Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Wall government offer an insult to hard working citizens

Hard working women and men who work in the health care sector in various Saskatchewan communities are saying that the Wall government wage and settlement offer after 17 months without an agreement is an insult.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Saskatchewan Federation of Labour 54th Annual Convention

The Saskatchewan Federation of Labour will be holding it's 54th Annual Convention from October 21 - 23, 2009 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

54th Annual SFL Convention
Oct. 21 - 23, 2009
TCU Place
35 - 22nd Street
Saskatoon, SK

Sunday, 11 October 2009

New Book: Selling Out - Academic Freedom and the Corporate Market

There's been a new book released entitled: Selling Out - Academic Freedom and the Corporate Market. It is written by University of Saskatchewan Professor Howard Woodhouse.

The promotional excerpt found on McGill-Queen's University Press web-site is reproduced below:

"Selling Out

Academic Freedom and the Corporate Market

Howard Woodhouse

How Canadian universities are abandoning their intellectual independence by capitulating to the interests of big business.

In a powerful defence of the values that define education, Howard Woodhouse uses concrete and vivid examples to show how universities in Canada have been engulfed by the market model of education and how administrators have done little to resist this trend.

Selling Out demonstrates that the logics of value of the market and of universities are not only different but opposed to one another. By introducing the reader to a variety of cases, some well known and others not, Woodhouse explains how academic freedom and university autonomy are being subordinated to corporate demands and how faculty have attempted to resist this subjugation. He argues that the mechanistic discourse of corporate culture has replaced the language of education - subject-based disciplines and the professors who teach them have become "resource units," students have become "educational consumers," and curricula have become "program packages." Graduates are now "products" and "competing in the global economy" has replaced the search for truth.

Challenging the current orthodoxy that the market model is the only way forward, Woodhouse argues that governments have a responsibility to fund universities, recognizing that they are the only places in society where the critical search for knowledge takes precedence.

Review quotes

"Woodhouse argues his case well, providing evidence from several universities and a relevant literature, and showing that the problem he addresses has manifestations throughout the university system in Canada." Patricia Marchak, University of British Columbia

"There can be very few researchers in Canada who know the literature as well as Woodhouse and he draws on it very effectively to support his argument. Selling Out is a powerful defense of the values intrinsically related to universities, and an exceptionally well documented account of the threat to those same values." William Hare, Mount Saint Vincent University

Howard Woodhouse is professor of educational foundations and co-director of the University of Saskatchewan Process Philosophy Research Unit."

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Regina and Brandon based fast food restaurants accused of exploiting immigrant workers

An article appearing on the CBC web-site today exposes a disturbing story of alleged worker exploitation by a company which owns a total of 3 fast food restaurants in Regina, SK and Brandon, MB. The article is entitled: Foreign workers miffed over mistreatment.

According to the CBC story, the 4 workers were brought to Canada from the Philippines with promises of employment in Regina, and with promises of expense re-imbursement for airfare and health-care costs.

Shortly after starting their jobs they routinely faced threats and abusive treatment by the employer. In addition they were relocated to the company's Brandon franchise. According to the article the workers were living in a house owned by their employer and were being gouged for rent, paying up to twice as much as what the same home rents for today.

The company in question owns 3 Wendy's Restaurants, and is a member of the Regina & District Chamber of Commerce.

This type of situation is an embarassment to every citizen in this province, and country.

Chamber of Commerce: Out of Touch with the Public

There's a revealing article on the AFL-CIO Blog entitled: Chamber of Commerce: Out of Touch with the Public. To paraphrase, the policies and actions of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (and hence, most other Chambers of Commerce) have destroyed our economies, our societies, and our democracies.

The article is reproduced below:

"Chamber of Commerce: Out of Touch with the Public

Here’s a proposal that makes sense: The Obama administration wants to set up a consumer financial protection agency to oversee the financial markets and make sure working families aren’t the victims of predatory lending, abusive credit card practices and the kind of irresponsibility and greed that have caused our economic crisis.

But the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is putting its big bucks into preventing creation of any agency that would hold financial institutions accountable.

Earlier this month, the Chamber announced it would spend $2 million on an ad campaign opposing a consumer protection agency, and it has taken the lead in lobbying Congress to prevent new rules for our financial system.

Tough new rules—and an agency with the authority to enforce them—would protect families, their communities, the housing market and the entire economy. But the agency might make a small dent in the profits of a handful of huge banks and Wall Street corporations and the salaries and bonuses of CEOs. So the Chamber of Commerce is opposed to it.

The Chamber is paying a price for being out of touch with the country’s priorities. Take energy, for example. While unions, businesses and families across the country are looking for ways to build a new energy economy and solve the climate crisis, the Chamber is virulently supporting the status quo. As a result, three of the country’s biggest energy companies—Exelon, PG&E and PNM—have left the Chamber over the issue, and Nike announced today that it will no longer sit on the Chamber’s Board of Directors.

The Chamber also stands out as a key opponent of a public insurance option for health care—a broadly popular proposal that would offer working families a real choice in health care coverage and ensure that the insurance industry is competitive.

The Chamber also has put millions of dollars into opposing the Employee Free Choice Act and workers’ freedom to form a union and bargain—while taking money from bailed-out banks. That is, the Chamber is using our taxpayer dollars to fight a bill that would give workers more choice when they’re deciding whether to form unions. What is it about giving Americans “choice” that the Chamber doesn’t like?)

And strangely enough for an organization with “U.S.” in its name, the Chamber is hostile to Buy American provisions that would create good jobs for America’s workers.

Even as broad coalitions are trying to turn our economy around, the Chamber of Commerce is leading the movement to maintain the broken status quo that has benefited a few corporations and left everyone else behind."

Thursday, 1 October 2009

The Saskatchewan Way - SGEU

Young workers still owed thousands - Wage Theft in Saskatchewan

There's an article in the October 1, 2009 Leader-Post entitled: Businessman pleads guilty to fraud, wherein a part-owner of a Regina based janitorial supply company was convicted of bilking the business and his partners out of $130,000. If you read the story, you'll come to conclusion that this businessman was charged and prosecuted by the "Crown" (government) for basically stealing from his partners and committing a fraud.

Quite a contrast to how some 135 odd young workers are being supported and treated by this same government. I'm talking, of course about stories that have appeared on this blog, and elsewhere disclosing a situation where a Regina based restaurant, Poverino's - ripped off a group of young workers and left them holding the bag for over $62,000 in unpaid wages.

See here for various blog articles:

The most recent development in the Poverino's case is a letter which was sent out to the young workers on July 16th, 2009 telling them that the Ministry of Labour has reached the limit of their ability to assist the young workers to collect the money they are owed. You can read that letter here.

I have a question - How aggressively do you think the government of Saskatchewan would be pursuing this (through the Ministry of Labour and/or Ministry of Justice) if one of these 135 young workers was the son or daughter of the Premier? Or the Minister of Labour?