The University of British Columbia Faculty Association and administration have reached an agreement to provide the first general salary increases since January 1994. After several months of intensive bargaining, the parties reached a four-year settlement covering the period July 1, 1997 to June 30, 2001. The agreement required the approval of the provincial Public Sector Employers' Council (PSEC).
The agreement provides for two general salary increases. In March 1998 all salary scales, including sessionals, will increase by one per cent. In July 2000, there will be a second across the board increase of two per cent. The provincial government salary freeze still applies to members earning over $100,000 a year -- they are not eligible for the general salary increase.
The agreement maintains a full career advancement plan, including career progress increments, merit increments and performance salary adjustments. All together, the plan represents 2.5 per cent, with half of the funds going towards career progress and half towards merit and performance adjustments.
The settlement includes a provision for an adjustment fund of $500,000 for 1998-99, which will be used to correct salary anomalies. A Professoriate Retention Fund of $500,000 will be made available in January 1999 so that "excellent performers" may be retained by the university. The agreement also provides a professional development allowance and makes improvements to provisions for sabbaticals.
The new UBC agreement improves terms for sessionals. For example, sessional members of the bargaining unit who teach extra summer session courses will be eligible for benefits including pensions.
A joint committee will identify and address the problems of long-term faculty and librarians who were not eligible to join the pension plan and who now face a "meagre" retirement.
As soon as the provincially-imposed freeze was lifted, universities in Nova Scotia headed into contract negotiations between faculty and administrations. Although most are still in various stages of negotiations, agreements have been reached at some institutions. In January 1998, a new settlement was reached between Saint Mary's University Faculty Union and the administration.
The Saint Mary's negotiations led to changes in collective agreement articles covering intellectual property rights, patents and copyright, and articles on amalgamation, merger, or closure of academic and library programs, among other modifications.
The provincial freeze meant that some of the salary scales set out in the previous collective agreements were never implemented. The new agreement implements the final salary scale, retroactive to November 1997.
This will mean a three per cent increase in pay and the addition of one salary step to the scales for assistant, associate and full professors. In April 1998, there will be a two per cent salary increase. In September 1998 and September 1999 there will be a 2.5 per cent salary increase, with a half-step added to salary scales for all ranks except Librarian I and II.
The agreement brings in changes to stipends and honoraria, introduces stipends or teaching reductions for thesis supervision, and makes improvements to sabbatical leave provisions. Pension contributions will be based on 100 per cent of salary while members are on leave.
Saint Mary's University has also made a commitment to improve fringe benefits, including the establishment of a supplemental pension plan. Discussions about early retirement incentives are ongoing.