General Wage Increase

Categories: Bargaining, Bargaining Updates 2016, General Wage Increase, Salary

The Association proposal remains, as it always has been, to provide a general salary increase sufficient to keep pace with inflation and the general state of salaries elsewhere. In particular the Association’s position has always been that on salaries, we should rank at, or just below, the University of Toronto. This latter goal is an important and long-standing objective of the Association. UBC is one of the most profitable, if not the most profitable, university in Canada. It can easily afford to pay salaries comparable with those at the University of Toronto. There is no financial justification for UBC to rank so far down the national salary rankings.

In terms of inflation, it is widely accepted that the only sensible forecast for consumer price inflation is 2% per year. Even the BC provincial government accepts this forecast. Wage inflation, no matter how measured, tends to be higher than price inflation on average. Of course both series are subject to significant month to month variations.

The most recent national salary data are from 2014-2015. It reveals that UBC ranks 15 in median salary, at 86.5% of the median salary at the University of Toronto. Comparing mean salaries UBC does slightly better, ranking 13, at 88.4% of the mean salary at the University of Toronto.

There are gender differences in the rankings. If you consider only the salaries of male faculty at all of the universities, UBC moves up to 13th in median salary and 8th in mean salaries. However, if you only consider the salaries of female faculty members, UBC drops to 18th in median salaries and 15th in mean salaries. The inference from this is that the gender salary gap is greater at UBC than at other institutions.

The University disputes these national data on the grounds that a) UBC provides inaccurate data to the national data collection agency, b) UBCO salary data shouldn’t be included in the national numbers because they are lower than UBCV; and, c) the Educational Leadership stream shouldn’t be included in the data either. However, even UBC calculations cannot hide the fact that our salaries are well below those at the University of Toronto, and many other universities. Anyone interested in this debate about the salary rankings should read the briefs, and reply briefs (direct links below) of the two parties for themselves.

The implication of these data are obvious. In order to keep pace with inflation and catch up to the University of Toronto, we will need a sizeable wage increase. However playing catch up is a long slow process and we cannot expect to achieve our ultimate goal in any one bargaining round.  Nonetheless, we do intend to make progress.

The Association has not yet made any proposal for a general wage increase, nor has the university. We hope that those discussions can start this month.


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