Unions protest privatization at University of Manitoba
Union workers took to the steps of the University of Manitoba Wednesday.
Six unions, including the university’s student union, joined together to protest what they say is the increasing privatization of services at the institution.
Hundreds of people held signs and chanted before noon, calling for the university to halt pushes towards privatizing services.
Union representatives said recent decisions to have the privately-owned Navitas teach international students, and Aramark to manage campus caretaking and food services, are encroaching on unionized jobs.
Students are also concerned.
Bilan Arte, president of the U of M students union, said students aren’t happy with the cost and quality of food and caretaking services from Aramark – nor are they happy about the arrival of Navitas on campus.
"We have a profit entity on campus offering a service that our university could be operating themselves," said Arte.
Protesters said unionized workers aren't consulted about the changes being made on campus, and workloads have become heavier.
"I find the high administration at the university president’s office doesn't consult very much with faculty members and other support staff at the university," said Robert-Falcon Oulette, who directs aboriginal focus programs at the university.
Protestors came from the University of Manitoba Faculty Association, the Canadian Autoworkers Local 3007, The Canadian Union of Public Employees 1482, CUPE 3909, the University Manitoba Students’ Union and the Association of Employees Supporting Education Services.
In response, the university has planned a town hall meeting for March 1.
"The entire university community has an opportunity to express their views and concerns and work out ways to move forward," said John Danakas, the U of M’s director of marketing.