Bargaining Update History

November 21, 2019

A new proposal was tabled by the Employer this morning for review by the FA bargaining team.

While both parties are still engaged in discussions, a formal deal has not yet been reached. As such, classes remain cancelled for Friday, November 22. If this status changes, we will update you as quickly as possible via email and web. 

November 20, 2019

UNBC continues to review the most recent proposal from the FA bargaining team, which we have forwarded to the Public Sector Employer Council for review. At this point, the FA continues to withhold teaching services. For this reason, no classes will take place on Thursday, November 21, 2019.  If this status changes, we will update you as quickly as possible via email and web. 

November 20, 2019 

The Employer continues to review the latest proposal from the FA bargaining team.

Monday evening, the FA bargaining team rejected the Employer’s latest proposal and presented a new proposal. The Employer spent much of Tuesday reviewing that proposal before submitting to the Public Sector Employer’s Council Secretariat (PSEC) for their assessment.

Some fundamental misunderstandings, however, seem to exist.

The first seems to be that the compensation matter has been agreed upon. Both teams know that the funding envelope must fall within the province’s mandate, but there is a disconnect regarding the compensation structure, how that funding is spread across the membership, and the long-term financial implications of that structure.

For more than a year, a joint working group comprised of FA and Employer representatives developed principles and benchmarks that would lead to a much-needed adjustment to the salary structure for Tenured and Tenure-track faculty.

As a result, that is why the Employer has continued to refine its proposals that are built upon the shared principles between the FA and the Employer that emerged from that working group. Most importantly, that the salary structure ultimately supports the recruitment and retention of outstanding faculty.

A second misunderstanding is the amount of time required to review and cost each different proposal.

Due diligence includes tracking each article in detail so both parties know if words have been deleted or inserted. This means the Employer’s team has an obligation to review each word carefully and thoroughly, as changes to words can mean changes to the compensation envelope.

Finally, the product of all of this work must then be reviewed and approved by the PSEC Secretariat.

The Employer’s team is doing all it can to efficiently work through each proposal it receives. As always, the Employer remains committed to reaching a deal at the table.

November 19, 2019

Last night, the FA bargaining team rejected the Employer’s latest proposal and chose to present a new proposal, which the Employer is reviewing. The Employer is required to review and fully cost each proposal as part of its due diligence process, which also requires consultation with PSEC Secretariat. At this point, the FA continues to withhold teaching services; as such, no classes will run on Wednesday Nov. 20, 2019. 

November 18, 2019

The Employer’s bargaining team is currently waiting to hear from the FA bargaining team on an updated proposal. At this point, the FA continues to withhold teaching services; as such, no classes will run on Tuesday Nov. 19, 2019. 

November 17, 2019

The bargaining teams continued to have conversations all last week and into the weekend. However, as no agreement has been reached, classes remain cancelled on Monday.

November 15, 2019

The Employer and FA bargaining teams returned to the bargaining table on Tuesday.

This week, the FA provided three very different proposals. The first two proposals from the FA team, were creative and interesting in concept. Unfortunately, following a more detailed costing it was clear that the proposals exceeded the provincial bargaining mandate.

On Wednesday morning, the FA tabled a third proposal that fell within mandate. Despite falling within mandate, the Employer’s understanding has always been that a competitive salary structure is a fundamental principle; more detailed analysis indicated this could not be achieved within the FA team’s proposal. Consequently, the FA team indicated they wanted to abandon that principle.

Wednesday evening, the Employer tabled a proposal that we believe aligned with the principle of a competitive salary structure, reached 100% of the new salary target the FA proposed earlier that day and still fell within mandate. 

Thursday morning, the FA team responded with a counter-offer and a revised salary target. The Employer then spent the remainder of the day costing various iterations.

This week’s work resulted in the Employer tabling a proposal this morning, which is a sincere effort to maximize compensation increases for all faculty including SLIs and Librarians, within a competitive compensation structure. It is vital that we recruit and retain outstanding faculty, and ensure we turn our attention to addressing the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead for UNBC.

November 14, 2019

The bargaining teams for the University and the Faculty continue to meet today.

As of 4 pm, we have not had any indication from the Faculty Association that picketing will cease, and so classes are cancelled for tomorrow (Friday, November 15, 2019).

We are attempting to respond to enquiries and concerns as promptly as possible, but would recommend checking the following link regularly for updated Frequently Asked Questions and Answers: https://www.unbc.ca/labour-relations/faculty-strike-qa.

The following “Frequently Asked Question” has been added to the website today:

Once an Agreement is reached, how much notice will students be given before classes resume?

Once an Agreement has been reached the University will move quickly to support the resumption of all regular scheduled classes and activities.

The amount of notice that will be provided to students prior to the resumption of classes will depend on a number of factors: The day of the week and the time of day that an Agreement is concluded, and; any safety concerns with a resumption of a full level of activity (example: snow removal or lab equipment checks).  Our goal is to get students back into classes as soon as possible, however it is expected that at a minimum, in the very best-case scenario, eight hours of lead time minimum would be needed, and that twenty-four hours is much more likely in most scenarios.

November 13, 2019

Both parties are engaged in talks at the bargaining table today; however, a deal has not yet been reached. Therefore, classes at UNBC remain cancelled for Thursday, November 14, 2019.

November 12, 2019

While both parties are back at the bargaining table today, the UNBC Faculty Association has not yet provided any indication that picket lines will be removed. Therefore, classes at UNBC are cancelled for Wednesday, November 13, 2019.

Should this change, we will notify you as soon as possible, and post updates here.

Please check this website regularly for updates.

November 8, 2019

Due to ongoing strike action by the UNBC Faculty Association, classes at UNBC remain cancelled for Tuesday, November 12, 2019.

Should this change over the weekend, we will notify you by email as soon as possible, and post updates here.

Please check this website regularly for updates.

November 8, 2019

Current Offer Highlights

Introduction

We understand that not everyone may be aware of what was on the table when the FA left talks on Thursday morning. The following provides a detailed summary of the Employer’s proposals at the end of the last bargaining session.

The Employer’s bargaining priorities

  • Reach a modernized negotiated collective agreement that addresses a broad range of topics, shared interests and, where possible, the mutual interests of the parties.
  • Improve the compensation structure for faculty.
  • Make progress towards adjusting individual salaries as appropriate to fit the structure.

Employer Offer Highlights

  • Compensation
    • Creates a new compensation model for faculty, built upon principles and competitive benchmark salaries established jointly by the Employer and FA.
    • Closes the salary gap between our Tenured and Tenure-track faculty and the competitive benchmark salaries at our comparator universities by approximately 90% in just one round of bargaining.
      • Average salary increase of 15% over three years for Tenured and Tenure-track Faculty.
      • Annual Career Development Increment increased from $1,111 to $2,700
  • Recruit and retain outstanding teaching faculty.
    • A new continuing career track for teaching-focused members (a new designation - Senior Instructors), reducing the need for repeating term appointments.
    • A new Senior Lab Instructor Rank IV, creating additional career-growth opportunities for senior lab instructors.

The Employer’s compensation proposal

  • Funding beyond the provincial mandate of 2% per year for three years can only be introduced by negotiating savings in the collective agreement.
  • The Employer costed and proposed approximately $1 million in savings in the collective agreement to further improve the compensation offer.
  • With the proposed negotiated savings, Tenured and tenure-track Faculty Members could see an average compensation increase of approximately 15% over three years.
    • Increases could be as much as 28% for a full professor, 22% for an associate professor, and 18% for an assistant professor.
  • Senior lab instructors, librarians and part-time instructors will see increases of 6% on average, again in line with the provincial mandate.
  • Increases vary depending on the individual rank and number of years in rank.
Salary Comparison - July 1, 2019 vs. July 1, 2022


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Closing the compensation gap

  • The compensation gap is a result of a flawed structure that was created over many agreements; it is extraordinarily challenging to close in one round of bargaining.
  • The Faculty Association and Employer Compensation Working Group recommended to the bargaining teams that a new compensation structure anchor the top of the full professor salary scale with the 50th percentile of our benchmark universities. The working group recommendation is posted on the labour relations section of the UNBC website.
  • The Employer’s offer makes considerable progress, closing the salary gap between our Tenured and Tenure-track faculty and the competitive benchmark salaries at our comparator universities by approximately 90%.
    • Salary adjustments will vary across the bargaining unit.
    • This concept changes the structure; early-career faculty members’ long-term earning potential is vastly improved.
    • Larger salary corrections are necessary for Tenured and Tenure-track faculty members.
Current and proposed salaries compared to salaries at Comparator Universities


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Salary Examples

Examples shown below are for illustrative purposes and derived from the Employer’s Nov. 4 proposals.

Increases are shown over three years. Current salaries are shown as at July 1, 2019.

Full professors Number of years in rank Current salary Employer’s offer - % increase Total salary and increase Year 1 $ increase Year 2 $ increase Year 3 $ increase
Professor A 10 $121,458 28% $155,790 (34,332) $10,176 $16,445 $7,711
Professor B 6 $116,153 25% $145,465 (29,312) $8,688 $14,041 $6,584
Professor C 11 $122,772 27% $155,904 (33,132) $9,820 $15,870 $7,441
Professor D 4 $124,797 13% $141,280 (16,483) $4,886 $7,895 $3,702
Professor E 18 $136,358 15% $157,079 (20,721) $6,142 $9,925 $4,654
Professor F 26 $165,553 0% $165,553 *above $164,441 merit ceiling cap $0 $0 $0
Associate professors Number of years in rank Current salary Employer’s offer - % increase Total salary and increase Year 1 $ increase Year 2 $ increase Year 3 $ increase
Associate Professor A 6 $104,197 15% $119,767 (15,570) $4,615 $7,458 $3,497
Associate Professor B 11 $105,665 21% $127,293 (21,628) $6,411 $10,360 $4,858
Associate Professor C 6 $98,113 22% $119,240 (21,127) $6,262 $10,120 $4,745
Associate Professor D 12 $126,223 2% $129,071 (2,848) $844 $1,364 $640
Associate Professor E 5 $138,592 0% $138,592 *above $129,341 ceiling cap $0 $0 $0
Assistant Professors Number of years in rank Current salary Employer’s offer - % increase Total salary and increase Year 1 $ increase Year 2 $ increase Year 3 $ increase
Assistant Professor A 5 $81,159 18% $95,576 (14,417) $4,273 $6,906 $3,238
Assistant Professor B 2 $77,839 13% $87,889 (10,050) $2,979 $4,814 $2,257
Assistant Professor C 3 $82,346 10% $90,746 (8,400) $2,490 $4,023 $1,887
Assistant Professor D 3 $85,305 7% $91,002 (5,697) $1,688 $2,729 $1,279
Assistant Professor E 3 $136,882 0% $136,882 *above $105,041 ceiling cap $0 $0 $0
Senior Lab Instructors Current salary Employer’s offer - % increase Total salary and increase Year 1 $ increase Year 2 $ increase Year 3 $ increase
Level 1 $67,747 5% $70,860 (3,113) $361 $1,362 $1,389
Level 2 $80,777 9% $87,727 (6,950) $1,501 $2,686 $2,763
Level 2 $78,886 6% $83,714 (4,827) $1,577 $1,609 $1,641
Level 3 $76,674 9% $83,725 (7,051) $1,533 $2,720 $2,798
Level 3 $89,158 6% $94,615 (5,457) $1,783 $1,819 $1,855
Librarians Current salary Employer’s offer - % increase Total salary and increase Year 1 $ increase Year 2 $ increase Year 3 $ increase
Level 1 $68,005 10% $74,525 (6,520) $1,360 $2,543 $2,617
Level 2 $72,292 9% $79,075 (6,783) $1,446 $2,631 $2,706
Level 3 $84,897 9% $92,451 (7,555) $1,698 $2,888 $2,969
Level 4 $104,062 8% $112,789 (8,727) $2,081 $3,279 $3,367

How Collective Bargaining works in the Public Sector in B.C.

The government and provincial public sector employers spend about $30.4 billion on compensation which is equivalent to more than half of the Province's budget. Government manages these costs by setting the fiscal parameters for negotiations through a mandate. 

In this round of bargaining, the Sustainable Services Negotiating Mandate defines what employers are able to negotiate, as well as what government will ultimately transfer to the University to pay the equivalent of the 2% increase each year in faculty salaries.

The Mandate also includes funding for a Service Improvement Allocation, which can be targeted to service delivery improvements and support the achievement of employer service improvement priorities. These funds are fully allocated in the Employer’s offer, and are contingent on making progress on the employer’s priorities. Any additional cost increases must be funded by changes to the collective agreement.

Clarifying the role of the PSEC Secretariat

Public sector bargaining has been conducted under the Public Sector Employers’ Council model since 1994. Government, via the PSEC Secretariat, sets a bargaining mandate for the public sector, which all public sector employers are statutorily bound to observe. UNBC, like other employers who meet the definition of the Public Sector Employers Act, must have its bargaining plans approved by the Minister responsible for the Act before substantive negotiations with the union can begin. In addition, the PSEC Secretariat must review and approve all language and costing prior to being tabled.

Conclusion

The Employer’s efforts during this round of bargaining demonstrate a clear and undeniable commitment to UNBC’s faculty. It has proposed a compensation structure that not only recognizes the efforts and dedication of our current, long-serving faculty members, but also provides improved career progression for early-career faculty members.

November 7, 2019 - 5 p.m.

Due to ongoing strike action by the UNBC Faculty Association, classes at UNBC are cancelled for Friday, November 8, 2019.

Should this change, we will notify you as soon as possible, and post updates here: https://www.unbc.ca/labour-relations.

Please check this website regularly for updates.

November 7, 2019 

Despite talks that went well into the early morning, the Faculty Association (FA) at the University of Northern British Columbia has indicated it will strike this morning, Thursday Nov. 7.

The Prince George campus will remain open during a strike. If picket lines are erected, the following takes effect:

  • Classes will not take place at any UNBC campus.
  • The Library, dining hall, and other non-academic student services will remain open.
  • The Charles Jago Northern Sport Centre will remain open.
  • We understand transit buses will not cross picket lines, so buses will stop at temporary stops on University Way.

The FA has also indicated picket lines will be set up at UNBC’s campus in Terrace as well as the Wood Innovation and Design Centre in downtown Prince George. 

As of last evening, the Employer’s offer included the following:

  • A new Senior Lab Instructor Rank IV, creating additional career-growth opportunities for senior lab instructors.
  • A new compensation model for faculty, built upon principles established jointly by the Employer and FA.
  • A new career track for teaching-focused members (new designation - Senior Instructors), reducing the need for repeating term appointments.
  • Closed the salary gap between our Tenured and Tenure-track faculty and the 50th percentile of our comparator universities by approximately 90% in just one round of bargaining.
    • Average salary increase of 15% over three years for Tenured and Tenure-track Faculty.

The Employer stands ready to continue bargaining and remains committed to reaching an agreement at the table.

November 6, 2019 - 5 p.m.

The Faculty Association (FA) and Employer bargaining teams are still at the table, working towards an agreement.
If the FA erects picket lines tomorrow morning, the University will send an update regarding classes.
If more information becomes available this evening, it will be posted as soon as possible.

November 5, 2019 

The Employer and FA bargaining teams met for several hours today. The teams have agreed to meet again tomorrow morning. 

November 4, 2019

Despite ongoing negotiations and mediation at the bargaining table, the UNBC Faculty Association (FA) chose to issue 72-hour strike notice to the University this morning at 7 a.m. The earliest FA members can strike is Thursday morning at 7 a.m., Nov.7.

The FA executive team has indicated that pickets will be erected at the Prince George campus, the Terrace campus, and at the Wood Innovation and Design Centre.

The University will continue to update students and staff regarding the latest developments; official decisions regarding the status of classes will come from UNBC.

The Employer remains committed to reaching an agreement at the bargaining table and avoiding significant disruption to the University community. The Employer tabled a new offer this morning. However, given the short timeframe created by the 72-hour strike notice, the Employer will not post the details of the offer until the FA bargaining team has had time to review and respond. The offer expires tomorrow at 4 p.m. 

October 11, 2019

This morning, the Employer attended a Labour Relations Board hearing scheduled with the Faculty Association.  The mediator appointed by the Labour Relations Board facilitated meaningful discussions and requested that financial documentation be provided to him.

The next scheduled bargaining dates with the mediator are Oct. 20 and 21, 2019.

In all, it was a positive and productive session that laid out some good direction for future, mediated conversations.

The Employer remains committed to reaching a negotiated collective agreement and is confident that the best way for that to happen is through the bargaining process. 

October 10, 2019

The Employer has applied to the Labour Relations Board under Section 74 (1) of the Labour Relations Code. A mediator has been appointed and will contact both parties shortly to arrange meeting dates.

The Employer feels that the introduction of a mediator will help the parties engage in productive conversations. The Employer has tabled a substantive proposal for the FA to consider and looks forward to continuing those conversations with the help of a mediator.

The bargaining table provides the best environment to reach a collective agreement, which would avoid disruption to our students and the broader University community in the case of a prolonged strike.

The Employer remains committed to reaching an agreement that begins to address the fundamental concerns of the Faculty Association.

September 30, 2019

The parties met on the afternoon of Friday, September 27 for a very constructive session. They spent time addressing some of the issues each party has and were able to sign off on five (5) articles. This brings the total number of articles to which the parties have reached agreement to twenty-one (21).

The Employer also tabled another offer for the FA bargaining team to consider. Two more dates are set for Oct. 8 and 10.

September 16, 2019 

The bargaining process between the University and the UNBC Faculty Association continues. The parties last met on June 21. The teams discussed the possibility of bargaining during the summer, but were unable to do so. Both parties committed to returning to the table in early September.

Unfortunately, due to a serious medical emergency on the University’s bargaining team, those talks had to be postponed to September 27.

The University looks forward to resuming conversations at the bargaining table and building momentum that will lead to a collective agreement.

June 26, 2019

The Employer tabled a settlement offer on Friday, June 21, 2019. This time-limited offer expired on Monday, June 24, 2019. View the full offer: Employer's Settlement Offer - June 24, 2019

Visit our Q&A page for more information

June 25, 2019

UNBC and the UNBC Faculty Association wrapped up a week of bargaining, which concluded on Friday, June 21, 2019. The Employer tabled an offer that includes an average salary increase of approximately 14% over three years for Tenure-track and Tenured Faculty Members, funded in part by the province’s 2019 Sustainable Services Negotiating Mandate, and partially by savings generated by collective agreement changes agreed to by the union and the university. 

The University carefully reviewed and considered each of the union’s articulated interests, priorities and proposals, and developed a settlement offer that addresses the FA’s and University’s concerns regarding compensation, recruitment and retention. The proposal also strengthens the quality of service delivery for our students, which directly aligns with the priorities outlined in UNBC’s Strategic Road Map. 

Highlights:

The parties spent a significant amount of time exploring language in the collective agreement that can be modernized to generate cost savings.  These savings are being directed to enhance the new compensation model, which is how the offer includes an average salary increase of approximately 14% over three years for Tenure-track and Tenured Faculty Members.

The offer is consistent with the province’s 2019 Sustainable Services Negotiating Mandate, which is 2% per year for three years, calculated as a percentage of total compensation. As part of this mandate, the Government has also provided an additional defined percentage in each year to support improvements to student service delivery. The Employer’s proposal directs these available funds to a new differentiated compensation model that will support our faculty recruitment and retention efforts and help close the compensation gap with comparator institutions. 

The Employer has maximized efforts to invest in the salaries of new and existing Faculty. This offer takes total faculty compensation to a more competitive position by the end of the three-year term.

The University bargaining team is committed and available to continue negotiations until a new collective agreement is reached. 

March 22, 2019

Bargaining has begun with the Faculty Association. We had a great start up with good discussion and a positive tone and outlook. 

We exchanged our opening lists of articles to consider in this round of bargaining. We are back at the bargaining table on April 8, 2019 and look forward to more great discussion. 

March 15, 2019

Negotiations between UNBC and the UNBC Faculty Association to renew the Collective Agreement expiring on June 30, 2019 are underway. 

The current Faculty Collective Agreement covers the period from July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2019.