April 21st, 2024

There needs to be a better way to avoid strikes at universities

By Lethbridge Herald on February 10, 2022.


Faculty at Mount Royal University and the University of Lethbridge may soon be on strike. The main cause of the strikes is money. The dancers change, but the dance remains the same. The government slashes funding but expects the post-secondary institutions to maintain the quality and quantity of education.

Since more than 80 per cent of post-secondary budgets is spent on wages, it’s impossible to cut operating budgets without cutting positions. 

The math is simple. Reductions in the number of employees result in one of two things: increased workload for the remaining faculty, staff, and administrators for the same or lower wages; or reductions in programs and services. 

On March 30, 2021, Demetrios Nicolaides, Alberta’s Minister of Advanced Education, said “other provinces have found ways to deliver high quality education, engage in innovative research, and help to create a better society with less taxpayer funding, and I believe Alberta can do the same.” 

He went on to imply that Alberta post-secondary tuitions should compensate for budget cuts by comparing Alberta tuition rates as a percentage of overall operating budgets with those of British Columbia and Ontario. He said that in Alberta the annual operating budget funded by tuition is 18 per cent while it is 25 per cent in Ontario, and 28 per cent in British Columbia. Contradicting himself he then said, “With this in mind, the solution does not mean raising tuition to cover the difference. Tuition must remain affordable and accessible (sic).

So here we are at negotiation impasses at MRU and U of L. When Edward de Bono titled one of his books I Am Right, You Are Wrong he was describing the typical way negotiations are conducted in the Western world. Two parties assert their demands and if the demands are not compatible, agreement is halted until one party capitulates. This a winner and a loser. One party is right, and one is wrong. He points out that this is not a satisfactory outcome.

In the context of faculty negotiations ,the government has the upper hand. If there is a strike faculty suffer a loss of income and students suffer a loss of their education. The time has come to create a better way to avoid strikes at post-secondary institutions.

John Carstairs


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Southern Albertan

Bottom line…cutbacks to postsecondary education by the Kenney UCP. It is interesting to note that now, higher global oil prices, by no means attributable to the Kenney UCP, is not even resulting in reversing these cutbacks with increased revenues. Smart countries/jurisdictions, do not do cutbacks to education. They know, that because they want top expertise in every field globally, that it is good for their economies.
How much more damage are the Kenney UCP going to do to Alberta before they are voted out on May 29, 2023, let alone, Kenney getting the boot, internally on April 9th?

Citi Zen

Publish the salaries these people get now, then see if anyone feels sorry for them.


The higher half of salaries are published. There is a global market for scientists and scholars. U of L now pays worse than the other parts of the comparable job market. Lethbridge, say goodbye to your best profs. They will show what they are really worth by leaving for better jobs.

Last edited 2 years ago by grinandbearit

The UCP isn’t fiscally conservative.
They just waste money on things that their Corporate Masters dictate to them.
Meanwhile gutting/stealing from the systems that benefit Citizen’s the most: Education and Health Care.
Bloody shameful.
More power to the Educators and Health Care Workers!