On June 5 the Faculty Association and UBC exchanged proposals for a general wage increase (GWI). The University has proposed a five-year agreement with a GWI of 0% in 2014/15, 0.9% in 2015/2016, 1.4% in 2016/17, 1.4% in 2017/2018, and 1.5% in 2018/19. The Association has proposed a two-year agreement with a GWI of 3% in 2014/15 and 3%.
The University’s proposals are actually a little more complicated than that, with some salary increases partly deferred by 10 months, the “option” of taking smaller GWI in exchange for increased benefits, like increased Professional Development funds, and a bonus based on the forecast errors made by the Economic Forecast Council We will explain this forecast error bonus in a subsequent blog, but if this bonus had been in place over the past two years, your base salary would have been increased by .04% [four one-hundredths of a percent].
In the last round of bargaining, UBC had originally proposed a GWI of 0.4% and 0.8% over two years. In this round they have initially proposed an even smaller GWI over two years (with below-inflation increases in three additional years).
The Association’s proposal of 3% and 3% is based on the following considerations. First, under our Collective Agreement an arbitrator must take into account the University’s need to preserve a reasonable balance between the salary of members of the bargaining unit and other expenditures. Second, we know from the last arbitration that a settlement of more than 5% per year would disrupt a reasonable balance, but a settlement of 5% over two years certainly does not disrupt a reasonable balance. Third, an arbitrator must consider changes in price and wage inflation in BC and Canada. It is clear that both price and wage inflation has been trending up from last year, so on that basis, a settlement greater than last year’s settlement is justified. Finally, an arbitrator must consider salaries and benefits at other Canadian universities of comparable academic quality and size.
Since our settlement last round was not very different from the settlement at other large research universities in Canada, there is no reason to believe that there has been any change in the relationship between our salaries and those at other Canadian universities of comparable academic quality and size. Taking all these considerations into account, a settlement somewhat greater than last year’s settlement is justified.