supermarket, rival trade-union officials are caught in a bitter feud. A representative from Usdaw, the shopworkers’ union, has been running up against Unite organisers, whose desperation for members has reached boiling point. “I was recently asked by a Unite rep to not come into ‘their’ store to help out an Usdaw member,” says the Usdaw shop steward. “I just laughed and gave out a load of membership forms—apparently we got about 50 people to sign up!”

February 19, 2020

Join a picket line to show your solidarity with Ontario educators during their one-day province-wide strike
OCUFA
On Friday, February 21, Ontario’s four public school teachers’ unions will hold a province-wide strike to escalate pressure on the Ford government to come back to the bargaining table. This is the first time since 1997 that all four education unions will be on strike on the same day.

Senate queries Navitas potential partnership
Western News
A university proposal to partner with private international college Navitas to provide an alternative first-year pathway for some international students garnered further discussion from university Senators at the governing body’s regular meeting Friday.

Alberta streamlines grants, changes formula for K-12 education funding
Global News
The Alberta government announced an overhaul Tuesday for education funding in the province.

B.C. brings in new grant to help post-secondary students cover tuition costs
National Post
College and university students in British Columbia will be eligible for a new grant of up to $4,000 to help cover their tuition costs.

Professor loses landmark legal battle after claiming it’s ‘free speech’ to deliberately misgender trans students
Pink News
A professor who claimed “free speech” means he has the right to deliberately misgender transgender students without repercussions has lost his legal battle.

University strikes: Students could face larger class sizes if staff get their demands, employers claim
Independent
Students could face larger class sizes and fewer lecturers if staff get their demands over pensions, universities have claimed ahead of a fresh wave of walkouts this week.

UC Santa Cruz grad students still on strike in shadow of firing threat
East Bay Times
UC Santa Cruz grad students and faculty are responding to an ultimatum issued by UC President Janet Napolitano Friday to submit their grades or risk being fired.

University employers say union demands on pay are unaffordable
The Guardian
Union demands on pensions, pay and conditions are unaffordable and will put vulnerable institutions that are already in deficit at even greater risk, university employers have said.

Protesters rally at Manitoba Legislative Building against planned closure of Dauphin jail
CBC
Dozens of placard-carrying protestors marched Wednesday morning in front of the Manitoba Legislative Building to denounce the planned closure of the Dauphin Correctional Centre.

A new kind of union...that’s not quite a union
Canadian Labour Institute
THE CANADIAN FREELANCE UNION IS A ‘STAR TREK’ UNION. It aims to bravely go where no union has gone before—without actually being a union.

Over 25,000 Giant and Safeway workers may go on strike
ABC 7 WJLA
If you're a regular shopper at Safeway or Giant, you might have to come up with a plan B to buy your groceries.