Free Buzz for new labour centre

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By Alexandra Huffman

The newly-opened Buzz Hargrove Centre for Labour Management Relations will be financially self-sustaining, with even Hargrove’s salary being paid out of the half-million dollars he raised for the building.

“He’s a fundraiser and supports the direction of the centre, so it’s a very small cost,” said Ryerson President, Sheldon Levy. “It’s more that he’s giving us his time.”

The Centre for Labour Management Relations, which is designed to support faculty research in labour relations and develop Ryerson’s teaching in the field, launched in September. Hargrove, the former Canadian Auto Worker’s Union national president, is under a two-year contract as external director.

“I have practical experience. I was a hands-on president for the union. I headed all major bargaining and was constantly involved in dispute avoidance,” Hargrove said.

As external director, Hargrove will act as a liaison with people in the labour movement and companies who agree to work with the centre. He will also be involved in fundraising.

“He has extensive contacts and commands respect. He goes out to talk to prospective employers in unions and has been successful in getting companies to come in to support the academic centre,” said Maurice Mazerolle, internal director for the centre.

Hargrove’s new role has been under development since he began work as a distinguished visiting professor at Ryerson in January 2009.

“I immediately started talking to others about setting up something unique that could contribute to dispute avoidance. They were very supportive, so we started meeting with the labour movements and corporations about a year ago,” he said.

Ken Jones, dean of Ted Rogers School of Management approached other faculty to see if they were open to participating.

“The primary focus is to teach people to avoid conflict between labour and management. “ Hargrove says. “There’s a lot of people who claim to be able to solve disputes, but there is very few who are trying to make sure they can avoid it.”

Hargrove hopes to bring in labour speakers to talk to students. He also wants to arrange for company unions to hire student interns so students can benefit from academic and practical skills.

Hargrove will continue to be a visiting English professor while taking on his new position.

Photo: Chloe Kerzner

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