ICES Speaking Truth to the Power of Employer Bargaining Reports

by Stephen Petrina on October 25, 2012

In British Columbia, in late July 2002, the Liberal government amended the Labour Relations Code to increase the scope of what employers could communicate to employees. Section 8 was amended from granting managers “freedom to communicate to an employee a statement of fact or opinion reasonably held with respect to the employer’s business” to “the freedom to express his or her views on any matter.” Employer speech within captive audience settings attenuates the freedom of the employee to not listen.

One result at UBC has been a deluge of bargaining reports broadcast to employees. Sure enough, today came the University’s Bargaining Bulletin #48, bemoaning failures of bargaining with the Faculty Association of UBC: “The University is extremely disappointed… the University tabled a salary offer of a 1.5% increase for all Faculty spread over two years… the Faculty Association tabled a general wage increase proposal of 5% in each of the next two years commencing July 1, 2012. A general wage increase of 5% per year is significantly out of step with other wage settlements in the Province, and with recent staff settlements at UBC.” And so on.

Thankfully, E. Wayne Ross countered with an employee broadcast to correct the record:

  • UBC faculty salaries rank #19 in Canada.
  • UBC faculty professional development funds are lowest in BC.
  • UBC administration promotes the idea that the university is “world class”
  • UBC administration offers faculty 0.4% then says it’s “extremely disappointed” an agreement can’t be reached?
  • I guess we’re supposed to feel lucky because we’re not teaching in the NHL …