Laurentian University strike Day 7: 'It's hard to tell which side is being the most honest'
Expert in organized labour predicts more strikes in future
As Laurentian University professors walk the picket line for the seventh day, a public debate has sparked over whether academics are worth what they're paid.
But Brock University labour studies professor Larry Savage said that while some people blame the six-figure salaries of academics, it's more likely ballooning administration is putting the financial squeeze on universities.
"When a bureaucratic explosion at managerial levels in a university happens it means that they have to pay more," Savage said. "These are by far the highest paid people in the post-secondary education sector."
- Laurentian students hitting picket lines in support of striking university professors
- Laurentian University strike enters second week, administration says new offer on table
And with both sides in the Laurentian case walking away from the bargaining table, Savage said that increasingly, the academic year will be disrupted as faculty strikes are becoming more common across the country.
The Laurentian strike is the first time Sudbury professors have walked the picket line since 1989. The last faculty walkout in the northeast was at Nipissing University two years ago, when professors picketed for three weeks.
Cash-strapped schools leaning on sessional profs
Savage says one of the reasons for post-secondary instability is that cash-strapped schools are leaning more on sessional professors, who make less and often don't get pensions or benefits.
"The entire system is moving towards making university teacher jobs, bad jobs," Savage said.
Savage added that it's time for the public perception of professors to change along with their working conditions.
But not everyone is sympathetic to the professors' demands.
2nd year business student Troy Maxwell, who said he generally supports professors, has heard heard his classmates side with the administration against faculty's demands.
"Definitely students' minds are going to change the longer the strike goes on and they might start switching sides from the faculty more to the administration," Maxwell said.
"It's definitely kind of hard to tell which side is being the most honest."