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UPDATE (19/10/12): Court dates for civil defamation suit against the editor of this blog have been post-poned and may not occur until next year. The parties may quite possibly die of old age before this gets resolved. In the meantime, I have taken down La Maison in the hope that cooler heads will prevail.
the story of the uphill battle to unionize the professional and technical staff at UNB: “UNB fights union drive on campus,” CBCnews (16 Nov./11):
“I’ve organized a number of workers in the academic sector in Atlantic Canada, and what we seem to have happen here is an employer, despite the fact that they’re an institute of higher learning, has taken a real kind of anti-union, WalMart-type of approach whereby they’re doing everything they can to intimidate the workers,” [David] Shaw [of the Public Service Alliance of Canada] said.
Update: And now the local paper has picked it up. Be sure, as ever, to read the comments.
A familiar story from Manitoba: ”Brandon Sun Bias Prolongs Brandon University Strike,” Errol Black, Policy Fix: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Manitoba Office (14 Nov./11):
The actions and role of the media in small-town labour disputes play an important role in shaping community perspectives on the nature, dynamics and implications of the conflict for both the direct participants and the community at large. The media’s role is, therefore, profoundly important in all labour disputes; it is especially important in situations where deliberate bias in the coverage provided by the media results in a serious misrepresentation of a dispute that potentially involves segments of the community. The Brandon University strike is one such dispute. (more)
Meanwhile, the strike has been going on for 34 days and counting. Morale among BUFA members is reportedly high, and the Brandon University Student Union remain solid in their support of their instructors. Faculty unions across the country continue to send “flying pickets” to march with the strikers.
$270-million pension shortfall at Dal: Dalhousie University’s pension fund now has a $270-million shortfall, more than double the figure recorded in March 2010. Dal’s VP of finance and administration attributes the shortfall to global economic uncertainty and a drop in interest rates. The Nova Scotia government has deferred the institution’s pension solvency payments until March 2013. However, Dal wants to “get its house in order” before then. The university is asking pension plan members to agree to plan structure changes to make the plan more sustainable. Noting that the plan’s structure “has worked quite well for a long time,” the faculty association president says the “concern is that the administration wants to change the pension plan principally to offload (the) deficit onto the members in the plan.” Chronicle Herald | Add/Read Comments
UPEI discontinues mandatory retirement policy: The University of Prince Edward Island announced Wednesday that it has officially dropped its mandatory retirement policy and ended all court proceedings in relation to the policy. In recent years, 6 university employees who were forced to retire when they turned 65 filed complaints to the PEI Human Rights Commission, which in February 2010 deemed the policy discriminatory. UPEI said Wednesday it would work with complainants on any remaining matters of compensation. CBC | Add/Read Comments
Ottawa appoints expert panel on international education strategy: The federal government announced yesterday the formation of an expert advisory panel to the country’s international education strategy. The panel will advise Ottawa on attracting the best and brightest international students to Canada; strengthening the country’s engagement with emerging priority markets; expanding the delivery of Canadian education services, expertise, and knowledge overseas; and promoting partnerships between Canada and educational institutions worldwide. Among the panel members are UWO president Amit Chakma (who is panel chair), Saint Mary’s University president Colin Dodds, and BCIT president Don Wright. The panel is expected to report to the international trade and finance ministers early next year, with the strategy slated to be released shortly afterwards. International Trade News Release | AUCC News Release | CBIE News Release | Polytechnics Canada News Release | Add/Read Comments
Two links of interest:
- “Report concludes McGill is using strikebreakers,” Academica Group (28 Sept./11).
- “Meddle Management: Professors once ran university affairs largely by themselves. Now they are at the mercy of proliferating ‘dean lets,’” Carl Elliot, The Wall Street Journal (2 Sept./11): review of Benjamin Ginsberg’s The Fall of the Faculty: the rise of the all-administrative university and why it matters (OUP, 2011):
Mr. Ginsberg argues that universities have degenerated into poorly managed pseudo-corporations controlled by bureaucrats so far removed from research and teaching that they have barely any idea what these activities involve.
Lucky we don’t have that here.
that have been cluttering up my browser:
- “Where Universities Can Be Cut,” Kevin Kiley, Inside Higher Ed (Sept. 16/11): Hey, Washington State eliminated six VPs!
- “Minding the Midpoint Where Labor and Education Meet,” Kevin Carey, The Chronicle of Higher Education (Sept. 4/11).
- “Under New Management,” Serena Golden, Inside Higher Ed (Sept. 2/11): interview with Randy Martin, author of Under New Management: Universities, Administrative Labor, and the Professional Turn (Temple University Press).