Labour Historian Craig Heron on the Cuts to LAC

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Write to Minister Moore!

From Lara Wilson, Chair, Canadian Council of Archives:

In light of Minister Moore’s comments reported by CBC Radio and Television yesterday, the Canadian Council of Archives (CCA) is asking that individual archivists, archival institutions and associations, our supporters in allied professions, and Canadians who love archives to contact/write the Minister of Canadian Heritage, voicing support for reinstatement of the National Archival Development Program (NADP).
For more information on NADP and the Canadian Council of Archives history of administration of the program, go to CCA’s “Call to Action” page:
En francais: http://www.cdncouncilarchives.ca/f-whnew_2009.html
In English :http://www.cdncouncilarchives.ca/action2012.html

Please send a copy of any written communication regarding this issue to CCA Executive Director Christina Nichols: cnichols@archivescanada.ca<mailto:cnichols@archivescanada.ca>

Thank you
Lara

Lara Wilson
Chair – Canadian Council of Archives
Tel: (250) 472-4480
Fax: (250 472-5808

CCA toll free number:  1-866-254-1403
http://www.cdncouncilarchives.ca

Save the Date: Joel Westheimer on Austerity and CAUT Grievance Handling Workshop

APUO is pleased to announce several events in April.

On April 11th from 1:00 – 2:00, Joel Westheimer will give a talk on the corporatization of education. Joel is a very engaging speaker, and members will benefit from his analysis of the political and social environment of postsecondary education. Joel’s talk is a reprise of a presentation he gave at OCUFA’s Education in an Age of Austerity Conference (January 2013). It was so well received that he’s been asked to give it twice since. Here’s the description:

The corporate university ascendant?

This session will explore how the financial crisis of 2008 and the following emphasis on public austerity may be hastening the evolution of the university into a new, labour market-oriented corporate model. The session will also ask if we are witnessing the decline of the university as a centre of critical thought and human development.

Following Joel’s talk, APUO has invited the Canadian Association of University Teachers to present a Grievance Handling Workshop to all interested APUO, CUASA (Carleton), and APSPU (St. Paul) members. The workshop looks at the employer’s responsibilities in the workplace and how conflicts can be resolved through grievance.

The workshop demystifies the grievance process and underscores that grievances are ways of clarifying workplace issues. This takes the enormous negative baggage out of the grievance process and views it as one way of potentially solving conflict.

The grievance handling workshop begins at 2:30 on April 11th and runs until 4:30. There will be a cocktail hour immediately following the first day of the grievance workshop, which continues on April 12th from 9:00 – 5:00.

Location for all events: DSM 12102.

L’APUO a le plaisir d’annoncer plusieurs évènements prévus pour avril.

Le 11 avril à 13h, Joel Westheimer fera une présentation au sujet de la corporatisation des institutions éducatives. Joel est un présentateur dynamique et les membres apprendront beaucoup de son analyse politique et sociale du système éducatif postsecondaire.

Joel nous offre une reprise de la présentation qu’il a donnée dans le cadre d’une conférence de l’UAPUO (l’Union des Associations des Professeurs des Universités de l’Ontario) « Age of Austerity » qui s’est tenue en janvier dernier. Voici une description du sujet de sa présentation :

The corporate university ascendant?

This session will explore how the financial crisis of 2008 and the following emphasis on public austerity may be hastening the evolution of the university into a new, labour market-oriented corporate model. The session will also ask if we are witnessing the decline of the university as a centre of critical thought and human development.

 À la suite de la présentation du Professeur Westheimer, l’APUO a invité l’ACPPU (l’Association canadienne des Professeurs et Professeures d’Université) à offrir un atelier portant sur les griefs en milieu de travail à tous les membres de l’APUO, de CUASA (Carleton) et de l’APSPU (Université St Paul). L’atelier portera sur les responsabilités de l’employeur en milieu de travail et comment les conflits peuvent être résolus au moyen de grief.

L’atelier fera la lumière sur le processus de grief et mettra l’emphase sur l’utilité des griefs comme moyens pour clarifier les défis qui peuvent survenir dans le milieu de travail. Cette approche élimine le bagage négatif associé au processus de grief et le positionne comme un mécanisme de résolution de conflit.

Cet atelier débutera à 14h 30 le 11 avril et sera d’une durée de deux heures. Les participants seront conviés à un cinq à sept immédiatement après l’atelier qui continuera le 12 avril de 9 h à 17 h.

Tous les évènements auront lieu dans la pièce 12102 DMS.

Can Ontarians Look Forward to the ‘Right to Work for Less?’

From the Active History Blog…

by CHRISTINE MCLAUGHLIN on JANUARY 14, 2013

The Hudak Conservatives have unveiled plans to bring so-called “Right to Work” legislation to Ontario. Following in the footsteps of American Republicans, Ontario’s Conservatives are seeking to unravel an agreement that has maintained relative labour peace in the province for over half a century. This has been painted as a ‘progressive’ measure that will ‘modernize’ what have been branded as ‘outdated labour laws.’ According to Tim Hudak, the goal is to “modernize our labour laws to get them out of the 1940s and 1950s and to 2012 and beyond.”

It is telling that history for Hudak here begins in the 1940s. To extend any further back would reveal this as the deeply regressive measure it is, which would pivot Ontario backwards to a period of limited working rights with lower pay and fewer protections in the workplace.

Orwellian-phrased ‘Right to Work’ legislation would strip the postwar accord that has informed Canadian labour relations since the end of the Second World War. More specifically, it would eliminate “the Rand Formula” in Ontario, a product of deep workplace discord that led to the growth of unionism, especially from the late 1930s into the postwar period. In an era of unprecedented strike waves, the Rand Formula was offered as a solution to quell workplace strife and bring industrial peace to Ontario. This formula emerged from a 1946 Ford Windsor strike when Justice Ivan Rand was tasked with finding a compromise between management and workers. Organized workers were given security through the ‘check-off,’ whereby union dues would be automatically deducted from unionized workers’ pay. Rand argued that since all organized workers benefited from their collective agreement, they should all be required to pay into it the organization that enabled these benefits.

The Rand Formula also deeply limited union power, making all strikes during the period covered by a collective agreement illegal and cementing management authority in the workplace. It made union leaders responsible for policing their membership, and subjected both unions and members to heavy fines in the event of illegal strike action. It initially spread unevenly through voluntary agreements between employers and workers, but it became law in Ontario in 1980 under the minority Progressive Conservative government of Bill Davis.

The Rand Formula has been a subject of intense debate among scholars of labour relations. Critics point to the bureaucratizing effects of a settlement that distanced union leaders from their membership, and drew workers into a legal industrial complex that hampered militancy in the workplace. Others point to the much-needed security this compromise offered, serving as an engine of growth in wages, benefits, health and safety in the workplace, and other important services for working people.

Few progressives, however, would harken for a return to the decades leading into the ‘dirty thirties,’ when the power imbalance in Ontario’s workplaces left more working people vulnerable to abuse, old age, injury and exploitation.

Progressive politics do not unravel past progressive measures; they should enhance and build on them. Even some staunch anti-unionists will admit that unions were necessary back in the 1930s and 1940s – does it not follow that a return to this legislative environment would also reinforce the conditions that made these vehicles for worker empowerment necessary to begin with?

Supporters of ‘Right to Work’ legislation tell us we need to be ‘competitive.’ But what game are we playing, and who gets to set the rules? Are we going to ‘race to the bottom,’ becoming a cheap source of disposable labour? Or would we like to maintain our competitive edge as a desirable place to live and work, where millions from around the world have vied to enjoy relatively widespread ‘middle-class’ living standards? It is no coincidence that, like the Rand Formula, this broadly based prosperity is also a product of the postwar period; the former fueled the latter. A person’s ability to spend has long been dependent on their ability to earn.

Eradicating the Rand Formula would have a catastrophic effect on unions, and could lead to labour chaos in Ontario. As one editorial keenly opines, many citizens would undoubtedly opt out of paying taxes if given the opportunity; never mind that this could lead to the collapse of civil society. How many would not see the regressive results of these actions until they had already been realized?

The Hudak Conservatives’ proposed changes to labour legislation offers Ontarians little to “look forward” to when it threatens to catapult us back to a time when we had little to no rights in the workplace, lower wages, few benefits and poorer living conditions. This proposed great leap backwards serves as another example of why the “Progressive” doesn’t belong in Hudak’s Conservative Party.

Christine McLaughlin is a PhD Candidate in History at York University and Co-Editor of ActiveHistory.ca.

Canadian Museum of History Public Consultation in Gatineau

On January 31, 2013, the Canadian Museum of Civilization and the Canadian War Museum are holding a public consultation seeking information on the following questions:

– What would you put in your national history museum?

– What stories would you tell?

– How would you reach Canadians across the country?

Those in attendance might also ask a few questions of their own, such as:

– What’s the point of changing the mandate of the Canadian Museum of Civilization, the most popular tourist attraction in the Ottawa Gatineau area, while starving other cultural institutions such as the LAC and Parks Canada?

– How is it that Canadian Heritage found $25 million for this project when it has cancelled other very successful and cross Canadian initiatives which cost much less and were very effective, such as the NADP ($1.7 million) and interlibrary loans from LAC, not to mention serious cuts to the CBC and the NAC. Let’s not also forget the nearly $30 million that has been devoted to the Conservative government’s pet history project, the war of 1812.

To start things off.

Although one wonders how successful this consultation effort will be considering that Don Butler of the Ottawa Citizen has reported indifference on the part of museum visitors when the public consultations launched in the museum itself in mid-October. It seems more than likely that this oblivion is a result of the fact that Canadians love this museum the way it is today. But James Moore seems to think differently. Not that he has much support anymore as Heritage Minister, other than from his own party.

If you’d like to attend this session, RSVP online at http://www.civilization.ca/myhistorymuseum/

If you can’t make it in person, you can take the online public engagement survey.

*****

See also  today’s article in the Winnipeg Free Press by James, “History is Not a Plaything.”

The Canadian War on Science: Ottawa’s dangerous unscientific revolution – new post by John Dupuis

Posted by John Dupuis at Confessions of a Science Librarian

C. Scott Findlay, associate professor of biology at the University of Ottawa and a visiting research scientist at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, had a sobering article in the Toronto Star a few days ago.

It’s titled Governing in the dark: Ottawa’s dangerous unscientific revolution and it fits right in with my recent seemingly endless catalogue of how the current Canadian Conservative government is systematically undermining the free inquiry in Canada, scientific and otherwise. In the article Findlay first lays out some of the recent abuses and then gives four reasons why Canadians should resist the government’s efforts to ignore science.