I suppose there's another option. University faculty members could abandon collective bargaining and rely entirely on the goodwill of administrators, much like the situation in the business world where you can be fired if the boss doesn't like you. I suppose it's possible that academic freedom could be protected entirely by the administration and individual faculty members could fend for themselves if administrators ever abused their authority.
That's apparently what some professors in the Rotman School of Management want. They wrote letters to the President of the University protesting an imaginary move toward certification. I assume they misunderstood what the University of Toronto Faculty Association was doing because they don't read the newsletters that all us received.
Here's one of the letters from Roger Martin, Premier’s Chair in Competitiveness and Productivity in the Rotman School of Management. It illustrates quite nicely why schools of management and business don't belong on university campuses.
Dear President Gertler:In case some of you aren't familiar with unions, let me explain what would have to happen if UTFA ever wanted to certify. There would have to be a vote and a majority of faculty members would have to vote in favor of forming a union. That vote would be called by a group of faculty members and there's absolutely nothing that the President of the University of Toronto could do to stop it. It falls under labor laws of the province.
I am writing to express in the strongest possible terms how outraged I am by UTFA’s decision to attempt certification. UTFA does not represent anything related to me, nor, I suspect, does it represent the faculty of the Rotman School.
The notion of unionization of employees who make six figure salaries and have job security and protection of the sort enjoyed by professors is ridiculous on its face. It is really an insult to all real laborers who fought for the right to unionize and collectively bargain. Those workers coped with subsistence wages, unsafe and inhumane work environments, and absolutely zero job security. They didn’t have intellectually rewarding jobs in completely safe environments with lifetime job security. Collective bargaining was put in place to protect basic human rights, not to enable highly paid employees to argue for richer dental plans.
It is simply outrageous that that the ideologues who purport to represent us even raise the notion. They should be embarrassed. Sure they can say that it happens at other Universities in Canada. But when ever was that robust logic for doing something incredibly stupid and destructive?
We simply can’t let University of Toronto be ruled and ruined by ideologues. This is a fight for the future of a great institution. UTFA, when not run by ideologues, works perfectly well and creates a positive dialogue with university administration and a pleasant work environment for the faculty.
My fond hope is that this gambit is defeated by the weight of faculty members across the University. Failing that, I believe that my colleagues at the Rotman School will disassociate themselves from the bargaining unit and refuse to be represented by a completely foreign force. But in the end, if that can’t happen, it will be a sad day for me. I can’t insult every brave union activist in history who fought for human rights for workers by accepting becoming a member of one of the cushiest unions on the planet. That is not the way to live a principled life.
Premier’s Chair in Competitiveness and Productivity
Rotman School of Management
University of Toronto
The current President knows this and I'm certain that he would have no objection to a certification drive if there ever was one. Apparently there are several professors in the Rotman School of Management who think that the President of the University could put a stop to certification. They must think the President functions like the CEO of a big corporation. (But even a corporate boss couldn't stop certification, so I don't know what they were thinking. Maybe they don't think.)
The one good thing about the letter from Roger Martin is the suggestion that the faculty at the Rotman School of Management might want to dissociate themselves from the university if the faculty ever forms a union. That might be a good reason for certification. If we play our cards right, the entire school of management might leave the university.