“In deals like this, we are trading away the skills students need to succeed in the new economy for the tactics to function within a specific company.” — Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU President
Toronto (28 Sept. 2016) — The public deserves to know the details of a recent backroom deal between McDonald’s and Colleges Ontario, the union representing college faculty says.
In a letter to Deb Matthews, Advanced Education Minister, released on September 26, the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE) called for greater transparency around the arrangement, which would see students granted college credits for courses taken as part of the McDonald’s corporate training program.
New deal with McDonald's sets students up to fail
“Faculty are concerned about the success of the students who enter colleges through this program,” said RM Kennedy, Chair of OPSEU’s College Academic Division. “This new scheme does an end-run around the system we have for recognizing students’ work and life experience. The established Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) process is designed to look at which credits a student qualifies for, and which they still need to take, based on their individual situation, so each student is set up to succeed."
“By contrast, this scheme risks setting students up to fail, as faculty have no details on how McDonald’s corporate training has covered the topics students learn in first year, or which knowledge students might be lacking," Kennedy said.
Students losing out with McDonald's-specific training
Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU President, pointed out the long-term danger to the province’s business sector of sacrificing the broad education offered by public colleges for the company-specific training provided by McDonald’s.
“In deals like this, we are trading away the skills students need to succeed in the new economy for the tactics to function within a specific company,” said Thomas. “When we do that we fail the next generation of learners, and the business world that will rely on them in the years to come.”
Public should know what's in the deal
In the letter to Matthews, Thomas and Kennedy asked for transparency on the deal — which Matthews has already publicly spoken in support of — so that the public knows what has been agreed to in order to make the deal happen.
“The public has the right to know what promises have been made, and what money has changed hands,” they wrote. “These questions, and more, will remain unanswered until the full deal is released.”
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 360,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE