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CAUT Bulletin Archives

April 1999

Red Bait! Struggles of a Mine Mill Local

Together with writer Kate Braid, Al King has produced a totally absorbing memoir of a union life in Canada. King retired from Steelworker staff in 1980, having come into the union after the merger with the International Union of Mine Mill and Smelter Workers in 1967. King began work as a labourer for the Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company (CM&S, now Cominco) in Trail in 1937. King was soon a key player in the small nucleus of activists who built Mine Mill Local 480 at the Trail smelter -- a campaign that took several years of near-clandestine organizing until World War II. King's account of working life in Trail, and of the life of the community, is full of incident, humour, misery, courage, betrayals and occasional triumphs -- all tied together by a terrific story-telling skill. The book is filled with classic characters that do credit to a seasoned novelist. King's portraits and stories produce riveting accounts of neglected events in Canada's social history. Especially good is his re-telling of the story of the famous Peace Arch Park concerts by Paul Robeson. But even his account of events that sound depressingly deja-vu -- like the long, compensation fights and the battles for recognition of occupational cancers in mining -- are well-paced and make for good reading. Red Bait! is engaging, vigorous stuff. It is not just the product of King's amazing memory for detail and his story-telling talent. It is also the result of first-rate editing, revising and organizing by labour historian and poet Kate Braid. We have too few memoirs of labour careers like this, and I for one am grateful for this fascinating volume.

Deemed Unsuitable

During the settlement era white homesteaders on both sides of the 49th parallel went to considerable lengths to exclude blacks from the region. Black settlers attempting to make their homes in the Indian Territory discovered that white racism had preceded them to what would later become Oklahoma. Between 1,000 and 1,500 blacks then turned north, only to find another variety of white racism thriving on the Canadian Plains.

David Strangway's Private University - A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

Canadian university and college teachers have been warned about privatization so often they're beginning to think it's a put-up job. A UBC colleague reminded me the other day about the fairy-tale of the boy who cried wolf one time too many.

Our Universities, Our Future

Our universities, our future -- that's the slogan of the CAUT's public awareness campaign scheduled to be officially launched later this year.

Saskatchewan & BC Budgets Released

Saskatchewan and British Columbia tabled their 1999 fiscal plans in March. While the prairie province handed down its sixth straight surplus budget, BC raised its deficit to fund new investment in health care and education in an effort to breathe new life into a sluggish economy.

Students Launch Legal Challenge

The Canadian Federation of Students and a university graduate have joined forces to fight against new provisions to the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act that prevent graduates from being granted bankruptcy protection for ten years after they leave their post-secondary institution.

Women's faculty awards called discriminatory

Jennifer Mather has again trotted out the tired refrain that we must do something about the "under-representation" of women in science ("Working for More Women in Science" Bulletin, February), a theme that has unfortunately resulted in, among other measures, a rebirth of the discriminatory Women's Faculty Awards from NSERC.

Black professor remains victim of racial discrimination despite appeals for amnesty

On Jan. 10 the widely broadcast TV program "60 minutes" devoted much of its time to the plight of Dr. Preston King, professor of political science and international relations at Lancaster University, England. Dr. King was a student at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee in the early 1950s while I was on its faculty. His story is really about U.S. racism of which he became -- and remains -- a victim.

Italy - A 'Trial' Worthy of Kafka

David Aliaga arrived for his PhD oral examination at the appointed date, time and place. His committee, however, failed to return the favour.

Contract Settlement at the University of Regina

The University of Regina Faculty Association reached a settlement of its academic contract with the administration on Dec. 21, 1998. The agreement was ratified by the membership on March 1. This was the first time negotiators at the University of Regina reached a settlement prior to the expiry of an existing agreement.

New & Improved Collective Agreement at Mount Allison

The strike at Mount Allison University earlier this year was resolved as a result of a mediated settlement by government-appointee Douglas Stanley. When both the board of regents and the faculty association accepted the mediator's report on Feb. 13, a new collective agreement was de facto in place for 1998-2001.

Tentative Deal at McMaster

McMaster University Faculty Association (MUFA) and McMaster University have reached a remuneration settlement that covers the three-year period from July 1, 1999 to June 30, 2002, subject to ratification by MUFA members.

Universities at the Crossroads

At the end of the 19th century, the noted comparative educator Sir Michael Sadler observed that the things outside the education system govern what goes on inside it. At the end of the 20th century, management gurus such as Peter Drucker suggest that the explosive growth of information systems is making current institutions of higher learning obsolete.

Augustana Settles

The faculty association of Augustana University College (AUCFA) and the board of the university have entered into a new agreement which responds to a variety of concerns the association brought to the bargaining table.

Waikato Merger Quashed in High Court

The Association of University Staff of New Zealand (AUS) won an injunction in the High Court on March 31 to stop proposals by the University of Waikato Vice-Chancellor, Bryan Gould, to restructure its seven schools into four super-faculties.

CMEC Report Ignores Funding Issues

For the first time ever, Canada's Council of Ministers of Education (CMEC) have agreed to a set of principles and broad outlines for post-secondary education across Canada. Their Report on Public Expectations of Postsecondary Education in Canada is a first of its kind. This in itself is commendable, as are the key areas of expectations: quality, accessibility, mobility and portability, relevance and responsiveness, research and scholarship, and accountability.