For over 2o years the University of Saskatchewan College of Commerce has offered a certificate program entitled the U of S Labour Studies Program.
The program was as a result of an agreement between the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour and the University of Saskatchewan. The agreement was conceived and the program put in place by past presidents Nadine Hunt (SFL) and Dr. Leo Kristjanson (U of S). It has over 20 years of success, and has graduated hundreds of Saskatchewan citizens who make a valuable contribution to labour relations, workers rights, and society in this province.
It was an example of co-operation and genuine partnership between the People's University (U of S) and the Saskatchewan Labour Movement (SFL). The program recognized that workers and their organizations play an important role in, and are integral to, a properly functioning democracy. It recognized that a significant power imbalance exists between workers and employers and that there is a need for workers to be able to study at the university level in a safe environment - without fear of being blackballed by employers and managements.
Over the past couple of years, there has been a concerted campaign by anti-union forces at the U of S to destroy and eliminate the U of S Labour Studies Program. This has been orchestrated under the false argument that a class or program dedicated to the needs of trade union members is discriminatory and has no place in a publicly funded institution.
But the true reason that the anti-union forces have been working so hard to kill the U of S Labour Studies Program was revealed in on July 24, 2007 when the University announced that they would be changing the name of the U of S College of Commerce to The N. Murray Edwards School of Business.
You can hardly have a Trade Union Labour Studies Program attached to corporate dominated School of Business. It's rather ironic that the U of S has no problem with a whole Faculty dedicated to the needs of the business elite in a publicly funded institution - but they go to such great effort to kill a program that graduates 15 - 20 students every couple of years out of 15,000 to 20,000 or more.
The plan to destroy the U of S Labour Studies Program has been on the drawing board for a long time. The actions are vindictive, ideologically driven and an illustration of the corporatization of post-secondary education.
Check out this fancy announcement: New Name - New Cards. It's not the University of Saskatchewan anymore - it's The N. Murray Edwards School of Business. No room for Trade Union Labour Studies there.