Guardian september-2012

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Guardian september-2012

  1. 1. THE GUARDIAN September 2012 volume 11, issue 1McGuinty Report on Post-Secondary EducaƟon in Ontario ProposesDamaging Austerity Measures ...by Amy BuitenhuisT he McGuinty government’s re- cent proposed changes to post- secondary educaƟon in Ontario,including more online learning, a shiŌfrom four- to three-year undergradu-ate degrees and increased privatesector involvement in curriculum de-velopment and teaching, promise tocut educaƟon costs at the expense ofquality and accessibility.Though the report, enƟtled “Strength- ence as being in a room with a profes- The report also suggests year-roundening Ontario’s Centres of CreaƟvity, sor or Teaching Assistant (TA) . Online learning to shorten the length of ƟmeInnovaƟon and Knowledge”, has re- classes, the report argues, could make undergraduates spend in school toceived liƩle aƩenƟon since its June universiƟes and colleges more acces- three years and increase efficiency by28, 2012 release by the Ministry of sible to students who wouldn’t oth- making use of campus faciliƟes year-Training, Colleges and UniversiƟes, erwise be able to make it to campus, round.its recommendaƟons would result like students from rural areas or thosein new ways of learning and teach- who must work to support children or While the report touts that “year-ing, and a restructuring of educaƟon another family member. round learning could add to the mixfunding that aims to “modernize” the of employment opƟons available tosystem in the hopes that by “increas- However, providing greater access to students by leƫng them work whening its producƟvity, we can reduce the lower quality online degrees could ex- they want – summer, fall, or winter,”cost to the public.” acerbate the dispariƟes in income and this strategy may limit the Ɵme non- quality of life of those who already coop students have to work, causingThe report calls for more online class- find it difficult to get a post-secondary students to take on more debt, whenes and the creaƟon of an Online In- educaƟon. It also strips graduate stu- Ontario college and undergraduatesƟtute where students could receive dents of the opportunity to interact students already have average debt ofonline degrees, to reduce educaƟon with students as TAs and instructors, $13,000 and $26,000, respecƟvely.costs while maintaining quality of ed- which provides valuable teaching ex-ucaƟon. However, it is not clear how perience important in their careers It is also quesƟonable as to whetheronline classes would provide students and an opportunity to fund their grad- or not students will be ready to leavewith the same educaƟonal experi- uate studies. school aŌer a three-year degree. continued on page 4... International Women’s Day page 3 Inside Academic Workers Conference Working Group Updates Bargaining Updates page 5 page 6 page 7
  2. 2. The Guardian, Vol. 11, Issue 1, September 2012 Letters from the BaseMessage from the Editor-in-Chief ...by Mike Thicke, Editor-in-Chief Welcome to a new year, and a new issue of The Guardian. This is an issue that we must confront head-on and make To all of our new members, welcome to the Union. I hope sure that everyone understands just how much of a threat The Guardian can help to keep you informed about what’s the governments’ proposals are. Ashleigh Ingle’s arƟcle going on in CUPE 3902, as well as about issues related to on Access Copyright, to be featured in our October issue, educaƟon work in general. showcases just how willing the University is to compromise our ability to study and teach for uncertain and marginal The Guardian has a long and proud history in our local. So gains. Again, this is an issue we need to confront, and in we’re not planning to mess with what works. However, one solidarity with students and faculty. of our goals this year is to have The Guardian reach an au- dience beyond the membership of CUPE 3902. In the past Finally, beginning this year of Unit 1 bargaining, we learned the value of reaching issue we will be ex- out to the wider campus community for support. Under- panding our distribu- graduate students, for instance, understand that our work- Ɵon of The Guardian to ing condiƟons are their learning condiƟons. The next few campus locaƟons such years, with increasing threats to post-secondary educaƟon as libraries and major in the form of “austerity” measures, will make this more faculty buildings. true than ever. We hope this will bring Current and upcoming arƟcles exemplify our expanded our message to every- mission. Amy Buitenhuis discusses the Ontario govern- one on campus and ment’s “white paper” on post-secondary educaƟon. Online make us a stronger part courses and shortened undergraduate programs threaten of the conversaƟon both our ability to live and students’ abiliƟes to learn. about the future of the University of Toronto. An early issue of The Guardian......................................................................................................................................................................................... Message from the Chair ...by Abouzar Nasirzadeh, Chair I would like to extend the warmest welcome to all of our Units 2, 3, and 4 are bargaining with the Employer and need returning and new members, as we embark on a new aca- your support. For Unit 1, we are looking to strike the Funds demic year at the University of Toronto. I hope you have ImplementaƟon CommiƩee to implement the distribuƟon had a refreshing summer and are ready for the year. of gains we made in the last bargaining round. We will also have more General Membership MeeƟngs this year, and Here at CUPE 3902, the ExecuƟve CommiƩee and staff, as will be having 2 in the Fall term. Lastly, please aƩend our well as the Quality of EducaƟon working group, the Griev- back-to-work BBQ (details at www.cupe3902.org). ance CommiƩee, and the MobilizaƟon CommiƩee, have been hard at work preparing for the challenges of the up- This year is going to be a busy year, and I hope we can work coming year. Indeed, many crucial tasks are ahead of us. closely together to make this upcoming year a success. Mike Thicke, Editor-in-Chief Jesse Payne, Managing Editor The Guardian 180 Bloor Street West, Suite 803 Toronto, Ontario M5S 2V6 Tel: 416.593.7057 The Guardian is the official publication The Guardian is a proud member comms@cupe3902.org of CUPE Local 3902, the representative of the Canadian Association of of 7,000 education workers at the Labour Media, Canada’s national UTM: Room 2111E, South Building University of Toronto, Victoria University labour media organization. Tel: 905.569.4891 & the University of St. Michaels College. utm@cupe3902.org The Guardian is produced by UTSC: Bladen building, Room 335 volunteer and Tel: 416.208.2659 union labour. utsc@cupe3902.org
  3. 3. The Guardian, Vol. 11, Issue 1, September 2012InternaƟonal Womens’ Dayand the Dream of a CUPE Feminist Caucus ...by Sara Suliman, Unit 1, Division 4O n Saturday, March 11th, 2012, a few CUPE 3902 A feminist caucus is one avenue to responsibly partake in members congregated in the Union office for a these criƟcal and oŌen uncomfortable quesƟons about solidarity breakfast, before joining the Interna- power and privilege, in order to eventually dismantle pow-Ɵonal Womens’ Day (IWD) rally. AŌer a year of intense er hierarchies and organize under inclusive frameworks.debates, mobilizaƟon, and contract raƟficaƟon, some self-idenƟfying womyn, and allies, decided to take a breather I hope the idea leaves its abstract space and becomes aand celebrate IWD, and achievements of womyn both lo- reality, especially at a Ɵme where the local is negoƟat-cally and globally. ing Unit 3’s agreement, where jobs are largely feminized and face a genuine risk of disappearing altogether. This isAs the annual tradiƟon dictates, IWD started with a fesƟve a Ɵme for solidarity, for feminism, and for criƟcal discus-rally at the OISE auditorium. A sister from Egypt Skyped sions that can only move the local forward.in and spoke about her parƟcipaƟon in the poliƟcal up-rising that eventually toppled Mubarak’s regime. Therewere other performances and dances in recogniƟon of CUPE 3902 Equity Statementthe 100th anniversary of IWD. CUPE 3902 members dis-cussed the few months that just passed, when the official CUPE 3902 is commiƩed to the eliminaƟon of discrimi- natory behaviour, policies or pracƟces that prevent orspokespeople of the Union were largely white men, and undermine the full and equal parƟcipaƟon of all whowhen the Union witnessed hurƞul acts of sexism and ho- wish to join and pursue the mission of the organizaƟon.mophobia in its Unit 1 raƟficaƟon meeƟng, and came tothe consensus that a CUPE 3902 feminist caucus is greatly DiscriminaƟon can happen overtly, covertly and byneeded. omission. We will take pro-acƟve steps to ensure that full and equal parƟcipaƟon is possible.It is fantasƟc that over a thousand members of the localjoined the raƟficaƟon meeƟng a few days before IWD. We want to work towards anƟ-oppression and be con-However, these discussions glossed over built-in inequiƟes scious of our privileges and create an environment where union members are respected for abiliƟes andbetween dominant and marginalized groups within the potenƟal. We commit to build a union culture in whichsame workplaces. Moreover, in many countries and non- equity, diversity and safety are fundamental.unionized workplaces, the opportunity to discuss workingcondiƟons and compensaƟon is itself a luxury. Therefore, This statement serves to remind us all that diversity indespite the sweat and pain that the process brought, it our society is a strength and that we must ensure equal-remains a privilege that must be acknowledged and dealt ity and equity.with responsibly.CUPE 3902 Members convene for InternaƟonal Womens’ Day 3
  4. 4. The Guardian, Vol. 11, Issue 1, September 2012“Experiential Learning” or “Privitization”? ...continued from page 1 The fourth year provides students with another year to and might disproporƟonately favour the fields of engi- mature, grow and think carefully about the path they will neering and science over humaniƟes and social sciences. It take once they leave school. With the unemployment rate could also change the type of research being done within for youth aged 15 to 24 (16.3% as of May 2012 ) more than disciplines, say by favouring research on oil development double that of the general populaƟon, it seems strange to over green technologies that may be less lucraƟve. push youth into the workforce before they are ready to look for jobs that are increasingly difficult to find. It is important to look at this report in the context of other changes occurring in Ontario. Premier McGuinty, the self- Perhaps the most pernicious suggesƟons in the report re- described ‘educaƟon minister,’ was elected on promises to late to the changing nature of post-secondary educaƟon reduce tuiƟon by 30% but delivered a tuiƟon grant that funding. Described as “experienƟal learning”, the Ministry excludes some of the most vulnerable students, includ- wants to see more private sector internships integrated ing students who have been out of high school for more with the curriculum and more joint centres between pri- than four years, internaƟonal students, graduate students, vate firms and universiƟes. While providing opportuniƟes part-Ɵme students, and students pursuing second degrees for students to gain pracƟcal work experience is impor- in teaching, law and medicine. Ontario has highest tuiƟon tant, the main purpose of these measures is to shiŌ the fees and spends the least per full-Ɵme post-secondary stu- burden of post-secondary educaƟon funding to the private dent out of any province. sector. Increased private sector involvement in curriculum, teaching and funding could fundamentally change the pur- The result of these ongoing and proposed changes is an pose and goals of educaƟonal insƟtuƟons. Close links with increasingly polarized educaƟon system where fewer low- the private sector could limit the nature of the curriculum, income youth can aƩend university, and those that can at- narrow research agendas, and hinder academic freedom tend access lower quality educaƟon in the form of online for students and faculty. courses and take on more debt. Further, students and fac- ulty are limited in what they can learn, teach and research It was for this reason faculty at York’s Osgoode Law School by what is deemed innovaƟve and profitable. turned down a partnership with Research In MoƟon found- er Jim Balsillie this past March that would have provided The province has clearly idenƟfied the role they want $30 million from each of Balsillie and the province to cre- unions to play in this process. In the report they write they ate a research centre on internaƟonal law despite pres- expect unions and other stakeholder groups “to bargain re- sure from the Ministry and York administrators to accept sponsibly and to consider aspects of collecƟve agreements the deal. In parƟcular, faculty raised concerns about the that enhance producƟvity and facilitate transformaƟon.” role of external funders in influencing academic prioriƟes, Rather than passively accept these proposed changes, TA policies and programming and faculty appointments and unions are ideally placed to push for a different kind of visiƟng scholar fellowships. A focus on this type of part- thinking about educaƟon in Ontario, as graduate students nership would only add to the trend already occurring in provide around 70% of the teaching happening at UofT. Canada: between 1978 and 2008, the porƟon of university operaƟng revenues coming from public funding dropped Despite this, not all CUPE 3902 members are convinced from 83.8% to 57.5%, and private sector funding increased of the their ability to make change in this respect, and over that period as well. many internal debates centred around the role of TAs in the fight for quality of educaƟon during last year’s round There is also a proposed push to link university fund- of bargaining. Although iniƟally holding smaller class sizes, ing to commercial outputs, by providing these future and therefore quality of educaƟon, as a crucial part of our public-private research centres with access to funding bargaining proposals to UofT, our final contract made no based on “number of firms created, number of angel in- major gains related to reducing tutorial sizes. vestments in student companies, number of new jobs.” A focus on commercial outputs as opposed to educaƟonal As McGuinty’s proposed changes begin to make their way outcomes could prevent educators and researchers from across Ontario, the need for TA unions to join the fight for exploring a broad range of curriculum and research goals beƩer post-secondary educaƟon will only become clearer. 4
  5. 5. The Guardian, Vol. 11, Issue 1, September 2012Academic workers share struggles and strate-gies at international conferencesCUPE members recently parƟcipated in two important The COCAL conference was co-hosted by the Sindicatoconferences on the future of unionized academic work- de Trabajadores de la Universidad Nacional Autónomaers. The first conference, held August 2-4 in Vancouver, de México (STUNAM) and the Asociacion Autónoma delwas put together by the CoaliƟon of Graduate Employees’ Personal Académico de la Universidad Nacional Autóno-Union (CGEU) to brainstorm next steps and advance the ma de México (AAPAUNAM). This was the first Ɵme thesecauses of graduate employees across the United States organizaƟons have hosted the annual COCAL conference,and Canada. CUPE and BCGEU academic and support staff and by all accounts they did a tremendous job. ConƟngentunions parƟcipated in the conference and contributed to faculty acƟvists and representaƟves from across Northdiscussions about building campus solidarity in bargaining America parƟcipated in presentaƟons and presented andand poliƟcal acƟon. interpreted in English, French, and Spanish.CUPE 2278, graduate employees at the University of Brit- Plenary sessions at COCAL covered changes in academicish Columbia, co-hosted the conference with the Teaching labour in the context of neoliberal globalizaƟon, organiza-Support Staff Union (TSSU), who represent graduate em- Ɵon and new forms of struggle by academic workers, andployees at Simon Fraser University. Workshops were held the culture and idenƟty of the new academic ciƟzens inon organizing, bargaining, job acƟon, coaliƟon building, North America and the world.local union democracy, and social media. Natalie Sharpe and Dougal MacDonald from CUPE 3911,The plenary panels included presentaƟons on the current Athabasca University, gave a compelling presentaƟon onpoliƟcal and bargaining climate in B.C. Adrienne Smith, the deskilling of academic labour at AU, where manage-past president of CUPE 2278, presented on the power of ment announced plans to eliminate the tutor-learnerdemocracy and organizing leading to a successful strike at model by shiŌing courses to a call centre model.UBC in 2003. AcƟvists from Minnesota, Wisconsin, NewYork, Oregon, and California offered presentaƟons on or-ganizing and the recent experiences of unionized gradu-ate employees in the US.Both the CGEU conference and the CoaliƟon of ConƟn-gent Academic Labour (COCAL) conference, held August9-12 in Mexico City, featured powerful presentaƟons fromthe CoaliƟon large de l’ASSÉ (CLASSE), one of the threemain student groups leading the Quebec student move-ment to stop the province’s tuiƟon fee hike. The move-ment spread quickly, gaining support from unions and so-cial jusƟce acƟvists across Quebec and Canada. Left: The 10th annual COCAL Conference was held in Mexico City at Autonomous University of Mexico. ... Right: CGEU-affiliated locals at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver in Canada. 5
  6. 6. The Guardian, Vol. 11, Issue 1, September 2012 Working Groups Update The new Unit 1 collecƟve agreement provides for the creaƟon of three joint working groups with the employer: a Working Group on Undergraduate Tutorials, a ProvosƟal commiƩee on Graduate Student Financial Support, and a Working Group on Unit 1 Job PosƟngs. These working groups are meant to address serious concerns raised during bargaining that were not solved saƟsfactorily by the ArƟcles of the CollecƟve Agreement. We will conƟnue to keep you updated on the progress of these working groups. Quality of EducaƟon Working Group Our side of the Quality of EducaƟon encompass. They have also been de- members of the community, such Working Group consists of six mem- veloping research quesƟons and data as undergraduate students. So far, bers. They have been meeƟng since requirements to supplement the the Working Group has been solicit- early May. There have been two 2010 report of the Working Group on ing feedback on tutorial experiences meeƟngs with the Employer, one in Undergraduate Tutorial Experience. from undergraduate student lead- late June and one in late August. ers and have met with a few under- As tutorial quality was a major con- grads to discuss their experiences. These early meeƟngs have been fo- cern during bargaining, the Work- They are hoping to conƟnue outreach cused on clarifying the meaning of ing Group has prioriƟzed involving and engagement in town halls during ‘tutorial’ and what acƟviƟes it might members of CUPE 3902 and other the Fall term. ProvosƟal CommiƩee on Graduate Student Funding The ProvosƟal CommiƩee on Gradu- Mohamed Soliman will represent fellowships. We have submiƩed a re- ate Student Funding (PCGSF) has not the GEC. Nearly six months aŌer the quest for data in order to ensure that yet met. Indeed, the names of the raƟficaƟon of the new CA, the body the set of informaƟon is correct and representaƟves from the employer responsible for naming Graduate Stu- that the first meeƟng – delays not- and the one student seat from the dent Union (GSU) reps – the General withstanding – can be producƟve. Graduate EducaƟon Council (GEC) Council – has yet to do so. It is not were only determined in early July. clear why this is so. We encourage Overall, the PCGSF has very impor- members to direct any inquiry in this tant responsibiliƟes. It is our hope Grant Allen (Engineering), Rob Baker respect to departmental GSU reps. that promises will be kept, and that (Arts & Science), Roberta Fulthorpe a willingness to work in good faith (UTSC), Luc de Nil (Vice-Dean, Stu- Despite these delays, your CUPE reps emerges from all sides. dents, SGS), Avrum Gotlieb (Medi- have developed a plaƞorm and iden- cine) and Jeanne Watson (OISE) will Ɵfied two key prioriƟes: the system Please direct inquiries to: ValenƟna represent the Employer’s side of the of fees for senior students and the FulginiƟ (ismf@cupe3902.org) and CommiƩee. balance between working hours and Wayne Dealy (gmf@cupe3902.org). Job PosƟngs Working Group The Job PosƟngs working group is potenƟal to significantly improve the sured us they will be ready to meet mandated to invesƟgate the devel- ability of our members to find work shortly. The Working Group is re- opment of a “centralized, electronic they are qualified for. quired to produce a recommenda- system for posƟng bargaining unit Ɵon within six months of the raƟfi- posiƟons.” Given the ad hoc and con- Our four members of the Work- caƟon of the CollecƟve Agreement. fusing job posƟng procedures in many ing Group have been ready to meet Please direct inquiries to: Mike Thicke departments, such a system has the since May, and the Employer has as- (crs@cupe3902.org) 6
  7. 7. The Guardian, Vol. 11, Issue 1, September 2012 Bargaining UpdateCurrently three out of four of our units are in bargaining, or will be imminently. They are: CUPE 3902 Unit 2 (VictoriaUniversity), Unit 3 (Contract Academic Workers), and Unit 4 (University of St. Michael’s College).Unit 2This year, our Local’s Victoria Univer- leƩ, Adleen Crapo, Emily Blakelock, survey the membership and developsity workers will be bargaining for a and ScoƩ MarenteƩe, along with Shi- proposals to bring to the bargainingnew contract. On August 2, 2012 at a raz Vally (Staff RepresentaƟve), Kevin table in the Fall. If you would like toUnit meeƟng, we officially elected a Robillard (Vice-Chair Unit 1 and Unit get involved or are interested in sup-Bargaining Team to begin the process 2) and Abe Nasirzadeh (Chair). In the porƟng Unit 2 bargaining please con-of bargaining in the Fall, comprised upcoming weeks, we will be work- tact Kevin Robillard, Vice Chair Unit 1of four Unit 2 members, Laura Wil- ing together with Unit 2 members to and Unit 2 at vc1@cupe3902.org.Unit 3Unit 3, represenƟng Sessional Faculty The Union tabled a 4-page pack- Sessional Faculty are among themembers at UofT, has commenced age of proposals based on findings most precarious workers employedbargaining toward a new CollecƟve of ongoing research and discussions by the University of Toronto, oŌenAgreement. On Friday, August 24, with members throughout recent not knowing if they will be employedthe elected Unit 3 Bargaining Team years, months and weeks. Priority from term to term, oŌen despitemet with the Employer for this first areas, idenƟfied my the membership years of service at the university andƟme. Following brief introducƟons, through the bargaining survey, meet- the high level of skill and dedicaƟonthe parƟes exchanged proposals and ings and discussions, include job se- to teaching which characterise Unit 3items for discussion and consider- curity, wages and benefits, and fair members. The Unit 3 contract expiresaƟon over the coming months. and equitable treatment. on August 31, 2012.Unit 4Following our open leƩer to the Col- They have also accepted language als and counter-proposals that neverlegium of St. Michael’s College, Unit 4 that protects against the use of appear, by promising to consult thebargaining has seen some movement complainants’ personal histories employer without bringing back any-- the Employer’s agents have at last in sexual harassment grievances. response, and by retracƟng agreed-dropped their opposiƟon to reason- These gains are significant, but the upon language, bringing discussionsable proposals. Unit 4 Team is aware that an inor- back to square one. As we move at dinate amount of Ɵme (10 months) last to address those remaining issuesAt issue are the core principles of fair has been spent securing them. which are of great importance to ourand progressive discipline, academic UnƟl recently, St. Michael’s agents members -- in parƟcular job security,freedom, compensaƟon for extra have conƟnually distracted from wages, and benefits -- we hope St.work (e.g., serving on graduate com- core issues by challenging standard Michael’s will conƟnue to work withmiƩees), and leaves (maternity, pa- language present in all other CUPE us to achieve a fair CollecƟve Agree-rental, bereavement, conference). 3902 contracts, by promising propos- ment as soon as possible. Bargaining a new contract requires ongoing dialogue, commitment and support. 7
  8. 8. AnnouncementsUpcoming EventsLate September Back-to-Work BBQ LocaƟon TBDTuesday, October 16th, 4pm-5pm Unit 1 Members’ MeeƟng Hart House Music RoomTuesday, October 16th, 5pm-8pm General Members’ MeeƟng Hart House Music RoomThursday, October 18th, 5pm-8pm Unit 3 Members’ MeeƟng Hart House South Dining RoomWednesday, November 21, 5pm-8pm General Member’s MeeƟng Hart House Debates RoomCheck www.cupe3902.org for more informaƟon on upcoming events.Contribute to The GuardianThe Guardian is a member-run newsleƩer. We can- Contributors and volunteers please email Mike Thicke,not operate without the support and parƟcipaƟon of Editor-in-Chief, at crs@cupe3902.org.our membership. Please consider contribuƟng to TheGuardian by sending us a leƩer, wriƟng an arƟcle re- You can also visit The Guardian onlinelated to the broad mission of CUPE 3902 or educaƟon at www.cupe3902.org/guardian.work, or joining the Editorial Board.AƩenƟon LGBTTIQQ2SA members!!!! We want you!!!The Queer Caucus of CUPE 3902 promotes any issues of discriminaƟon you’ve ex-equity, safety, and diversity within our Union, perienced in the workplace and how ourat UofT, and in the community. Local can support queer members. We hope you make it out to one of our meet-This is a posiƟve space to meet other queer ings. Watch for announcements soon.members, and an opportunity to talk aboutwhat we can do to address any ideas we have Contact Abe Nasirzadeh atfor the future. It is also a space to discuss chair@cupe3902.org for more details.Division 4 Quality of EducaƟon Working Group CalloutDue to scheduling conflicts, Sara Suliman has had to re- filled at the next Unit 1 Members’ MeeƟng this Fall.sign her posiƟon as Division 4 (Life Sciences) represen- Applicants must be from Division 4 (Life Sciences).taƟve on the Quality of EducaƟon Working Group. TheExecuƟve CommiƩee thanka Sara for all her hard work. To apply, please send your name, department, year, whyWe are seeking applicants to fill this posiƟon on a tem- you are interested in the posiƟon, and any relevant expe-porary basis, unƟl the posiƟon can be permanently rience to recepƟon@cupe3902.org by September 7th.PUBLICATIONS AGREEMENT NO. 40980032RETURN UNDELIVERABLE CANADIAN ADDRESSES TO:CUPE 3902 Campus803-180 BLOOR STREET WEST MailTORONTO ON M5S 2V6e-mail: comms@cupe3902.org

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