Unionization on campus a reaction to corporatization

March 17, 2015

An article published by CBC looks at the recent push toward unionization at universities in BC and across Canada. Reporter Jason Proctor notes that within the last year, faculty at the University of Northern British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, and the University of Victoria have all voted to unionize. Proctor says that the ongoing strike at UNBC is not just about a wage gap, but is also a dispute over a number of issues affecting PSE, including shrinking budgets, increasing corporate cash, and a debate over "the very nature and purpose of Canadian universities." Bill Bruneau, Professor Emeritus at UBC, suggests that the push toward unionization is a reaction to the "corporatization" of PSE. As the provincial government continues to cut funding for colleges and universities, institutions have been forced to rely more heavily on businesses and donors, which has in turn contributed to a shift in institutional priorities. Critics of corporatization say that it has led to too narrow an emphasis on universities as sources of skilled labour. "That's part of what universities do, but it's really a small part," said UNBC Faculty Association President Jacqueline Holler, who notes that universities are also supposed to "create citizenry." CBC