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CAUT Bulletin Archives

January 2003

Arbitrated Wage Hike Disappoints at Calgary

Following a Dec. 16, 2002 arbitration board ruling, University of Calgary academic staff members will be forced to accept a 3.5% and a 3.75% base salary increase respectively for each year of a new two-year contract.

The salary increase, which fell far short of expectations, "leaves the U of C lagging behind other universities," said faculty association president John Baker.

At the University of Alberta in Edmonton, which is the closest comparitor to Calgary, faculty members recently negotiated a 13.5% increase in their three-year agreement. Baker says the arbitration ruling has not taken into account the higher cost of living in Calgary, which would justify a more substantial increase. Faculty at Calgary were pressing for a 14% increase in this round of negotiations, and Baker said the decision by the arbitration panel "means we continue to linger at the bottom."

He said the board of governors also disappointed staff when it argued strenuously to reinstate mandatory retirement, a move the arbitration board rejected.

Also in dispute was a proposal by the board for unrestricted use of contract academic staff. This proposal the arbitration board also rejected, although making a minor language change to the article governing use of contract academic staff.

"This round of negotiations and the subsequent arbitration have been a profoundly frustrating and disappointing experience for those of us who have at heart the future of the university as a university of quality," Baker said.

The University of Calgary Faculty Association, which represents almost 2,000 members, served notice to bargain in December 2001.