Category: Arbitration

Decoding University Budget Matters

As members who have had the time annually to peruse the University’s audited financial statements will already know, UBC had another very profitable year in Fiscal 2015, with a budgetary surplus of $49 million, of which $31 million was the surplus on operations.

Arbitration Award

On March 31, 2016 we received the arbitration award which decides the July 1, 2014 – June 30, 2016 Collective Agreement between the University and the Faculty Association.

A link to the arbitration award has been posted on our site.

Interpreting the Recent Interest Arbitration Award

The Faculty Association and the University were in interest arbitration in the middle of February, because the parties had not been able to reach agreement on an appropriate salary increase for the period 2014-2016. The Association relied on Article 11.02e of the Collective Agreement to argue that a general wage increase (GWI) of 3% and 3% was in order. The University relied on the provincial government’s Public Sector Employer Council (PSEC) mandate to make its arguments for its position of a GWI of 0% and 0.9%.

Arbitration Rescheduled

Arbitration dates had originally been set for October 20-22. No fewer than 8 written submissions (four each side) have now been exchanged between the parties. Unfortunately in the process of this exchange of submissions, evidentiary issues arose that could not be resolved in time to meet the originally scheduled dates, and the arbitration has had to be rescheduled. The new dates are February 16-18, 2016.

Arbitration Update

On the first day of bargaining the Faculty Association and the University agreed that, should there be outstanding issues after collective bargaining finished, they would meet to exchange the proposals they would be taking to arbitration before writing their submissions for the Arbitration Board. This was intended to make it easier for each side to prepare its written submissions, the first of which is due August 31. We were expecting to do an exchange with the University on Tuesday, July 21 of the Parties’ final proposals (i.e., the ones that the Parties are taking to arbitration), but there remains some disagreement about what the Parties can put forward to the arbitrator. We’ll update you when the exchange takes place.

A Reasonable Balance

In the forthcoming arbitration a great deal of ink will be devoted in the Parties’ briefs to the meaning of “reasonable balance” as each party lays out its arguments for the salary increases it proposes. There is a reason for this. Normally in an interest arbitration an Arbitration Board would take into account the employer’s “ability to pay” an award. However with respect to the public sector this concept has proven tricky. As Arbitrator Getz put it in the 1989 UBCFA vs UBC award:

What Happens Now?

In the previous two rounds of bargaining, the parties continued to meet, even after the arbitration was scheduled, and in the 2010 round those meetings actually led to a settlement, which eliminated the need for an arbitration hearing. In this round the Association did suggest, in a phone conversation to the University, that we were prepared to meet further if they thought it would be fruitful but the University’s position seems to be that further meetings would be pointless. Thus, it looks like no further bargaining will take place. What happens now?

Bargaining Ends with Some Agreements

The first phase of bargaining between UBC and UBCFA has ended. During this phase, the parties attempt to reach a final agreement on all matters, in which case the agreement is then put to the members for a ratification vote. However, if this phase ends with some matters unresolved, then “the matters in dispute shall be submitted to arbitration” (Part I, Article 9.04(b) of the Collective Agreement (see page 8). This phase concluded on Friday, January 30, 2015 when the parties signed a Memorandum of Agreement that itemizes the proposals on which agreement has been reached, the proposals the parties have mutually agreed to withdraw, and those “matters still in dispute” that the parties may submit to arbitration. We will be providing more details on the agreements reached in future blog posts.

Bargaining: Preparation for Next Round Begins

Although the 2012-2014 Collective Agreement was only finalized in late 2013, it will soon expire, on June 30, 2014. Consequently it is already time to begin preparations for the next round of negotiations, tentatively set to begin in mid-March. Once negotiations begin it is expected that they will proceed fairly intensively until either a new Collective Agreement, or impasse, is reached. Our expectation is that if the University is willing and able to negotiate a Collective Agreement without recourse to an Arbitrator, it will be done by mid-June.

UBC Has the Money – Don’t Be Fooled by the Messaging

You will have noticed increases on your October 15 paycheque, as the University paid out the salary increases they owed you for 2012-2013. The increases they owe you for 2013-2014 will likely start to show up on the December 15 paycheque.

What the Arbitrator Ruled, and Why

On July 25, 2013, the Faculty Association and the University sent out a joint memorandum describing the details of the arbitration award for the years 2012 – 2014. We also linked to the actual award so that members could read it in its entirety. However many members have found the entire award a bit much to internalize and have asked us for a short, non-technical, explanation of the reasoning behind the salary settlement. Here it is.

What the Arbitrator Ruled in Bargaining 2012, and Why

On July 25, 2013, the Faculty Association and the University sent out a joint memorandum describing the details of the arbitration award for the years 2012 – 2014. We also linked to the actual award so that members could read it in its entirety. However many members have found the entire award a bit much to internalize and have asked us for a short, non-technical, explanation of the reasoning behind the salary settlement. Here it is.

Interest Arbitration Award: Joint Message from Provosts and Faculty Association to UBC Faculty Members

Yesterday we received the award of Arbitrator Colin Taylor Q.C. which decides the July 1, 2012 – June 30, 2014 Collective Agreement between the University and the Faculty Association.

Arbitration Update

The interest arbitration to resolve the dispute between the Faculty Association and the University about the terms of the 2012-14 Collective Agreement finished on Wednesday, June 5, although the arbitrator asked for additional information, which was supplied last week.

Arbitration Reply Submissions Exchanged

On May 24, 2013, the Faculty Association and the University exchanged their formal reply submissions with each other (UBCFA and UBC), and with the Arbitrator, Colin Taylor.

Arbitration Briefs Exchanged

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.

Arbitration Rescheduled – The Real Story

Message from Nancy Langton, UBCFA President

Members will recall that the Association and UBC were scheduled to begin five days of mediation-arbitration this week. Unfortunately, the Arbitrator, Colin Taylor, became ill and had to cancel the dates at the last moment. This was a very disappointing development, but clearly not one either party had any control over.

Bargaining Resumes

After a long hiatus over the summer, negotiations between the Faculty Association and the University have resumed. As we noted in our June 28 blog, our intention was to set arbitration dates before resuming. The parties have agreed on a date for binding interest arbitration with arbitrator Colin Taylor.

Negotiations on Hiatus until October

When negotiations between UBC and the Faculty Association began on February 14, the parties set the third week in June as the date when we would take a hiatus, if necessary.

Bargaining: How the Process Unfolds

Negotiating for a new Collective Agreement began in earnest on February 14, when the Faculty Association proposals and the University proposals were exchanged.