University of Toronto Arbitration Award Released

Categories: Bargaining Updates 2010, Salary Increases

On October 12, 2010, Arbitrator Martin Teplitsky released his decision in the interest arbitration between the University of Toronto and the University of Toronto Faculty Association.

The award is of some interest to us because in Ontario, as in BC, the government has attempted to impose a two year 0%-0% mandate on all future public sector contracts but without benefit of any legislation that would enforce such a mandate. Arbitrator Teplitsky, like other arbitrators before him, has rejected the notion that such a mandate imposes any restriction on his arbitral authority.

Instead Mr. Teplitsky relied on other relevant factors such as the inflation rate and the salary settlements at other comparable universities (which he notes “are in the 3% – 4% range with an average of 3.5%”). In particular, Mr. Teplitsky notes that UTFA salaries are at “the top of the market” and accepts the argument that an award “to keep UFTA at the “top of the market” would be appropriate.

In his salary award Mr. Teplitsky awarded a two year across the board salary increase that is not less than 2.25% per year (more for lower paid faculty), retroactive to July, 2009. The salary award is a complicated design (to use Mr. Tepllitsky’s words) but he describes its effect thusly: “the overall total compensation for the two years [2009-2010 and 2010-2011] is over 5%”.

The arbitrator also increased the annual PD allowance from $1,500 to $1,750 and resolved a number of other outstanding matters. UTFA has issued a very clear summary of the award for its members here.

Members should be aware that arbitration awards depend on a variety of factors, some of which are specific to the university in question. Consequently, it is best not to read too much into the implications of this award for us. Nonetheless, this award has made two things abundantly clear. 1) The government’s 0%-0% mandate has no basis in law and cannot be used to restrict arbitral autonomy, and 2) without salary increases at UBC, our salaries will fall even further behind those at U of T. 

Members who want to read the entire Teplitsky award will find it here.