Professors strike, their right

While the negative effects of faculty strikes are significant, university professors should continue to exercise their right to strike as they see fit.

An editorial published Tuesday in Maclean’s on Campus entitled “Striking professors are blinded by greed” admonishes full-time professors in Canada for threatening and undertaking strikes. The author asserts that professors are already well-paid and that job actions are motivated by greed.

Faculty strikes do cause harm. They delay the completion of degrees, cost students hard-earned money and can ruin a school’s reputation. While a conscientious faculty union would keep these factors in mind, they shouldn’t be used to intimidate professors from striking.

Indeed, professors have a right to strike as they aren’t performing an essential service. Labour disputes are messy and tiresome, but they are the best way that society has to ensure economic equality. These basic facts aren’t up for debate.

Quite different from how they’re portrayed in the Maclean’s editorial, professors are passionate professionals with wider considerations than just their paycheck. We should honour and respect those responsible for educating youth and pushing the boundaries of human knowledge.

More than anything, the author’s demonization of professors is tiresome. He does mention administrator’s salaries but quickly moves on in pursuit of the central target. What the author neglects to mention is that administration costs — as a percentage of university budgets — have risen faster than faculty pay in the last 20 years.

University professors deserve high incomes and should continue to advocate for them on an ongoing basis. Creating a money-grubbing caricature is unhelpful and distracts from other issues facing universities.

— Journal Editorial Board

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