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In this issue
- UOITFA votes for strike action amid concerns around faculty burnout
- Strike action overwhelmingly supported by University of Manitoba Faculty Association
- CAUT report calls for governance reform at Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies
- CAUT stands in solidarity with the Jordanian Teachers’ Association
- Changes to statutes at Laval University would undermine collegial governance
- Fair Employment Week 2021
- @censureutoronto hosts webinar to celebrate victory
- Upcoming events
UOITFA votes for strike action amid concerns around faculty burnout
Last Friday, members of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology Faculty Association (UOITFA) voted 90 percent in favour of striking if the university administration refuses to agree to a fair deal. The vote comes after six months of bargaining, during which the UOITFA has been urging the Ontario Tech administration to take action on issues related to faculty burnout, including a high workload, lack of mental health supports, gender pay inequity and an inadequate pension plan. The strike vote follows a Welcome Back to Bargaining campaign that the UOITFA ran in September. UOITFA President Mike Eklund says the COVID-19 pandemic has “exposed and intensified” many challenges that faculty and students face at Ontario Tech.
Strike action overwhelmingly supported by University of Manitoba Faculty Association
On October 18, members of the University of Manitoba Faculty Association (UMFA) approved strike action if their union is unable to reach a deal with the university administration on fair compensation. A record-setting 85 percent of UMFA’s members voted in favour. UMFA President Orvie Dingwal says that voter turnout demonstrates that the professors, instructors and librarians at Manitoba’s largest university “deserve compensation on par with their colleagues across the country.” UMFA says recruitment and retention issues have plagued the University as the administration has imposed government-mandated wage freezes and below-inflation increases in wages.
CAUT report calls for governance reform at Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies
On October 14, CAUT released an investigative report, which raised concerns about a “history of failed governance” at the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies (PWIAS). The investigation—led by Kevin Kane at the University of Alberta and Jacqueline Holler at the University of Northern British Columbia—looked into concerns raised by former PWIAS Director Philippe Tortell when he resigned in 2018. Tortell alleged that the Board of Trustees of the PWIAS and the UBC administration had directed him to realign PWIAS research activities and funding with existing UBC research priorities. The report noted that actions taken by the PWIAS Board of Trustees that year were “inconsistent with principles of collegial governance” including the “primacy of academics over academic decision-making”. The report strongly recommends governance reform at PWIAS.
CAUT stands in solidarity with the Jordanian Teachers’ Association
Last week, CAUT joined with other Education International members to protest the ongoing criminalization of teachers and their union in Jordan. Executive Director David Robinson sent a letter to the Jordanian Prime Minister and Minister of Education calling on the Government to end the harassment of the Jordanian Teachers’ Association (JTA) and uphold the right of all teachers to join the union of their choice and to express opinions on education policy. Robinson condemned the Government of Jordan’s move last December to dismiss at least 65 teachers close to retirement and 14 JTA leaders. Jordanian security forces again arrested and detained the leading members of the JTA in connection with World Teachers’ Day celebrations earlier this month. CAUT is urging the Government of Jordan to reinstate the dismissed leaders of the JTA, lift the suspension of JTA union activities and further reform national laws to bring them in line with international standards.
Changes to statutes at Laval University would undermine collegial governance
On October 13, CAUT joined the Fédération québecoise des professeures et professeurs d’université (FQPPU) and the Syndicat des professeurs et professeures de l’Université Laval (SPUL) to ring the alarm bell on Laval University’s proposed changes to its statutes, which would undermine collegial governance. The changes put forward by the administration will limit academic staff participation in the governance of their university.
Fair Employment Week 2021
Academic staff associations from across the country took to social media, organized events and participated in a virtual cross-country social to talk about issues facing contract academic staff last week as part of CAUT’s Fair Employment Week. Dr. Karen Lockhead from Laurier University wrote on Twitter, “I’ve worked as Contract Faculty at Laurier since 2004. I’m one of the longest serving ‘members’ of my department. I have no job security, no benefits, no pension, and a rate of pay below what Laurier recommends for PhD students employed as RAs.”
@censureutoronto hosts webinar to celebrate victory
In its first webinar since the suspension of the CAUT censure against the University of Toronto, members of the organizing group @censureutoronto came together on October 20 to discuss the impacts of the campaign. Lina Lashin, a University of Toronto student, shared that the “censure above all has resulted in a collective boost in our confidence and it's been wonderful.” CAUT Executive Director David Robinson noted that the U of T is not the only institution where academic freedom is an issue. “We need to collectively take back the university. The university belongs to us, not to government, donors, or the administrators.” As @censureutoronto put it, the work continues.
Organizing for Climate Action, December 6-12. Join other academic staff associations as we explore how we can collectively take a leading role in organizing to make our universities and colleges more sustainable.