The salt mine where I work, a.k.a. the University of Lethbridge, is on strike as of 11 AM this morning, Thursday, February 10th.
Because there’s never been a strike since the university was founded, we have a strike fund that any worker in the real world would regard as obscene. To earn my more-than-adequate strike pay, I have to do 3 hours of picket duty 3 times a week. Yeah, I think I can handle that.
So not only is the faculty in good financial shape, our executive has a pretty strong mandate. Of the 87% who voted, 92% voted yes. But the Administration seems to be dug in as well. So though there’s never been a term-killer down-tooling in a Canadian university, ours could prove to be a first.
On the other hand, there are seven weeks of classes remaining to the end of term. And I’m guessing that with anything longer than, say, a three week stoppage, the term will be lost. By my estimate that’s $24 million in tuition the university will have to give back. The university will be saving about $1.2 million a week, and so in effect the strike fund is subsidizing the university by about half a million a week. So just to recover its losses it would have to lock us out for another four months, i.e. until the fall. But by that time most faculty and students would have moved on. So I’m predicting the current impasse will be relatively short.
Mind you, I predicted Clinton would beat Trump in 2016, so maybe you should take me with some of that salt we mine.
The real losers, of course, are the students, who’ve already taken a beating from being relegated online for over two years. Can the U of L survive this? I’m hoping not. It ceased to be a university properly-so-called about five years ago. So let’s hope something of value worth the widow’s mite emerges from the ashes.