At 4:34 on Mon. Dec. 2, Peter McDougall, Associate V-P of Human Resources and Organizational Development, sent out a message to the university community addressed to “students and colleagues.” The response from our members has been swift. This post will contain a collection of those responses, the most recent first. Names and other identifying features will be redacted unless the member specifically indicates otherwise. Check back as this may turn into an extended conversation. Oh, and the usual disclaimer: the following opinions do not necessarily reflect the position of the AUNBT executive. Scroll to the bottom to add your own comment:
It is, I suppose, [administration’s] prerogative to discredit publicly the AUNBT and its members with tendentious or contested data. I wish, however, that [they] would give greater thought to the distress and alarm that this causes students, especially at such a delicate and stressful point in the term.Indeed, when students start talking about not enrolling in the second term I trust [administration will] agree that such e-missives are utterly damaging for the entire UNB community, just as they’ll do nothing to assist in the progress towards a negotiated settlement.
[FT AUNBT member]
Thank you very much for today’s messages responding to yesterday’s rallying call from Peter McDougall! (It certainly annoyed everyone I talked to yesterday afternoon! The contents and the timing – how stupid do they think we are?!)
[FT AUNBT member]
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++With an average salary for faculty members at around $108,000 and an average deduction rate of 45%, the take home pay is roughly $59,700 per year or $2,300 every two weeks. Given that the strike pay is $100/day (7 days a week) or $1,400 every two weeks, the difference between the actual pay and the strike pay is $900 every two weeks.Although $900 for two weeks is a significant amount for all AUNBT members, one needs to put this into context as any salary increase today carries for the rest of one’s career.Take, for instance, the next three cases for the same ‘average employee’:* case a) the administration’s latest offer (Oct. 11: average of 1.45%/year),
* case b) catching up the average on our comparison group, and
* case c) AUNBT’s proposal.Considering only the difference in earnings over the next two years, in case a) the two-year earnings increase for the ‘average employee’ would be just over $1,745 after taxes (i.e., 1.45%/year * 2 years). Conversely, in case b), the same employee would earn nearly $16,500 more after taxes between 2013 and 2015 (see FT Collective Bargaining Bulletin #6). Finally, the requested increase would mean ~$8,650 after taxes (over two years) for the ‘average employee’ which takes us part way to catch up with the average gross salary at the group of 14.Other miscellaneous points to consider:
– Strike pay is considered as a gift, i.e., it is not taxable.
– The average strike for academic employees is slightly over two weeks.
– The above data only considers the effect on the earnings over two years, the effect over the career would be much more significant. This is more so the case now that the new pension rules require longer service from each member.
– For a fresh assistant prof. the difference between strike pay and actual pay is only one dollar a day while for many librarians and instructors the take home pay during the strike is higher than regular pay by about $10/day!
– Deduction rates can vary very significantly depending on family situation. Rates range from 35% to about 50%.
– Those who cannot make ends meet because of the difference between the strike pay and the salary earning will be able to request loans from AUNBT.
[FT AUNBT member]
EVEN taking their numbers and graphs and misrepresentations as correct, the graph shows that a UNB assistant professor, even though they started at a higher level, over the years ended below the average. How this will mean higher progression beats me. Maybe they look at things upside down!!!
If he wants to communicate his position he should give the union a chance to respond then send the e-mail to me and I will read both.
Let’s look at the department where I work. One retirement generates a salary saving of 150K, assuming it’s a full prof retiring at current ceiling. A 1% salary increase for people in the dept would cost UNB something like 20K in “additional salary expenses”, according to the logic of the HR message. However, using the 150K in salary savings generated by one retirement, everyone in the department could get a 1% raise and we could hire an assistant prof at 70K to replace the retirement, and we would still have 60K for grad students and postdocs, in the first year alone, at zero additional cost to UNB.
They can add PTR expenses to this if they wish: that’ll be less than 50K, which reduces the savings but does not incur any additional expenses to UNB even if the retirement is replaced. Oh, and by the way, we haven’t replaced retirements in a few years. What happened with those savings? They went “back to central”.
If McDougall even had remote contact with the classroom he would understand that students are alarmed by the prospect of a strike or a lock-out. His insensitive email only adds to student anxiety at a difficult point in the term. On such grounds alone this email is disappointing. Of course, the email is meant to discredit the so-called “lifeblood” of the university, and enough students will see through this as they bear down at the end of a long term.
And in the end, we know students will fondly remember their professors just as we warmly embrace and support their aspirations. Students will never recall the name of a vulgar alarmist in UNB’s administration.
Hypocritical, yes; insensitive, absolutely; to be forgotten, most surely–but who among us can honestly say that they are surprised by this email?
In addition, can the VP not see the hypocrisy of using the university’s ability to recruit “top talents” as evidence that everything at the university is fine, while simultaneously shaming the faculty composed of these top talents for wanting fair compensation? I use the word shaming purposely, because that appears to be the intent of this mass e-mail.This action reflects the university’s problematic view of its employees. As I suspect most members of the union feel, I am hoping that there is not a strike. Strikes are exhausting and distracting for students and faculty alike. But, given these types of messages from the administration of the university, I will fully support a strike if it needs to happen.
It is as clear an indication as any that the administration does not believe in comparability, of comparing us to faculty in our comparison group. Neither is the email truly accounting for the list of factors that the administration would like to use in determining salaries. As I understand from previous reports, that list was much longer–and even further afield. We need to fight for real comparability, one that accounts for the professional obligations of professors to compete and engage with faculty around the world in their research and to be teachers as outstanding as anywhere else; comparability that rests on an easily manipulated set of statistics that would have professors compared to those working in professions that are not actually much like that of being a university professor is worth next to nothing. The only concern here is to pay as little as possible, in a context where UNB can afford to pay; the email speaks of being responsible to NB taxpayers, but is it responsible to create an institution where in the future faculty may well have to leave, taking their research projects elsewhere, because they are being paid so much less at UNB? New Brunswick students deserve better. While we have an obligation to be world class teachers and researchers, that obligation, needless to say, scarcely alters at all on the basis of consumer price index changes.
I think those students who are interested in the process could request information from both parties (administration and AUNBT). If UNB admnistration is interested to expose their information and position, then they could use the Universtiy website so that interested individuals access it, instead of sending emails. Whatever they use to commmunicate should also contain transparent and complete. A discussion forum or something alike would be ideal, but massively emailing students with potentially incomplete and misleading information is not right.
Since Faculty cannot mass-mail students, this action by Dr. McDougall puts them in disadvantage to present their perspective.
These UNB communications are insulting to AUNBT members!
I hope many click through to the statistical-noise plots that Mr. McDougall has posted, which belie a shockingly poor methodology (compare to the statistical tameness of AUNBT’s tracking of salaries, which is grounded in reality). Following Mr. McDougall’s data, the G14 must be managed by a group of drunken administrators who routinely swing annual salaries up and down by something like minus 5 to plus 10%, because nothing short of that would average out so noisy.
I bought into the UNB story. I’ve tried to help the University and I think my peers can vouch for that. I’ve worked hard for the province, because I am paid by taxpayers. Corporate has thanked me very much for all my efforts, recognized virtually none of them, and asked me to give more. Our President requires comparability in pay, according to our communications department, but then Corporate doesn’t feel we need comparability in workload, research support, or salary.
I’m disheartened by their misguide-issives and disgusted by their tactics. We don’t just need a strong strike vote, we need to get rid of these charlatans and sycophants at the top!
Want to see where they are going (http://slate.me/1bm05pB).
I fully stand by my inspirational profs and the AUNBT. You have my support!
The charts presented do not reflect the serious dis-investment in programs and faculty that the various UNB administrations have been involved in the past 10 years. It’s important to hit back with evidence of the 20% lag which we now find ourself in comparison with the G14.
What is more crucial is to emphasize the huge administration’s cost to the running of UNB. However, I do not trust their numbers nor do I trust them. Perhaps now is the time to question the validity of their data and their cooked books.
Lies, damned lies, and statistics.
—“Of the 574 faculty members represented by AUNBT, 343 (about 60 per cent) of the group earn more than $100,000 in compensation.” How many of these people will be retiring and not being replaced? I for sure do not make that kind of money and I work my a– off .
—Numbers are in averages. If you have great disparities between the people that make a lot and the people that make less, then you end up with $108,000 average salary.
AS JUNIOR FACULTY I MAKE LESS MONEY THAN MY COLLEAGUES IN OTHER UNIVERSITIES. (AND I DO NOT HAVE ACCESS TO COURSE RELEASES, ASSISTANCE FOR RESEARCH, ETC)
Why not target admin wages as a counter?
Join the crowd!