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 24, 2023

Students wait for word on possible staff strikes at RRC Polytech, Assiniboine campuses after union votes
Winnipeg Free Press
A wage dispute at two Manitoba colleges could end in a strike, although there is still time to reach agreement.

2 Manitoba high schoolers win $100K scholarships for pandemic-inspired community initiatives
Two Manitobans — an aspiring lawyer and a mental-health advocate — are among 36 high schoolers from across the country who have been chosen as Loran Scholars, the prestigious, $100,000 award given annually to those who are engaged with their community, show strength of character and want to create a better world.

Silent protest or bullying? Lawyers argue over MUN student's protest against Vianne Timmons
Nobody disagrees that Matt Barter did not make a sound during his protest against Memorial University president Dr. Vianne Timmons on Dec. 2, 2021.

Effects of not eating 'starting to set in' for McMaster hunger strikers on Day 4 of protest
A hunger strike started by a group of McMaster University students on Monday is taking a toll on their bodies, but they are determined to continue until the university takes action, a member of the group said Thursday.

McGill University probed by OQLF after complaint over French language
Montreal Gazette
McGill University was recently contacted by the the Office québécois de la langue française (OQLF) over a complaint about the university’s use of French.

McGill remains the top university in Canada, according to these rankings
Montreal Gazette
McGill University can once again boast at being the best university in the country.

Union wraps up negotiations with Carleton University, will speak with members on Friday
Ottawa Citizen
Carleton University’s largest union says it wrapped up negotiations with the university late Thursday for the bargaining unit representing teaching assistants, some research assistants and service assistants.

Rutgers president raises prospect of court battle if professors go on strike
NJ Spotlight News
An unprecedented court battle could be brewing at New Jersey’s state university if three Rutgers University staff unions go on strike over wages and job security. Facing a statewide walk-out by at least 8,800 educators and medical workers, Rutgers President Jonathan Holloway this week emailed employees and students a letter in which he stated, “…the courts have ruled that strikes by public employees are unlawful in New Jersey … we are taking all appropriate steps to mitigate any possible disruptions that a work action would have for you and, most important, for our students.”

Doctors, nurses to fill staffing gaps in program for sexual assault survivors
A program struggling to serve sexual assault victims in Winnipeg is getting temporary help from a group of physicians and other nurses after more than half of its nurses quit this week.

Business Group Says Gig Workers Shouldn’t Get Employee Rights
The Tyee
Experts say a Vancouver business group’s warning that stronger worker protections would destroy the gig economy are alarmist and false.

Disney World reaches union deal with minimum $18 hourly wage
Globe and Mail
Unions for service workers at Walt Disney World reached a tentative deal with the company on Thursday that would raise the starting minimum wage from $15 to $18 an hour by the end of the year in a pact that could set the basement for starting pay throughout central Florida’s sprawling tourism industry.

Card-Check Union Certification Has Been A Win For B.C. Workers
Earlier this month, the British Columbia Labour Relations Board (BC LRB) released its annual report covering 2022. This gives us an opportunity to review the initial impact of card-check union certification, which the province passed last June. So far, the numbers suggest that card-check is making it easier for workers to form unions.

The Problems With the Amazon Labor Union
The American Prospect
There’s trouble in the Amazon Labor Union.

'Mega strike' in Germany: Flights, trains and buses cancelled during mass walkout starting on Sunday
There is likely to be widespread travel chaos across Germany early next week, after two of the country's biggest transport unions called a nationwide strike.

1 million march in France, unions call new pension protests
CTV News
French unions called for new nationwide strikes and protests next week, coinciding with King Charles III's planned visit to France, after more than 1 million people demonstrated throughout the country Thursday against unpopular pension reforms.

March 23, 2023

Nurse overtime at rural authorities through the roof: data
Winnipeg Free Press
Manitoba nurses who work for two rural health authorities recorded more than 132,000 overtime hours in 2022.

Carberry desperate to find doctor as ER threatened
Winnipeg Free Press
Residents of a town in western Manitoba are bracing for the closure of their emergency department, which they fear could be permanent, beginning this fall.

Majority of councillors vote to pass 2023 city budget
Winnipeg Free Press
A decisive majority of council members cast a final vote to approve the City of Winnipeg’s 2023 budget Wednesday, amid concerns about climate change and calls for more community safety hosts at the Millennium Library.

Training program for people facing employment barriers resurrected with provincial funds
Winnipeg Free Press
A training program that teaches trade skills to people facing employment barriers has received a provincial funding boost, months after it was shuttered.

Minimum wage in Manitoba to hit $15.30/hour in October
Manitoba's minimum wage is to rise to $15.30 an hour on Oct. 1 to help low-income earners deal with the rising cost of living, the provincial government announced Wednesday.

Casual nurses resign en masse from Health Sciences Centre program for sexual assault survivors
Almost one-third of the casual nursing pool for a sexual assault examiner program at Winnipeg's Health Sciences Centre resigned unexpectedly on Tuesday, health-care officials said, leaving the hospital working to ensure the services are still available when people need them.

Union representing Saskatchewan health-care workers says province spent at least $730K on private sector nurses (video)
The Canadian Union of Public Employee says money needs to go to public health care workers and not private contractors. CUPE says Saskatchewan has spent at least $730,000 on private health care staffing in the Prairie North region, which includes North Battleford and Meadow Lake.

Ontario to end paid sick day program, create new manufacturing tax credit in Thursday’s budget
Globe and Mail
Ontario is ending its temporary paid sick day program, a move that will be part of the province’s 2023 budget set to be released on Thursday. Other measures include a new tax credit worth $780-million over three years for manufacturers, and investment in skilled trade training.

B.C. public sector set for 6.75% wage hike, costing up to $2.6B
B.C. public sector employees will receive a 6.75 per cent wage increase this year, which is the maximum allowance under the ratified collective agreements dubbed the “Shared Recovery Mandate.”

Anger at Macron mounts as French unions hold new protests
CTV News
French unions on Thursday are holding their first mass demonstrations since President Emmanuel Macron inflamed public anger by forcing a higher retirement age through parliament without a vote. Strikes are upending travel, and blockades are expected at ports, refineries and garbage dumps.

German unions call for wide-ranging transport strike Monday
ABC News
German unions are calling on thousands of workers across the country's transport system to stage a one-day strike on Monday that is expected to bring widespread disruption to planes, trains and local transit.

MUN kicking back 10% tuition credit to students disrupted by faculty strike
Memorial University will refund students around 10 per cent of their tuition fees for time lost to the labour dispute between administration and faculty earlier this year.

Post-secondary education sees no funding increase in year 3 of 4-year deal: Saskatchewan budget
Global News
As part of the 2023-2024 budget, the Government of Saskatchewan is investing a total of $697.4 million toward post-secondary education in the province.

Sask. government commits $3.1 billion to education (video)
CTV News

McGill remains the top university in Canada, according to these rankings
Montreal Gazette
McGill University can once again boast at being the best university in the country.

As it hires after CCAA, Laurentian ‘triaging,’ says interim pres
With Laurentian University’s journey under creditor protection now in the rearview mirror, the university has turned its attention to hiring, namely replacing faculty and administrators who have left LU.

What’s behind a surge of cheating in universities
Globe and Mail
Allegations of academic misconduct at Canadian universities have risen sharply in the 2020 to 2021 school year as more and more students turn to hiring people to complete assignments and tests for them. The consequences for the student are clear: a permanent blemish on their academic careers and possible impact on their job prospects if they are caught.

Strike looming in the California State University System (video)
CBS News
The strike would involve close to 60,000 workers, including some at Sacramento State, who are banding together to demand higher wages, better benefits, and improved working conditions.

March 22, 2023

Province of Manitoba
This October, Manitoba minimum wage earners will be making $3.35 per hour more than they were in September 2022 following iterative increases that position Manitoba as one of the top minimum wage provinces in Canada, Labour and Immigration Minister Jon Reyes announced today.

Human rights complaint alleges MPI discriminatory in surveillance
Winnipeg Free Press
A Winnipeg woman has filed a human rights complaint against Manitoba Public Insurance, alleging its video surveillance — to document whether she was lying about the extent of her injuries — was discriminatory because of her disabilities.

More than a paycheque
Winnipeg Free Press
Tuesday marked a milestone for Cardinal Capital Management, who was celebrating a spot on the latest Manitoba’s Top Employers list.

Province boosts funding for disability services, raises wage for support workers
Winnipeg Free Press
Manitobans with intellectual disabilities, their families and advocates joined the Progressive Conservative government Tuesday at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights to celebrate record funding that supports their right to live in the community.

Pay increase for disability support workers should stabilize workforce, province says
Scott Smith hopes new government funding for disability services will allow him and his wife to worry less about their son's future.

Tax season could be chaos as strike threatens to bring CRA to 'standstill'
National Post
The end of tax season could become chaos for last-minute filers, as the majority of Canada Revenue Agency employees could go on strike in mid-April and grind the tax department to a “standstill.”

Getting the Members into Motion at UPS
Labor Notes
Rank-and-file activists at UPS have a huge task: getting our 340,000 co-workers ready to mount a credible strike threat by August 1. Luckily we don’t have to do it alone, like we did in 2013 and 2018.

‘My name is cleared’: the US workers fighting back against union busting
The Guardian
Last year, public support for labor unions hit a high unseen since 1965 amid high-profile union campaigns at major corporations including Apple, Amazon, Starbucks, Chipotle, REI and Trader Joe’s.

NDP clears path for crucial teachers accountability bill
Winnipeg Free Press
I am happy to report I was wrong in my prediction the Opposition NDP would side with its union allies and kill a teachers accountability bill.

Bill to require municipal, school trustee candidates to disclose legal issues passes second reading
Winnipeg Free Press
Manitoba lawmakers are pushing forward legislation to require municipal council and school trustee candidates to disclose criminal, drug and tax convictions.

Keep Brandon University from meeting Laurentian’s fate
Winnipeg Free Press
IN February 2021, Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ont., became the first Canadian public university to, for all intents and purposes, declare bankruptcy. It sought creditor protection and, in an unprecedented move, fired more than 100 tenured faculty and cancelled more than one-third of its programs, gutting the arts and humanities that are the core of a university.

'Nobody Listens'
The Gazette
Ashton Forrest has been a Western student for almost half of her life.

University of Guelph says $3M lawsuit should be 'struck in its entirety'
CTV News
The University of Guelph says it believes a multimillion-dollar lawsuit filed by one of its tenured professors against the institution and its employees is “frivolous, vexatious and an abuse of process.”

Could UPEI faculty be forced back to work? Not during an election campaign
With University of Prince Edward Island faculty striking in the middle of a provincial election campaign, one thing is certain: There's no way they can be forced back to work through legislation in the next few weeks.

Graduate Unions: Why Student Workers at University of California, Temple, More Are Striking
Teen Vogue
Academic workers are having a moment. This past year,2,500 NLRB petitions were filed for union elections and graduate workers at MIT, Yale, Northwestern, Johns Hopkins, Boston University, and the University of Chicago represented the six largest. And graduate workers weren’t the only ones organizing: Non-tenure contingent faculty mobilized at Howard, NYU, The New School, Fordham, and Rutgers. Union organizing has also spread to the University of Southern California, Syracuse University, the University of Illinois Chicago, Washington State, Barnard, Dartmouth, Wesleyan, and the University of Alaska, among other campuses.

Los Angeles schools shut down as staff strike for better pay
ABC News
Thousands of service workers backed by teachers began a three-day strike against the Los Angeles Unified School District on Tuesday, shutting down education for a half-million students in the nation's second-largest school system.

Universities Should Stand for Debate, Not Censorship
The Washington Post
Top officials at Stanford University apologized recently after a federal judge who’d been invited to speak on campus was shouted down by protesting students. An apology was indeed called for. Such incidents are recurring with distressing regularity at elite American schools. Administrators need to show they’re committed to stopping them.

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.