This blog entry was actually posted on December 9, 2015.
This article is from the WLUFA Advocate 1.2 December 2012.
Ramirez, Women & Gender Studies
The level of concern, discussion and action occurring in response to the IPRM has generated some hope amongst our colleagues that there is a growing commitment to being vigilant to processes that potentially diminish the rights and influence of faculty in the design of education.
And while the IPRM concern is about rights, it is also about protecting what education is about and its place in determining the fabric of our social, political and economic structures more broadly.
The IPRM is only one example of a larger itinerary to integrate neo-liberal policies and practices in universities across the country.
It is an ideological base that will surely narrow the outcome of ideas and possibilities that education normally has the potential to produce. Colleagues in other locations have experienced similar processes and are alerting us that the IPRM is just one among other changes to come that will increase administrative control over teaching, research and privacy.
The neo-liberal trend has public unions worried about their legal influence to fight on our behalf with proposed laws coming from federal and provincial governments that are aimed at reducing union powers. If passed, they will reduce the protection we depend on through our union and will have particularly harsh results for Contract Academic Faculty. The proposed new laws that diminish union privacy rights, and cap any salary increases will give administrations greater bargaining strength.
Predictions are that they will force Regular Faculty to take on more teaching responsibilities and could very likely reduce or end the careers of some Contract Academic Faculty.
Those of us without job security have been subject to enough changes to warn us that reduced union power will imperil any future Collective Agreement bargaining process.
We all need to remember that the Collective Agreement is about much more than salary – it is about our working conditions which obviously also directly affects our students.
Current pressures suggest that Regular Faculty and Contract Academic Faculty would be wise to utilise the example of the IPRM experience to build a more effective collaboration with one another. It will mean recognizing when one group is more at risk than the other.
These times are about reshaping education and we need to protect and to defend our voices and our presence in ways that also secure a kind of education that builds a just world.