By Matthew Pearson
The Ottawa Citizen, October 8th, 2010.
The bargaining team for Carleton University’s faculty union — which includes more than 830 professors, librarians and contract instructors — has been given a strike mandate.The union has been without a contract since April and voted 88.5 per cent in favour of striking after two days of balloting.
The strike mandate does not mean a strike will take place. The union has won similar mandates in the past, but it has never actually gone on the picket lines, according to president Johannes Wolfart. The university and the union are divided on a number of issues, but the union says proposed changes to the tenure and promotion process are the most pressing.
Carleton’s administration wants to make sweeping changes to the process to bring the school more in line with the research-intensive Canadian universities Carleton measures itself against. Tenure, according to a report prepared by the university, says tenure is a 30-year, $3.5 million commitment. “The tenure decision is not one to be made lightly,” the report says.
But the union says the model currently in place has produced many of the researchers the university’s own public relations department often boasts about. Research funding at Carleton, the union notes, has jumped from $28 million in 1999-2000 to $73 million last year, and the university is now home to 24 prestigious Canada Research Chairs and five Natural Sciences and and Engineering Research Council of Canada chairs.
This is the second time in as many weeks a union at Carleton has voted in favour of striking. Members of the union representing about 725 administrators, lab and library technicians and other support staff voted 83 per cent in favour of striking last week.