Bargaining update: monetary proposals

Dear members,

Wednesday afternoon, the APUO’s negotiation team tabled the monetary proposals approved by the APUO Board of Directors. Here is a summary of what we presented to the Central Administration. At this time, the APUO has proposed a two-year Collective Agreement.

Salaries:
–    2% annual economic increase
–    2% annual catch-up increases
–    The removal of salary caps for all professorial ranks
–    Changes to article 41.3.2.4 to remove the reduced Progress-through-the-ranks (PTR) for tenured assistant professors (a possibility before 2004)

The proposed economic increase is based on the forecasted inflation rate. The proposed catch-up salary increases are based on the differences between our salaries and the salaries of our colleagues at our comparator universities. Comparator universities used for this analysis were McMaster University, Queen’s University, York University, and Western University which all have higher salaries. Our tabled proposals, therefore, take into account the need to catch up our salaries to those of our comparators, and the forecasted inflation rate (around 2% annually).

Benefits:
–    Increase health coverage from 80% to 100% (as it was previously)
–    Increase dental coverage from 80% to 100%
–    Increase vision coverage from $250 to $400
–    Increase Professional expense reimbursements (PER) from $1,625 (unchanged since 2011) to $2,000 per year

Benefits for retirees
–    Allow pre-2001 retirees access to the Health Care Spending Account (HCSA) for retirees
–    Increase the HCSA for retirees fund to $3,000 per year

As per every bargaining round, the APUO and the Central administration jointly commissioned a study to analyze our benefits and measure them with a comparator group of universities (Carleton, McMaster, Queen’s, Guelph, Waterloo, Western, Windsor, and York).

Here is how the University of Ottawa ranked on health benefits (1 being the most valuable benefits package and 8 being the least valuable):

Health Care Coverage as a whole (preretirement, including vision/hearing and dental) Between 7th & 8th
Dental Coverage on its own Below 8th rank*
Postretirement Health Care Below 8th rank
All Health Care (preretirement and postretirement) Below 8th rank

*“Below 8th rank” means that, while the University of Ottawa compares itself to the comparator group in terms of size and mandate, our benefits where so much below those offered at other universities in the comparator group that they fell out of the 1 to 8 ranking margin established by the study.

The Central Administration’s proposals

Salaries:

  • 1.25% across the board from May 1, 2018 through to May 1, 2020 (this increase accounts for inflation)
  • No catch-up salary increase was tabled

No changes were tabled regarding Health and Dental Benefits.

The Administration is proposing striking article 40.8.1 in its entirety. This Article pertains to access to parking on campus.

The Administration has tabled a Letter of Understanding that would put an end to the Voluntary Retirement Incentive Program at the end of the current collective agreement.

Financial situation of the University

As you may recall, the APUO debunked the myth that the University of Ottawa is facing a difficult financial situation in its December bulletin. According to the University’s Audited Financial Statements, the University has recorded $347 million in cumulative surpluses over the last 9 years and $48.6 million ($12.1 million excluding unrealised gains) for 2016-2017.

For bargaining purposes, tuition fee increases, support staff hiring freeze, workload increases, and cuts across all faculties and at the library, the Central Administration claims that the University of Ottawa is in a difficult financial situation. However, “financial problems” suddenly disappear when it comes to proposing generous salary increases for five senior executives. And this is in addition to the fact that the Administration has been spending unreasonable amounts of money on consultant fees and travel expenses for years. The Central Administration’s main deficit is a credibility deficit.

For all the reasons mentioned in this bulletin, we consider that the Central Administration’s monetary proposals are unreasonable and unacceptable. Even taking into account only the inflation rate (i.e. without any catch-up increases), accepting such proposals would translate into lower purchasing power for APUO members.

Please consult the following link to see the APUO’s salary proposals and the following link for our benefits proposals.
To see the Central Administration’s proposals in their entirety, please consult the following link.

Finally, we invite you to our upcoming Strategic Thinking and Action Forum (STAF) on the University of Ottawa’s financial situation (April 24, from noon to 2 pm, at GSD 307). Please see the following link for more information.