Term Certainty for Salary Payouts

Categories: Bargaining, Bargaining Updates 2016, Progress Through the Ranks, Retroactive Payments, Term Certainty

We are trying to solve a major problem with our proposal #3 (Merit, PSA, and CPI certainty).

The existing language pertaining to Progress through the Ranks (PTR) contains specific dates for the distribution of this money to faculty members. The 2014-2016 Collective Agreement specifies that the PTR be allocated on July 1, 2014 and July 1, 2015. Normally what would happen is that the 2016-2018 Collective Agreement would specify new dates: July 1, 2016 and July 1, 2017. However since negotiations to renew the Collective Agreement have not yet been completed, the July 1, 2016 payments have been delayed, much like those for 2014 and 2015. This delay happens every bargaining round that is not settled before the Collective Agreement ends and is always a source of considerable irritation by the members.

We have proposed, once again, to replace the specific dates with the phrase “July 1 of each year” in which case the PTR increases could be paid out even if the Agreement were to expire while negotiations were still ongoing.

At almost every other comparator university in Canada, and in every other bargaining unit at UBC, increments are paid annually on a specific date, notwithstanding the fact that the Collective Agreement has expired. Real financial damage is done to our members by the current state of affairs. Since UBC withholds the PTR increases until the end of bargaining (and for many months afterwards as Payroll slowly reprograms its system) implicit interest on salaries (and actual interest on pensions) is being denied to members (the interest doesn’t disappear, UBC keeps it for itself).

UBC has remained consistently resistant to accepting our proposal, even though it would simplify things both for the University and for the members. The University claimed at arbitration that it takes nearly a year to calculate payouts when it has to make payments retroactively.

We do not understand UBC’s resistance to this very sensible proposal. Surely it is not for the accrued interest. Indeed, in the previous two rounds of bargaining, the University paid out the PTR increases, albeit late, for the first year of the pending Agreements while bargaining was ongoing (these calculations do not depend on future general wage increases). Also, we can see no technical reason for any delay. It is hard to imagine any justification for the University’s position on this matter since we would prefer to avoid imagining that antipathy towards faculty could have any role.

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