New feature

Members’ chalkboard

The place where AUNBT members can let loose. Please send us your comments.

Reactions to threat to deny members medical benefits in the event of a strike:

lifeblood


Top_employer

On the administration’s most recent bargaining update:

A member:
A frog was at the bottom of a 20 ft. well. A self-proclaimed HR expert offfered the frog a deal: “I will provide steps that will take you up by 2% every year the same percentage as the increase in the height of the wall. That should get you out soon!”

PS: The bottom of the well is in no way intended to signify that UNB salaries are at the bottom of comparable universitiess.That is a mere coincidence.


A member:
Hi. I saw the charts from UNB where in they present how much their their offer is including PTRs . Honesty demands a similar comparative number for other universities with their PTR included too. And decency demands a mention that the president’s pay goes up by 8% and the value of the old presidential house is just sufficient to meet the maintenance costs of the new mansion.

But then presidential pay is dealt from a different deck, I guess. Oops! I am not talking about the cost of the deck!


Gopalan Srinivasan:
I see the the chart that UNB provides to show that their offer is competitive to the comparison group. I urge the negotiaing committee to accept the average increases with one MINOR condition: on July 1 an adjustment will be made to bring the level of UNB salries to the average of comparable universities. Going forward increases are the average increase of comparables in their recent agreement.

Oh! one more minor adjustment. AS UNB rightly points out that NB inflation is higher, an inflation adjustment can be added. This could be negative in future contracts.


Here to start us off are the artistic stylings of our own Brian Lowry:

UNB_moneybags

Tags:

Categories: Communication

46 Comments on “New feature”

  1. Anonymous
    January 23, 2014 at 8:36 pm #

    Just posted this comment on another site, thought you might appreciate a slightly touched up version:

    “Cost of living” is a bit of a misnomer, especially when used to evaluate how expensive it is to reside in New Brunswick.

    For one, we have among the highest HST amounts in Canada, particularly higher than some of the provinces of comparable universities.

    Secondly, we have the absurd regulations on vehicle inspections. Most residents of NB will agree that they pay high prices to have their vehicles “pass” these inspections. Upwards of $500 yearly is a healthy average. These are also uncommon across Canada.

    Thirdly, life staples such as dairy products, gasoline, meat, and eggs etc. cost more. Not only more however, but needlessly more, especially compared to both the proximity of these resources, such as oil refineries and farms, and the costs of these important staples in other areas with a similar proximity.

    Ask anyone who lives in New Brunswick: insurance, health costs, universal fees, groceries, restaurants and food in general, all of these are higher, especially in comparison to the averages wages of most middle class residents. Illnesses and health issues such as Autism, Crohn’s Disease, injuries from vehicular accidents, are all more common in New Brunswick. We have one of the highest rates of Crohn’s Disease in the country, and that costs money to deal with, not to mention the failings of insurance options such as Blue Cross.

    New Brunswick is a poor province for a reason, and there’s no need of it.

    If the AUNBT union is able to successfully negotiate for higher wages so will other unions be able to, and that will be better for everyone across this province.

  2. Anonymous
    January 23, 2014 at 6:28 pm #

    We know UNB hired a private security company, any way of finding out if they hired some type of strike-related public relations group as well? There’s an awful lot of anti-union propaganda out there now.

    AUNBT needs to remind the public that Mr. Campbell is no longer in the province and that he abandoned his job. It’s not the union side of the negotiations that turned tail and fled in the heat of battle…

  3. cbcfan
    January 20, 2014 at 11:55 pm #

    Student Hardships Due to UNB Strike

    Rather than UNB students getting consumed in what UNB is offering and what AUNBT is asking for, showing a satisfaction or lack thereof of, of the numbers that are confusing even to economists, why not consolidate their voices to convince the UNB president (Mr. Campbell) to get back to the negotiating table (since right now it is in his hands to give his negotiating team a mandate to negotiate, and AUNBT is ready on a moment’s notice)? This is imperative for many reasons, one of which is avoidance of extension of the semester and its impact on student loans, student Summer work, among a number of other things.
    1) If the semester is extended, students with a loan to cover their expenses for around 4 months will have to last them for longer, thus causing living expense hardships.

    2) Some students on the student loan program will have a shorter Summer to work, thus will save less money for the year after.
    3) Some students will be on a work term starting around May 1, 2014. If the term is extended, they will have to work and write exams at the same time. This is counter productive and maybe difficult for many, and students could lose their summer jobs.

    UNB president should be thinking of how much of a hardship this is causing students, and to stop trying to make and save money off the backs of students, professors, and support staff.

  4. Anonymous
    January 19, 2014 at 6:49 pm #

    Telegraph Journal: “Crunching Numbers from the UNB labour dispute”
    (apparently not available online?)

    I read everything from the Telegraph Journal through the lens of realizing it’s an “owned” portion of the media, and thus is possibly quietly pushing public opinion toward agreeing with whatever new money-making stunt might be getting cooked up behind the scenes.
    Either that, or, at least, pushing the public toward accepting the “new normal” as normal.

    I found there was a lot of (non-literal) “buts” in this article.
    As an example: a racist will say “I accept people of colour, but…” and then say something typically insulting and racist. Or a misogynist might say “I accept feminism, but…” and then say something misogynistic.
    There were definitely some “buts” like that in this.

    I was particularly disturbed by the author’s implication that there were “too many” universities being supported by the provincial government. What idea are they pushing? I’m hoping it isn’t full privatization.

    It’s a shame that the yearly Psychic Fair didn’t coincide with this strike, consulting a fortune teller appears to be the only way to tell what UNB might be planning to do.

    • Just interested
      January 20, 2014 at 8:56 pm #

      How can I get to read the article? Could you share the article? I don’t subscribe to TJ.

  5. me
    January 19, 2014 at 6:23 pm #

    Anyone have any information on the supposed intimidation of students by the hired security goons? I’ve heard it rumoured, but nothing more.

    • January 19, 2014 at 6:29 pm #

      Yes.

      • me
        January 19, 2014 at 7:02 pm #

        Any idea where we might find it? Or could you elaborate on what happened? It is very disturbing news.

        Also, I don’t mean to offend anyone here with my comments, I assume this is a forum where dissenting views are welcome.

      • January 19, 2014 at 7:07 pm #

        Sorry! Don’t mean to be cryptic. But I don’t want to expose anyone. We had a communication confirming the report.

      • me
        January 19, 2014 at 7:34 pm #

        I completely understand, thank you very much for the link.

  6. me
    January 19, 2014 at 8:22 am #

    Right now there is a very real threat that student assistants at the libraries will lose their hours. Will we be compensated in as generous a fashion as your union members? If this loss of work happens it will be the final proof that students are the only people getting a raw deal here. We are being used, I don’t care what any of you have to say otherwise.

    • me
      January 19, 2014 at 12:04 pm #

      They were only guaranteed the first week, but there is no indication at the moment that shifts will end for SA’s. I did not mean to imply that it was a done deal, just that it is a very real possibility if people aren’t using the library.

    • Anonymous
      January 19, 2014 at 6:13 pm #

      Are you talking about losing hours during the strike, or in general?

      Either way, it’s the university’s administration that makes those kind of decisions. Have no doubt that every decision they make is being confidently guided toward making them look hard-done-by with regard to the strike, or a wage increase, as well as attempting to turn students against the AUNBT, and thus influence the union into caving faster.

      • me
        January 19, 2014 at 6:20 pm #

        Just during the strike (and, again, only a vague possibility) but apparently their positions are safe at the moment.

        As to the rest of your comment, I do not agree with admin or the union. Take the 9.5% (or screw students over more for the 12.5% you’ll eventually settle on) and be happy you get anything. People will not have sympathy for 6 figure salaries (even though that is only one of many issues it is what regular folks will focus on whether you like it or not) and the drive for comparability just makes you all seem detached from reality.

        I do not blindly follow admin propaganda, I think all sides are messing this up, except the students and support staff.

      • me
        January 19, 2014 at 6:25 pm #

        And hopefully the admin will unlock those frozen funds to boost salaries instead of bleeding students dry for it. Perhaps they could invest in decent classrooms and more asbestos removal as well, and while their at it, maybe reduce our fees (ha! like that will ever be a priority). Again, I think both sides are foolish, not just the union.

      • Me
        January 19, 2014 at 8:37 pm #

        I think we heard enough about those 6 figure salaries (They have been posted on the UNB site as part of salary disclosure across the country. Are we now surprised?)

        Comparison with others?? Isn’t that what negotiation is about? Isn’t that what UNB used to justify the president’s salary? See for yourself:

        http://thebruns.ca/the-breakdown-a-look-into-the-earnings-of-unbs-highest-paid-employees/

        It is time to stop our ignorance and support the rights of one of the most human capitals of this province: its professors.

      • me
        January 19, 2014 at 10:11 pm #

        Interesting name choice.

        Like I said, many people will not move past the fact that 6 figure salaries are walking a picket line. It will seem absurd regardless of the other, more pressing, concerns behind the action.

        I’m not sure that this type of comparison is what most negotiations are about… but, of course, I may be horribly wrong here… and I also don’t agree with the president’s raise in pay. It would also appear that negotiations are about using a particular group as pawns. Maybe students can negotiate to get their $50/day tuition reimbursed regardless of the length of the strike.

        I don’t think you should elevate professors to the level you did in your last sentence en masse. Some are certainly important enough to merit it, but many should not even be in a classroom (and likely wouldn’t be were it not for tenure). I don’t really get what you were saying though. They have every right to strike, but you have to allow for people to voice frustrations, concerns, etc.

        I think I’ve made it clear that both sides are not winning over a majority of the public (or the student body from what I’ve been hearing) and we aren’t all running on ignorance… though some are, as they always do.

        I just hope this can end soon… It shouldn’t have happened in the first place, in my opinion, and the blame lies on both sides of the line.

      • Me
        January 19, 2014 at 11:27 pm #

        Thank you (I spell ME as Me, and you spell it as me).

        What is important is to think of those 6 figure hard workers as the burning candles who are willing to put those figures on the line to fight for principles, equity, and rights. PLEASE think about this carefully. I started my career with 32K per year, and spent 25 years making 6 figures. My children hardly know me because I was working 7 days/wk, at least 15hrs/day to get promoted and tenured. I can argue that this strike does not help me personally financially, but I am part of the collective which I respect and honour. In solidarity I stand with my brothers and sisters to change the fate of workers in NB. We are part of this community, and builders of it in all aspects. We as faculty have more impact on NB than any other body. We are the most important human capital in NB and OUR STUDENTS ARE THE NEXT MOST IMPORTANT HUMAN CAPITAL here and around the world. I understand that individuals have had a “bad” faculty member, but let us be realistic here: “BAD” is sometimes due to perception. While we can not meet the expectations of everyone, usually the bad ones over a stretch of 6 years do not get tenured.

        This is the time of solidarity. Students who have not already done so are urged to join us for what is right when it comes to the academic life. We want future professors to have better than what we have had in order to SERVE STUDENTS BETTER.

        I invite you to join me (or any of my colleagues) for a coffee on the picket line and chat with them about what is important for students, faculty, the community, and more importantly for the HIGHER EDUCATION SYSTEM (for which we devoted our lives).

      • me
        January 20, 2014 at 12:03 am #

        Thank you for your reply. I see you have very inflated sense of how valuable professors are in the world. I won’t continue this conversation since you deflect everything and paint all professors as being infallible. Believe what you want. I and the vast majority of people I speak with will do the same.

        As an aside, I find it very disturbing when people choose to sacrifice their relationship to their children for professional goals (I have a child myself, and have worked many long hours for many long years). Dedication is to be admired traditionally, but this makes no sense to me. I don’t mean to offend at all, but since you brought it up…

        Good luck with everything. I hope all sides come out with less than what they want, but something more than nothing.

  7. Hats Off
    January 18, 2014 at 2:31 pm #

    Hats off to drivers of UPS and PUROLATOR unionized workers for refusing to cross the AUNBT picket line.

    • Anonymous
      January 19, 2014 at 2:50 am #

      Indeed! If AUNBT could get some other unions to feel simarly, you could definitely shake up the status quo for Eddy & the Admin.

  8. Bill Parenteau
    January 17, 2014 at 7:00 pm #

    Just when I thought the UNB administration had reached its peak in terms of issuing disingenuous statements and information, along comes Peter McDougall to launch another of his patented stink bombs. After threatening to cut off our health care benefits and take away the university contribution to parental leave, we find that they have had an abrupt change of heart. Evidently, they hired a private security firm from outside the province to protect the safety of our members on the picket lines. And so nice him to indicate that he is confident that the members will be professional and respectful; but, there is a risk that others might not be. I guess I’m not clear on who might be disrespected and who the others are that would act in a disrespectful manner. Sure, there is the chance that our supporters will bring too many cookies and Tim Bits to people who should be watching their calories; however, if people who have already paid there fees to the Currie Centre were allowed on campus to exercise we could address that problem.

    Thanks so much benevolent administrators. That’s truly progressive thinking. I feel a lot safer now that there are guys in SWAT uniforms taking pictures of me and asking colleagues for personal information. Hey, maybe you can get these guys to do a proper job of clearing the ice off of the sidewalks before one of our members suffers a head injury.

    • January 17, 2014 at 9:49 pm #

      I know. If I wore dentures, I would have swallowed my teeth.

    • Anonymous
      January 17, 2014 at 11:23 pm #

      As I understand it, the private security is to protect UNB property. Convenient then that Stinky Eddy’s own house is protected by this shiny new security squad. Is he afraid his new deck might get egged? Or toilet papered?

  9. Rickey Dubay
    January 17, 2014 at 5:12 pm #

    The administration would like to make the public think we are overpaid and not tell the full story of what we do. Profs teach, do research which includes a host of things such as writing journals, supervising grad. students, reading theses, supervising senior projects, writing grant applications and a host of other things. Also, there are administrative duties. Teaching is a love for all of us, we do what it takes to deliver high quality teaching to our students. This is 7 days a week event and a labor of love, answering e-mails, preparing assignments, quizzes etc. We want our students to learn and are passionate about that. Hours can exceed 60 per week and many approach 75 plus. Money is not the main issue here, it is the loss of professors and instructors with stipends for just the term, loss of the research that will not be conducted by profs who are not replaced, lack of support for courses in terms of graduate teaching assistantship support, lack of suitable sized classroom to lecture (students stand and are without a seat). How can faculty be competitive in grant applications if more load keeps being applied. Loss of support and technical staff who arduously assist us in our work. We now take on some of these additional duties. The administration indicates that profs make 150K, but remember this is after 20 years plus of being employed. What would an engineer’s salary with a BScE after 20 years of work assuming starting at 50K. Do the math, are profs. really being overpaid? The issue of the administration cannot afford the to get us to a comparable salary is misleading. This is true but only true when monies are being used in a misguided way by the administration. Our administration has publicly indicated that research is a liability to UNB. What is the message here to our faculty? It seems that the mission of the administration is to kill research and innovation. We are already facing tremendous issues on attracting graduate researchers, postdoctoral fellows, research scientists and others. Our infrastructure is degrading in front our eyes as we try to fit research programs in ancient rooms and buildings. Where is the plan, is the strategic plan really a plan but just wishful thinking. Our engineering students pay extra fees for lab improvements. Question where these funds really go and for what purpose. Finally, in my 16 years at UNB, it is worth fighting the good fight to ensure our students’ experiences are the best they can have. They deserve it!

  10. Gordon Holloway
    January 13, 2014 at 7:29 pm #

    Every member should listen to President Campbell’s interview with Terry Seguin from this morning that is posted on the CBC radio website.

  11. Anonymous
    January 11, 2014 at 3:23 pm #

    You’re really doing something noble here, guys. You’re changing the economic geography of the province.
    If you’re able to receive what you’re requesting, the other unions across New Brunswick will have at least an example to stand on when requesting wages comparable to those in other provinces.

    So keep on doing what you’re doing, through wind, and frozen rain, and bureacracy and buffalo-chips, keep fighting. Because you honestly are changing our world for the better.

    • Darn Straight!!!
      January 14, 2014 at 2:07 am #

      Our grandfathers fought for FREEDOM in Canada (New Brunswick included)

      Our UNB faculty are striking for RIGHTS in New Brunswick (Canada included)

      Anyone disagrees?, GO SUCK AN EGG (Administration included)

      Spare us the nonsense of professors making too much $ (More power to them, this is a small price to pay for intelligent, highly educated folks who are giving their best to our children)

      Go show some appreciation and support to faculty who care about more than 9000 students in NB…

      You trust them with your education, you want them to go back to work, SO TRUST THEM ON THIS ONE.

      • Matt
        January 14, 2014 at 12:09 pm #

        I don’t think either side views the act of striking to be wrong. It is the reason for striking that both sides are not agreeing on. I must be missing the connection between UNB faculty striking and the defense of my rights as a person living in NB. Does the answer lie in sucking eggs, as you would suggest?
        Part of contributing and being in an intelligent society is critical thinking and not just blindly trusting what we are told. The faculty are questioning the administration’s financial reports and the observers are questioning the union’s justification for the salary increase. To just trust the union blindly could be seen as equally misguided as just trusting the administration blindly.

  12. Anonymous
    January 10, 2014 at 11:28 am #

    Keeping things lighthearted here. Hopefully you’ll enjoy this.
    My new phone insists on autocorrecting ‘strike’ to ‘striptease’.
    It’s made for some intriguing texts.

  13. Lisa
    January 9, 2014 at 8:42 pm #

    UNB will be the first ever university in Canada to deny librarians and academic staff members health benefits during a strike, even though AUNBT has offered to cover UNB’s costs to allow these benefits to continue. I think this takes UNB out of the running for one of Canada’s top 100 employers…

    • Matt
      January 10, 2014 at 10:07 am #

      None of my past employers have offered to continue to pay my health benefits after I stopped working for them.

      • January 10, 2014 at 10:13 am #

        Hello Matt,
        I think there is some confusion here. Lisa is not referring to former employees, she is referring to striking employees. Going on strike is very different from quitting. In fact, I would argue that striking is almost the opposite of quitting, in that it demonstrates that people are committed enough to the work that they are doing that they are willing to strike to protect it. As for health benefits, it is a fact that no other Canadian university has denied a union permission to pay for members’ coverage during a strike or lockout. There is no cost for the employer here.
        Hope that clears things up a little.

    • January 10, 2014 at 11:26 am #

      Oh my god ..they will start printing new stationary because the current ones have that logo of top 100 employer. You can see an announcement from UNB soon along the following lines:

      In order to fund the new stationary we need to cut a few Faculty positions. Of course we need a new VP in charge of Brands and Logos and may be with an executive assistant and one Assistant VP . It is precisely for such DIRE needs we have internally restricted funds and it is not fair for AUNBT to assume internally restricted funds are available for salary.The risk management team that foresaw this and provided money for, will be commended in a ceremony at the Wu centres

  14. January 9, 2014 at 7:32 am #

    I’m puzzled by the university’s salary calculator which, for some reason, includes January 2013 !!! If this date is incorrect, why should I believe the figures presented? And if the date is correct, then I’m missing something and am puzzled.

    • Matt
      January 10, 2014 at 10:03 am #

      I must be missing something. What significance does including January 2013 mean in terms of incorrect calculation? I’m not trying to be snide, I just don’t understand.

      • January 14, 2014 at 12:48 pm #

        uh, because the contract ended in July 2013 and supposedly the calculator is running from that date forward (although the university does seem a little backward thinking on occasion) My point being that if UNB wants me to believe their salary figures, they need to care enough to get the dates right

      • Matt
        January 14, 2014 at 4:55 pm #

        The use of “uh” to start your reply suggests I was asking a silly question, or at least that is how I interpreted your tone. I reiterate, I wasn’t trying to make a snide remark. I’m not privy to your salary calculator. My salary is calculated differently, that is why I was seeking clarification.

  15. Matt
    January 8, 2014 at 1:09 pm #

    If the union wants to garner sympathy from the students, they need to improve their communication. Right now the University communication is superior to the union’s. Until a decent case can be made to justify the wage increase the union is demanding, it is just further fuelling the negative union stereotypes.

    • January 8, 2014 at 2:55 pm #

      Hi Matt. AUNBT has been meeting with the SU in Fredericton and the SRC in Saint John for some months now, to keep them in the loop and discuss their issues. We have also agreed to be interviewed whenever the Brunswickan or the Baron have contacted us. We have written circulars directed at students and posted them to this website, where we have also invited students to sign up for email updates. And of course, individual members are having conversations with students all the time. We cannot directly email students en masse, as the administration can. We have no access to the student email lists and really, as the students are not our members, we shouldn’t have that access. If students want to sign up for updates, then we can use email. We are also on FB and Twitter, and the FB page is not restricted in terms of who can follow us. If you have other suggestions for how we could communicate, please let us know and we will do our best. Our labour negotiations have an impact on students, potentially a substantial impact, and we want to keep a free flow of information going.

      • Anonymous
        January 9, 2014 at 1:01 am #

        I’m not who you were replying to, but the AUNBT’s unfortunate problem, at least as far as communication goes, is that you’re -not- the continually churning UNB public relations juggernaught.

        Frankly, you’re fighting an unfair fight.

        There’s been a lot of propaganda in the mainstream media lately (including a surprisingly anti-union slant to the student news), and it appears direct communication may be the only trustworthy option. You would possibly do better via social media and taking a less faceless, and more caring, approach than the administration could ever present.

      • Matt
        January 9, 2014 at 6:49 am #

        Hi Miriam. Both the Union and the University have lacked communication on improving the wage of part-time instructors. I think it was noble when it looked like they actually cared about them. But when we’re presented with numbers of the average university salaries of the Group of 14, with no asterisks explaining that they have been adjusted based on local economic conditions, it sounds less noble. If the Union could communicate as to why they can justify the wage increase other than, “they make more than us so we should make more too”, then that would be a step in the right direction. I just feel like I’m missing something or the Union has no argument, one or the other. I’ve worked on both sides of a union, I’ve also worked in the public and private sectors. And when I worked for a national company, there were regional differences of the salary bands based on the Atlantic, Ontario, and Western areas. With a whole faculty of Business as an asset, can someone from there please explain to me the justification of the 26% wage increase over 4 years, not including the 2.5% step increases already planned by the administration? Would it be easier if I stopped by the campus office?

    • Anonymous
      January 12, 2014 at 10:19 pm #

      ” If the Union could communicate as to why they can justify the wage increase other than, “they make more than us so we should make more too”, then that would be a step in the right direction”

      …Thank you Matt! The best I can tell, the university has made a fair offer based on the cost of living compared to other locations. Personally, I think current salaries are more than excessive at this point (not just at UNB). We have people in this city living on minimum wage and you’re complaining that you don’t make enough just because someone in another province makes more?

      I started this post with the intention of being respectful, but I’m ashamed of your greed. Especially since the poor students will need to pay for it.

      *The reason I will not provide my name is because I fear backlash in the city from your supporters. I’ve already been attacked simply for saying I don’t back you.

  16. Bob Whitney
    January 8, 2014 at 10:15 am #

    Needless to say, as a proud AUNBT member I support our data on UNB finance and bad administrative choices. But like most people I get confused with all the numbers and percentages thrown around. For me the essence of the issue is: does NB want a quality and nationally ranked university, or a third rate one? Do students want to pay some of the highest tuition in the country to attend a badly administered institution with ever fewer programes and course options? It is not even about how much money we, as people who are already employed here, earn: it is about future students and future employees. I know that if things stay the same, I will never sit on a hiring committee again. I will not look a potential new colleague in the eye and say: “you should work here.” That would be unprofessional; it would be a lie. This fight is about whether or not the people of NB have a high quality university for future generations, or a third rate and badly run institution branded as a “university,” but in reality, is really something much less.

  17. Anonymous
    January 7, 2014 at 6:06 pm #

    The unspoken truth in this wage increase battle is that many local heads of industry within New Brunswick have connections to UNB.

    Of course these leaders don’t want to see the AUNBT members get a raise because then it may result in demands for higher wages across the province and may break the local economic strangle-hold historically held by these same heads of NB industry.

    Not a member, just a student.