While the parties have agreed on many issues there are a number of issues still in dispute. On some of these issues the parties are likely to engage in further discussion that might lead to resolution, others will have to be decided by an Arbitrator. Please note that any items agreed to at the bargaining table will not be implemented until the interest arbitration is complete. This is the twenty-fifth in a series of blog posts to discuss both the matters that have been agreed and those that are still in dispute, as well as the arbitration process in general.
While some issues, like obtaining a reasonable general wage increase, are constants in bargaining, others evolve over time in response to changes in management practice or in the composition of the bargaining unit. For example, the kinds of workload complaints we hear now include issues that were largely absent in 2006.
One of the things that has changed over the past 9 years, and has changed the focus of our bargaining proposals, is the composition of the bargaining unit. Two trends stand out. First, there has been an increase in the relative size of the Educational Leadership and Lecturer groups. Second, there has been an increase in the number of members over the age of 71 (in 2006 members were forced to retire at age 65). Tables 1 and 2 provide headcounts by group for April 2006 and April 2015 for April 2006 and April 2015. The tables also provide the FTE count for Sessionals, as many of them do not have full-time appointments. These data were provided by UBC and are not completely accurate, but accurate enough for our purposes.
Table 1: Headcount (except where noted) by Group, April 2006
Table 2: Headcount (except where noted) by Group, April 2015
As Tables 1 and 2 indicate, the bargaining unit, in headcount terms, was a little over 6% larger in April 2015 than it was in April 2006. The largest group in each year was the Professoriate (“Prof”), although in percentage terms it declined from 69.2% to 67.7% of the bargaining unit. The two groups that showed the largest increase in percentage terms are the Educational Leadership group (“EdLeader”—Instructors, Senior Instructors and Professors of Teaching) and the Lecturer group, with increases of 159% and 123%, respectively. In absolute terms those two groups contributed 65% of the growth in the non-sessional faculty complement.
Sessional Lecturers (“Sess”) declined both in headcount and FTE numbers. It is important to note that some Sessional Lecturers work only in the Fall term, or only in the Summer, so the total number of different Sessional Lecturers who are members of our bargaining unit at some point during the year is considerably larger than the number captured in a single month “snapshot”. Some, probably most, of the decrease in Sessional Lecturers is explained as members moved from the Sessional Lecturer to the Lecturer classification. Both classifications, of course, are contract academic staff, with no access to tenure. Lecturers do not even have a right of reappointment.
The sex ratios within each group remained fairly constant. The current sex ratios, by group, are illustrated in Figure 1. The lengths of the sides of the rectangular fields in Figure 1 are proportional to the number of members with that attribute so that the areas of the rectangular fields that constitute a pair of attributes (women, sessional) are proportional to the number of observations in the data that have this combination of attributes.
Figure 1: Mosaic Plot of Sex and Group, 2015
In terms of the age distribution, the median age of members rose from 48.8 to 51.3 as a result of the elimination of mandatory retirement. However the number of members over the age of 71 is quite small. Although 7.5% of members were over the age of 65 in April 2015 only 1.5% were over the age of 71. The age distribution of members, in 2006 and 2015 is illustrated in Figure 2. The median age is indicated by the “notch” and the interquartile range by the length of the “boxes.” The ends of the “whiskers” represent the maximum and minimum ages.
Figure 2: Age Distribution by Sex, 2006 and 2015
Next up on the blog: A Reasonable Balance