Bargaining Bulletin #15

Feb. 3, 2015

To: Heads Up – Vancouver and Okanagan
From:
Lisa Castle, VP, Human Resources
Cc: Human Resources
Re: Bargaining Bulletin #15 – Collective Bargaining Update


The purpose of this memorandum is to provide you with a brief update on developments in collective bargaining at UBC.

As previously mentioned in Bargaining Bulletin #13, the agreement between the University and BCGEU, representing Childcare staff at UBC’s Vancouver campus, has received approval from the Public Sector Employers’ Council (PSEC) and the University Public Sector Employers Association (UPSEA). The agreement will now proceed to the Board of Governors on Feb. 12, 2015, for their final approval.

CUPE 116 and the University met for four productive bargaining days in January, and will meet again to bargain on Feb. 4, 6 and 20.

We met with CUPE 2950 on Jan. 30, and our next scheduled date is Feb. 23, with more bargaining dates planned for March, April, and into May. In addition, beginning March 16, the parties will create a separate table to bargain matters that relate to the Chan Centre.

We are currently working with IUOE Local 882 (representing maintenance and shift engineers) and CUPE 2278 (representing teaching assistants and English language instructors) to schedule dates for bargaining in the coming months.

After meeting for five days in January, the University and Faculty Association have concluded bargaining and will now proceed to arbitration. While it was a successful round of bargaining on a number of fronts, including the tenor of the dialogue and the full engagement of teams for both parties, as well as the fact that we reached agreement on a number of substantive proposals, we are far apart on the key issues of compensation and term, and binding interest arbitration is the next (and final) step in the process.

As we discussed in Bargaining Bulletin #5, the University’s monetary proposal is within the Provincial Government’s mandate for public sector bargaining, as well as the University’s ability to pay. As a reminder, the Provincial Government will provide the funding for the general wage increases as articulated in its mandate, as well as the economic stability dividend of up to 0.5% per year starting in spring 2016 (http://www.fin.gov.bc.ca/psec/bargaining/index.htm).

The University is responsible for funding the 2.5% Progress through the Ranks (career progress increments, merit awards and performance salary adjustments) as well as the 1% annual bonus payment. Each 1% of compensation increases for faculty members amounts to approximately $4.2-million.

The Faculty Association’s compensation proposal was that in addition to Progress through the Ranks and the annual bonus payment, the general wage increase should be 3% per year for five years. They were also pursuing a number of other benefit improvements that have substantive cost implications.

As the parties are far apart on monetary items, and the Faculty Association’s proposal is significantly in excess of the Provincial Government’s mandate, the collective agreement provides for a binding interest arbitration process to resolve the outstanding issues. You may recall that this same process unfolded in 2012/13 and was resolved in an arbitration award from Mr. Colin Taylor, Q.C.

Given the views of the Provincial Government on interest arbitration (remember the dispute with the BC Teachers Federation), the University will have to navigate this process very carefully. It is further complicated by the fact that a majority of public sector unions and associations including three at UBC have accepted the same Provincial Government mandate.

Thank you for your interest. We will continue to provide updates as the process unfolds.

An overview of collective bargaining (including information on the bargaining units) is available at http://www.hr.ubc.ca/collective-bargaining/.

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