Arbitrator Rejects UCP Rollbacks, Awards Post-Secondary Staff 1% Raise
Nearly 1,700 AUPE members at eight post-secondary institutions have been awarded a one per cent pay increase for the final year of their collective agreements. This victory is the result of a two-day arbitration process which took place in July.
AUPE members at SAIT, Portage College, Olds College, Medicine Hat College, Lethbridge College, Grand Prairie College, Bow Valley College, and Alberta University of the Arts will be receiving the pay increase, which will retroactively cover work from July 1, 2019, the present, or to the date the pay grids have been adjusted. It will be paid to you as a lump sum. If you were one of the hundreds of workers that were laid off during that period, then you may also be entitled to a cheque for the time that you worked.
These employers had been arguing in favour of an across-the-board pay cut of two per cent, and that’s after AUPE members settled for zeroes in the first two years of the agreements.
Arbitrator David G. Tettensor wrote in the decision that “it is fair and reasonable and in the best interest of the public to award a one per cent increase.” This decision, it is worth emphasizing, was based on the objective economic data provided to the arbitrators—not the unhinged anti-worker rhetoric of the UCP.
“We held off for two years of zero-increases, only to have an outright reduction proposed by the employer,” says AUPE Vice-President Bobby-Joe Borodey. “The UCP was really trying to twist the knife. We’re glad that the arbitrators saw that workers deserve respect.”
While workers have been vindicated for now, there is a big fight ahead of us. As we enter into a new round of bargaining in the coming months, we need to be prepared to defend our wages.
We all saw that, after arbitrators ruled in favour of GOA and AHS General Support Services workers, the UCP began their next round of negotiations with an offer for a rollback of the same amount. We need to be ready to fight against any attempt to claw back this increase.
If you are ready to stand up for post-secondary, get involved with your fellow workers in the Save Advanced Education campaign. We’ve won this round, and if we organize together, we’re going to win the next one, too.
For more information, please contact the AUPE Member Resource Centre: 1-800-232-7284, Monday to Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.