U of O Watch mission, in the words of Foucault...

"One knows … that the university and in a general way, all teaching systems, which appear simply to disseminate knowledge, are made to maintain a certain social class in power; and to exclude the instruments of power of another social class. … It seems to me that the real political task in a society such as ours is to criticise the workings of institutions, which appear to be both neutral and independent; to criticise and attack them in such a manner that the political violence which has always exercised itself obscurely through them will be unmasked, so that one can fight against them." -- Foucault, debating Chomsky, 1971.

U of O Watch mission, in the words of Socrates...

"An education obtained with money is worse than no education at all." -- Socrates

video of president allan rock at work

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

U of O union-busting posturing against part-time profs ends

After many students (reportedly as many as 500 at a recent information event) expressed concerns that the summer semester would be disrupted by a university-imposed lock out, the University of Ottawa has backed down from its intimidation tactics and returned to the bargaining table.

See the UofOWatch initial report HERE.

It appears the university was caught off guard by a well organized, immediate and firm public awareness response from the union of part-time professors (APTPUO).

The APTPUO put it this way on a public web site:

"On April 11th 2011, the University of Ottawa Bargaining Team walked away from the government-led conciliation process and instructed the Ontario Ministry of Labour to issue a “No Board” report – which means that by early May 2011, the University will be in a legal position to lock us out and the APTPUO will be in a legal position to strike.

During the course of conciliation meetings, the Employer rejected all submissions made by the APTPUO. The Employer would discuss only one issue, which was the Employer’s insistence that APTPUO professors who teach non-credit courses in the Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute and the Faculty of Education be unilaterally excluded from the Union, thus losing all salary, benefits, and seniority provisions of the APTPUO Collective Agreement – or, that we accept a pay DECREASE of 66% for these members. This is not bargaining!"

Now the University of Ottawa has reconsidered its juvenile move and has sheepishly put out this press release: LINK. A joint statement appears to be a face-saving measure to facilitate the university's return to the bargaining table.

This episode has not exactly been an example of good faith on the part of the university employer, against its most underpaid professionals which provide almost 60% of the teaching at the institution.

1 comment:

Steve E. Noble said...

More than anything, the part time prof crisis is being dealt with by an incredible level of unethical, iron-fisted sleaze...

1. The university is unilaterally imposing a cut to the part time union's membership by telling the union that it wants non-credit profs within the second language institute and the Faculty of Education to be removed from the bargaining unit. Why only those two areas - what about other faculties and programs? All part time non-credit profs do similar things - why not go after all non-credit profs? Could there be a Rock-Berger alliance?

2. Is this a manufactured financial crisis that is being used to "legitimize" the iron fist approach to repress part timers and gut the union contract?

3. Why are tenured faculty and administrators not facing compensation cuts? If, after all, the university is facing a "financial crisis"? Should the wealthiest and most secure not be the first to cut their compensation, rather than the poorest and most vulnerable frontline?

4. The most vulnerable employee group is facing a 66% pay cut, yet are expected to do the same or more work for less money? Is this reasonable? In the corporate world, a move like this would result in the corporation being faced with severe government sanctions. What is acceptable is salary freezes, not cuts.

5. And the MOST vulnerable of all -the very people the university SAYS is its focus, the students, face the greatest penalty. May 13 was the last day to withdraw from a summer course without financial penalty. So, if there is a lockout or strike the May 14 or May 17 makes students the biggest losers - but then, that's likely how the university wants it - keep student cash and make the part time profs the evil ones in the process by being constructed as "unreasonable" - a very old employer union strategy.

The more I read about U of O, the more I wish I had stayed out west teaching at university there - so much more progressive and where, heaven forbid, the success of the student-prof relationship is the focus. Something stinks in the Land of Rock.