URFA statement of solidarity with Alberta Faculty Associations

URFA stands in sol­i­dar­i­ty with Fac­ul­ty Asso­ci­a­tions and the labour move­ment in Alber­ta, who are fac­ing attacks from the Unit­ed Con­ser­v­a­tive Par­ty Gov­ern­ment (UCP) includ­ing mas­sive cuts to post sec­ondary edu­ca­tion and dra­con­ian labour leg­is­la­tion that lim­its the abil­i­ty of unions to orga­nize and advo­cate on behalf of their members. 

Over the past year, we have watched with great con­cern as the UCP has forced a num­ber of alarm­ing mea­sures on Alber­ta Uni­ver­si­ties. From per­for­mance-based fund­ing and insti­tu­tion­al restruc­tur­ing to mas­sive bud­get cuts- their deci­sions under­mine and do great dam­age to pub­licly fund­ed post sec­ondary edu­ca­tion in Alber­ta, and have had a major impact on those who work in Alberta’s edu­ca­tion­al insti­tu­tions. At the Uni­ver­si­ty of Alber­ta alone, 600 posi­tions have been elim­i­nat­ed, and 400 more are expect­ed to be cut in the next year alone. 

The sit­u­a­tion has only been made worse by the UCP’s pro­posed anti-union labour leg­is­la­tion that places restric­tions on the abil­i­ty of unions to pick­et and lim­its the abil­i­ty of unions to pub­licly advo­cate on behalf of their mem­bers. This leg­is­la­tion, expect­ed to be chal­lenged in court, threat­ens to do great dam­age to the labour move­ment in Alber­ta, and to the work­ers they represent. 

As a labour orga­ni­za­tion in a neigh­bour­ing province and as work­ers in the post sec­ondary sec­tor, we must show our col­leagues at Fac­ul­ty Asso­ci­a­tions and in the broad­er labour move­ment in Alber­ta sol­i­dar­i­ty. The actions by the UCP gov­ern­ment in Alber­ta affect us all. Not only do they dam­age the rep­u­ta­tion of high­er edu­ca­tion in Cana­da and strip away the pow­er of unions while under­min­ing worker’s rights, their actions, if suc­cess­ful, may encour­age oth­er provin­cial gov­ern­ments to do the same. We must call out and con­demn these attacks against pub­lic edu­ca­tion and the labour move­ment, and do all that we can to ensure that pub­lic, post sec­ondary edu­ca­tion is val­ued by all gov­ern­ments, and the rights of unions and work­ers across Cana­da are protected. 

Links and oth­er information: 

Alber­ta urged to reverse edu­ca­tion cuts as COVID-19 cri­sis takes hold

Uni­ver­si­ty of Alber­ta to elim­i­nate up to 1000 posi­tions in face of fund­ing cuts

The rise of per­for­mance-based funding