Arbitration Briefs Exchanged

Categories: Arbitration, Bargaining, Bargaining Updates 2012

On May 8, 2013 the Faculty Association and the University exchanged their formal submissions with each other, and with the Arbitrator, Colin Taylor. The actual arbitration will take place on June 3-5, 2013. The two parties have submitted final proposals (UBCFA and UBC) on all outstanding issues.

Each submission comprises both a brief (UBCFA and UBC) and a book of supporting evidence. They are fairly lengthy, but well worth a read. The books of supporting evidence are lengthier still. For example the University’s book of evidence is in two volumes, a total of over 500 pages (we estimate, it’s not paginated). Because of their length we have not scanned and posted the books of evidence, but members who, having read the briefs, still crave more can come over to our office and read them there.

There is no way to summarize the non-cost items under dispute. Members will simply have to read the briefs. In terms of the cost items this is a short summary of what are fairly detailed and in some cases complicated arguments:

The University is proposing a General Wage Increase of 3.85% over two years, and a retention fund that they cost at 0.15% over two years.

The University’s argument in favour of this proposal is that a) the University’s salary offer is at “the limits of its ability to pay” (paragraph 95), that the University “has no trouble attracting and retaining top level faculty” (paragraph 99), that the “change in inflation for BC was the lowest in the country”(paragraph 102),  and that, in terms of average salaries in 1997’ UBC paid higher professorial salaries than other universities with the exception of Simon Fraser University, McMaster University, the University of Toronto, and the University of Waterloo, and “the same general comparison is true today” (paragraphs 105-106).

The Association is proposing a 5% General Wage Increase in each of two years, and a number of other cost items, the largest of which are a) improvements in Professional Development (0.6%), b) full pension benefits for sessionals (0.3%), and a proposal for a single sessional salary scale (0.2%).

The Association argues that the University does have the ability to pay the cost of all our monetary proposals (paragraph 3.17). We further argue that a) the university has fallen behind it major competitors in terms of salary (Section 5.05); b) members have suffered a serious loss in real income due to inflation over the past two years (Section 5.03); and c) evidence does support the contention that UBC has a retention problem, which will grow worse if we do not regain some of the ground lost over the past few years (Section 5.02).

Both parties make further, detailed, arguments which we will not attempt to summarize.

We urge members to read these documents fully. There is really no other way to understand fully the issues before the arbitrator.  We’re always happy to receive feedback from members.