FT bargaining position
The following one-page document (PDF) was presented to the government-appointed conciliator by the FT bargaining team:
July 31, 2013
Position Statement by the Full-Time (Group 1) Members of AUNBT Collective Bargaining 2013
The members of AUNBT are the core of the university and its mission of teaching, scholarly and creative activity. The mandate they gave the AUNBT bargaining team is to defend the reputation of UNB as a national, comprehensive university through comparable wages and workload.
During the unit meetings in the lead-up to bargaining, we heard repeatedly that workload, and recruitment and retention were significant problems impacting programs and students. AUNBT membership experienced a net loss of 48 positions between 2004 and 2012. The administration argues that this is due to budgetary constraints. However, over the same period, the number of non-AUNBT positions has increased by a net of 84. Most of this increase was due to new positions in the offices of the senior administration.
To address workload concerns, AUNBT made several proposals, including Art 32H, which requires that salary savings arising from parental and sabbatical leaves be returned to the source departments or units so that they can replace faculty on leave with short term appointments. We have also proposed changes to Art 13.05 that require the administration to inform us of their complement planning, so that units and departments can adjust their curriculum appropriately. The administration has rejected both of these proposals without serious discussion.
Art 36B.07 of the 2009-13 Collective Agreement reaffirms a 30 year practice:
The two parties have negotiated collective agreements since 1982 that have contained salary and salary scale adjustments related to the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The Parties have also been tracking the results of these adjustments by comparing the average salaries at UNB (as reported to Statistics Canada) to a comparable group of Canadian Universities. The Parties agree that it is desirable to maintain a competitive position on the national market in order to attract and retain quality faculty in the academic staffing of the University programs.
A Joint Economic Adjustment Committee is mandated under a MOU to develop a common understanding of UNB’s place in the national market in order to facilitate bargaining. The Statistics Canada data for 2010-11 show UNB significantly behind in average salary for every rank (15% behind for full professor; 16% for associate; 22% for assistant). Our salary proposal in Art 36B.07 is consistent with a mutual long-standing commitment to comparability, in that it would bring UNB two-thirds of the way to the average across the comparison group over two years. In contrast, the administration dismisses the value of the Joint Economic Adjustment Committee, contends that average salaries are irrelevant, and indicates that they do not have a mandate to bargain for comparable salaries. They propose a 2.5% increase over 4 years, which would widen the gap and render UNB’s commitment to comparability meaningless.
The administration claims a financial inability to hire more complement or to pay comparable wages. However, their published audited financial statements tell a different story. They disclose a surplus in 10 of the last 11 reported years, with a $57 million surplus occurring over fiscal years 2010 through 2012. Of that $57 million, $33 million has been allocated to discretionary funds rather than to operating funds that would support the core mission of the university.