Author Topic: Ontario College Strike - Back to Work Legislation  (Read 285 times)

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Offline MH

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Ontario College Strike - Back to Work Legislation
« on: November 17, 2017, 06:29:53 am »
https://www.thestar.com/news/queenspark/2017/11/16/striking-faculty-reject-colleges-contract-offer.html

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New Democrats refused to allow the introduction and passage of back-to-work legislation meaning it could be well into next week before students can return.

The influence of conservatives in these forums have sharpened my eyes towards Liberal bias in media (thought not, apparently, mixed metaphors).  As such, it's telling that the NDP's apparent misstep on refusing to meet to end the strike is getting very large coverage by The Star and The CBC.

Whether or not you agree that these organs are going to bat to get the bat (Kathleen Wynne) re-elected, at least do yourself a favour and keep an eye out, hmm ?

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Offline SirJohn

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Re: Ontario College Strike - Back to Work Legislation
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2017, 09:40:54 am »
https://www.thestar.com/news/queenspark/2017/11/16/striking-faculty-reject-colleges-contract-offer.html

The influence of conservatives in these forums have sharpened my eyes towards Liberal bias in media (thought not, apparently, mixed metaphors).  As such, it's telling that the NDP's apparent misstep on refusing to meet to end the strike is getting very large coverage by The Star and The CBC.

Whether or not you agree that these organs are going to bat to get the bat (Kathleen Wynne) re-elected, at least do yourself a favour and keep an eye out, hmm ?

Anyone with an ounce of political acumen knew that if the vote failed there would be back to work legislation. Why the union is professing shock and outrage is beyond me. I'm fairly sure they were counting on it. It's been clear that the bad publicity was mounting against the Liberal's non-action, and the only reason they put off the legislation as long as they did was pressure from the teachers unions which contribute so much money and manpower to their election campaigns.

As for the Star, it's the only news organization in Canada, to my knowledge, which has a political mandate requiring that it support liberal, progressive values. As far as I know it has always supported the Liberal party, through thick and thin, without regard to facts or situations. The CBC of course, is the CBC. Nuff said.
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Offline cybercoma

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Re: Ontario College Strike - Back to Work Legislation
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2017, 01:18:58 pm »
If you're running a college and you know that the government will legislate the teachers back to work, then what motivation would you have to negotiate contracts in good faith? The employees are forced to work for you whether they agree with their employment contract or not. This is always a shitty move by the government, but it's particularly shitty when it's for non-essential services.
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Offline TimG

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Re: Ontario College Strike - Back to Work Legislation
« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2017, 01:56:54 pm »
If you're running a college and you know that the government will legislate the teachers back to work, then what motivation would you have to negotiate contracts in good faith? The employees are forced to work for you whether they agree with their employment contract or not. This is always a shitty move by the government, but it's particularly shitty when it's for non-essential services.
There can never be good faith bargaining in the public sector because the unions always make demands that require governments to increase taxes or cut other programs. If unions would accept that the only money on the table is money that has already been allocated in the budget then there would be no need for back to work legislation.
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Offline SirJohn

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Re: Ontario College Strike - Back to Work Legislation
« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2017, 03:18:29 pm »
If you're running a college and you know that the government will legislate the teachers back to work, then what motivation would you have to negotiate contracts in good faith? The employees are forced to work for you whether they agree with their employment contract or not. This is always a shitty move by the government, but it's particularly shitty when it's for non-essential services.

What you say is true of the colleges is also true of the union. And if I had paid tuition and dedicated a few years of my life to getting an education (which I did) I would most strenuously disagree with you about whether their job was essential or not. The particular issue the teachers seem to be most excised about is 'academic freedom'. I don't understand why an employee should have ANY freedom about how their job is done, let alone how they can insist upon it. You don't want to use the textbook the college wants you to use? Feel free to quit and go elsewhere.
"When liberals insist that only fascists will defend borders then voters will hire fascists to do the job liberals won't do." David Frum

Offline MH

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Re: Ontario College Strike - Back to Work Legislation
« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2017, 08:04:16 am »
  As far as I know it has always supported the Liberal party, through thick and thin, without regard to facts or situations. 

No, they supported the NDP at least once, and maybe twice in the past.

Offline MH

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Re: Ontario College Strike - Back to Work Legislation
« Reply #6 on: November 18, 2017, 08:06:40 am »
To be fair, we have to look at the issues in each case.  TimG makes a general case about the public service, however I heard the union say it was about 'academic freedom' which conservatives would theoretically fall behind.  But that could just be lies.

If we care enough (probably not) we would have to look at those issues.

Offline Rue

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Re: Ontario College Strike - Back to Work Legislation
« Reply #7 on: November 18, 2017, 08:10:59 am »
First off I declare my bias. I have taught at over 15 colleges in Ontario over a 17 year span including George Brown, Centennial, Sheridan, Humber, Seneca, St. Lawrence, Algoma University and  10 private colleges.

Colleges started off as vocational institutions to teach hard skills, i.e., air conditioning, natural gas piping and maintenance, plumbing, culinary arts-cooking, photography, construction and mechanical skills, nursing, x-ray technician, and places to get industry designations like Chartered Human Resources Professional.

The Colleges then wanted to make more money so began one by  one adding social sciences, humanities which their original mandate did not include.

Colleges at one point had faculty like universities that through their unions had seniority which meant, each year they would get an increase in salary and have relative job security and there was little faculty turn over.

To avoid increase in pay, the universities began hiring part-timers. Their pretense was, the instructors full time had grown complacent and were lazy.

In some cases that was true of course. In other cases it was not and what in fact was happening is the colleges were in competition with one another for students so by hiring part-timers, they could then say to the students, if you don't like these part-timers, tell us and we will pressure them into giving you better marks or we will not hire them back.

Thus the colleges implemented a survey system and when students made bad surveys, the teachers were brought in and told oh your surveys are bad, bye bye....so instructors learned, give all the students 90's, look the other way and just pass them and you keep getting taken back.

Now please understand this is the reality of colleges today. The marks mean nothing. The reality of teaching in colleges today is students show up with no pen, paper, book but with an attitude when they do show up.

They tell instructors "hey I paid for this I will do what I want". Students sit in class playing on the cell phone, talking over teachers, walking in and out late and some skip all classes, show up for the exam or test and complain its too hard.

Its at the point instructors review the answers that will be on the tests and students still don't answer the tests properly.

Colleges in a rush to expand and make money, created all kinds of faculties and then to compete with other colleges let the students now run the marking-as long as the administrators have full enrollments, and no drop outs, they make millions.

Go look at the number of students in each college. Ask where the money comes from to fund these students and what they are learning-go look at the curriculum.

First off foreign students are cash cows. Immigration consultants bring them in by the tens of thousands telling them they get a 20 hour a week work visa if they attend college. These students work 40 hours and fall asleep in class but this is how they get to Canada and survive.

The born in Canada college students are playing the system to get inflated meaningless marks.

Now if you want to use a college for vocational job training and industry designation training it works. There are also dedicated good students and dedicated teachers of course.

However to pretend this is about faculty wanting money is b.s. Its not about money and never was. Money is not the issue. Its about how teachers are hired and how they are being pressured to work on temporary contracts where they have no control over the integrity of their marks and are threatened constantly.

Its about being paid for two hours a class but expected to work for free marking 60 to 80 papers for free.

Its about being paid two hours to teach but expected to work for free creating exams and curriculum.

Its about people with PH.d's who have never worked and only know research being offered $45,000 a year with no benefits of any kind and no holiday pay. Its about hiring inexperienced people who have no idea what they are teaching because you can may them $20, $30 an hour.

The Liberals are passing back to work legislation for cynical reasons. They will pose as saviours for the students and instructors ordering back pay to instructors for the weeks they did not work.

They will set up some phony committees to discuss the above concerns I mentioned and do nothing.

Please understand you have colleges which huge budgets and mini kingdoms who don't give a damn about students or faculty or their support employees and are being driven by executives who make huge bucks turning colleges into  mini empires.

Most colleges in Ontario are linking up to universities or trying to become universities.

Many community colleges set up campuses through private colleges to avoid unions in their entirety.

What I am telling you is the quality of courses and meaning of marks is suffering in this rush by college administrators to expand rather than focus on quality education. The administrators are confusing large buildings with quality education and if you take the time to see where the profit is going its not going to faculty and its not assuring students are getting better education-its going to build bigger and more campuses.
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Offline MH

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Re: Ontario College Strike - Back to Work Legislation
« Reply #8 on: November 18, 2017, 08:17:44 am »
This brings some light into the situation - thanks.  I read your whole post. :)

It also sounds like the academic streams in this province need to be rebuilt from the ground up.  My parents pushed me to university as a path to a middle class lifestyle.  It worked, but it was based on flawed thinking.

There is/was a bias against work that had any manual/labour component whatsoever.  It's ridiculous because being a plumber requires people skills, problem solving and the willingness to make a lot of money.  Of course, I couldn't have done that as I am a theoretical animal through and through.

But education needs to take out the idea that 'smart' means better.  That will actually allow us to put 'smart' kids back in advanced streams where they can be challenged and excel, and put kids that can't do math into something that will develop them also.  I have had bosses who were brilliant at people skills, entrepreneurial whizzes and also drop-outs.

We are just waiting for the systems to collapse, but we should be electing visionaries who can start the process before that happens.

God damn, my soap box...

Offline SirJohn

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Re: Ontario College Strike - Back to Work Legislation
« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2017, 10:11:52 am »
Colleges started off as vocational institutions to teach hard skills, i.e., air conditioning, natural gas piping and maintenance, plumbing, culinary arts-cooking, photography, construction and mechanical skills, nursing, x-ray technician, and places to get industry designations like Chartered Human Resources Professional.

And here is the root of the problem. Because that is how they should have remained. They serve no other purpose. And those who take other course in them often don't wind up getting any job because of it. Colleges should be teaching pipe welding and dental hygiene, not business administration. They should be teaching PC repair, not computer programming.

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Please understand you have colleges which huge budgets and mini kingdoms who don't give a damn about students or faculty or their support employees and are being driven by executives who make huge bucks turning colleges into  mini empires.

The pay rate for executives and College and university heads is obscene compared to their skills. Most earn more than the prime minister, and certainly earn much more than, say, the federal public service heads who have many tens of thousands of employees and budgets into the tens of billions of dollars under their scope. There should be no foreign students, no temporary teachers, and the curriculum should be drastically pruned back.
"When liberals insist that only fascists will defend borders then voters will hire fascists to do the job liberals won't do." David Frum
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Offline cybercoma

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Re: Ontario College Strike - Back to Work Legislation
« Reply #10 on: November 18, 2017, 06:18:43 pm »
What you say is true of the colleges is also true of the union. And if I had paid tuition and dedicated a few years of my life to getting an education (which I did) I would most strenuously disagree with you about whether their job was essential or not. The particular issue the teachers seem to be most excised about is 'academic freedom'. I don't understand why an employee should have ANY freedom about how their job is done, let alone how they can insist upon it. You don't want to use the textbook the college wants you to use? Feel free to quit and go elsewhere.
Universities are not colleges. Academic freedom in university is very important when you have a government firing scientists for not doctoring their findings to match the “official” positions. It was also important when the American government was rounding up Marxists. More broadly, academics need the freedom to study controversial topics and come to critical conclusions without fear of losing their livelihood.

I don’t know what academic freedom means at the college level.
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Offline TimG

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Re: Ontario College Strike - Back to Work Legislation
« Reply #11 on: November 18, 2017, 06:42:32 pm »
More broadly, academics need the freedom to study controversial topics and come to critical conclusions without fear of losing their livelihood.
Of course that notion is tossed out the window today if academics want to study things that the new Macarthites considers to be unacceptable like Jordan Peterson who may not have lost his job but he has been subject to all manner of pressure from university administrators and had some of grants revoked by his "peers" sitting on committees that award them. A TA at WLU was disciplined for showing an interview with Peterson from TVO explaining his views.

IOW - I have zero sympathy for professors demanding academic freedom if they did not protest loudly about the treatment of Peterson.

 
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Offline cybercoma

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Re: Ontario College Strike - Back to Work Legislation
« Reply #12 on: November 18, 2017, 09:05:49 pm »
Yet Peterson is still employed making a good living.

Also what you call pressure is criticism and that’s the foundation of free speech.
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Offline MH

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Re: Ontario College Strike - Back to Work Legislation
« Reply #13 on: November 19, 2017, 09:32:56 am »

IOW - I have zero sympathy for professors demanding academic freedom if they did not protest loudly about the treatment of Peterson.

It sounds like college professors aren't protected if they want to do so.

Offline Rue

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Re: Ontario College Strike - Back to Work Legislation
« Reply #14 on: November 21, 2017, 02:33:04 pm »
Universities are not colleges. Academic freedom in university is very important when you have a government firing scientists for not doctoring their findings to match the “official” positions. It was also important when the American government was rounding up Marxists. More broadly, academics need the freedom to study controversial topics and come to critical conclusions without fear of losing their livelihood.

I don’t know what academic freedom means at the college level.

Cyber to be fair to you the term "academic freedom" at the college level is used by many people in many different ways within management and academic circles. Its a wide open definition depending on who uses it and in what context.

My best answer to you it could mean just what I said, the ability of instructors to not get fired because they give low marks or fail students. It can also mean the right of instructors to choose which texts to use. It could mean the right for college instructors to state to students when they disagree what something says in a text. It could mean those things. I hear it mostly in those contexts.

I will concede having taught 17 years SALARY is one issue. That's always an issue. I must confess I teach at a private college where I get much less because I like teaching and if I apply to community colleges they will hire someone much younger than me thinking they can pay less since in some professions they have to pay according to how many years you have been in the profession.

I was never under the impression salary for faculty has ever been a tough issue-its always  been seniority. Administration complained faculty set in their ways and bad habits were safe.

That may have been the case in some instances yes. However the administrators by getting in bed with students to make sure enrollment stays high was a serious mistake its made a farse of the non technical programs.

All that said, its hard to fake your competency with plumbing, hands on technical and vocational skills. In reality they all are a pass fail kind of thing. You either learn them or you don't. You can't fake your knowledge as a teacher or student. However and I say this honestly about what I teach, human resources, law, business, there is a sort of artificial teaching in the sense we are not hands on using our hands, we are more theoretical so marking becomes more subjective in assignments or we have to do objective questioning. We can't test someone by asking them to put a gas connection together.

I am sure you get what I say. I am trying to concede faculty are not all perfect, students are pains in the ass unrealistic and also very dedicated and with due respect, after 17 years in college and universities, higher education administration politics is a friggin maze of lies, illusions, territory and empire building and may I say corruption at the top when it comes to bonuses.

I also think and I am sorry to say this, a lack of cohesion between provincial Ministries in charge of colleges and universities and the federal Immigration ministry has created huge loopholes of entry to get work permits using colleges as cover.

All that said, I personally see all these issues not particular to any one political party or ideology. I have lived through NDP, Liberal, PC, Liberal and they all made mistakes provincially.

I would ideally like to see incoming students  being equipped with skills to survive in the years to come and contribute. I hope I am not seeing an unrealistic foundation and recipe for failure and permanent underclass for some with no proper skills.

Some days I see some very good and motivated students, other days I mean my Lord I can only see government dependents coming from such people. I think though its wrong to generalize. Many people who look like they are going to fail surprise people and vice versa. I just try stay positive in the face of students. They have enough pressures. I push them to be on time, dump the cell phone and study but I appreciate some of them are working long hours and have a lot of uncertainty and stress.

If I can just once a day get one student to think they make a difference in life, that is a great day. I sound more cynical then I am. I do have faith in students,  fellow faculty and administrators. They all have good as well as bad people.
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