University execs rake in raises while workers’ wages wait

BURNABY, BC – While the CUPE workers who keep our public universities working have been tightening their belts, their employers have been filling their pockets. CUPE has reviewed recent compensation packages of top executive positions at B.C. universities and found they enjoyed hikes as high as 59 per cent while support and teaching staff workers have been stuck with double-digit zeros.

The 12,000 CUPE members working at BC’s public universities haven’t had a pay raise in years – and after two years at the bargaining table they still don’t have one. Prevented from wage hikes by the BC Liberals’ Zero Mandate in 2010-11, CUPE bargaining teams are now hampered by that same government’s Cooperative Gains Mandate, which insists on provincial approval of monetary items and tentative agreements.

The provincial government vowed earlier this year to slash universities spending by $70 million. Add to that a post secondary “shared services project” being rammed through by the BC Ministry of Advanced Education that sounds a lot like privatization and puts CUPE workers’ jobs at risk while ignoring top heavy top management and you have a serious chill developing in the fall bargaining climate.

“There’s a widening credibility gap here – university execs appear to be getting more and more money for telling us there’s no more money,” says CUPE’s BC Universities Coordinator Tracey Mathieson. “Our goal is a fair and reasonable wage increase and negotiated collective agreements. Our growing concern is for the quality of public post secondary education – and that depends on the daily work done on every campus in the province by CUPE members.”

Our figures were compiled from The Vancouver Sun’s database of public-sector wages. Our research found a 41 per cent increase for the president at UBC, 59 per cent for a VP, a 26 per cent compensation hike at Thompson Rivers University and a 27 per cent jump for the president position at the University of Northern BC. For the complete story see
For more information, please contact:

Tracey Mathieson
CUPE B.C. Universities Coordinator

Murray Bush
CUPE National Communications Representative


UNBC workers overwhelmingly approve strike action

PRINCE GEORGE–CUPE support workers at UNBC have voted 91 per cent in favour of strike action. The vote was taken over the last week and tallied this morning. CUPE 3799 represents more than 300 support workers at the University of Northern BC. Turnout for the vote was 75 per cent.

CUPE Local 3799 president Caroline Sewell called the vote result “a strong message to the provincial government that chronic underfunding of post secondary education must stop. Our members have taken the brunt of the province’s financial mismanagement – now we want a fair and reasonable contract and are prepared to do what it takes to get it.”

Sewell explained that the strike vote “does not mean we will automatically go on strike – it means we are ready to take job action if it becomes necessary. It also means we are in solidarity with our fellow university support workers across BC in demanding that the provincial government do the right thing!”

CUPE 3799 has been negotiating for a new collective agreement for more than two years. Further talks aren’t scheduled to resume until September. “When we return to the table we will be carrying a strong strike mandate to ensure we achieve the best deal possible,” says Sewell.

Issues for the support workers include job security and a meaningful wage increase. The negotiations are centred on a four-year deal that bridges the provincial government’s Net Zero mandate and Cooperative Gains mandate.