Some of us profs, but certainly not all, and I don’t think the number is as high as management indicates, earn $100 k +. It is a lot of money, but at UNB that is only after years of service and includes the many standard promotions someone would get at any company.
To earn this salary takes at minimum 9 additional years of education beyond high school (often closer to 10 or 12) – that’s 9 years of tuition and books and 9 years of not earning a full-time salary and getting promoted etc. , etc. Yes, there were quite a few years of me feeling very envious of my friends who went straight to work or were finished college and earning good salaries, driving sports cars, starting families, and getting promotions. Indeed, I have friends with college diplomas who have great jobs that pay more than mine (and power to them, they work hard too). I have friends whose kids are well into university now. I postponed these things in life.
Kevin Lacey and the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (remember that Stephen Harper was once their spokesperson) weighed into the UNB issue the other day and helped market UNB management’s propaganda. I’d say an A- to A for marketing (he was off-script once or twice in order to make ideological points) and an F for research. Kevin didn’t look at AUNBT’s position or research AUNBT’s latest offer so missed a key primary source. Indeed, his spin was exactly the spin used by management.
He didn’t mention that in the last 8 years or so, faculty, instructors, and research librarians have lost nearly 50 positions while management has grown by over 80 positions. Yes, those of us that are left earn good salaries – we’ve been here a while. We don’t have many newer faculty BECAUSE THE UNIVERSITY HASN’T HIRED TO REFILL POSITIONS. Indeed, the university wants many positions to be filled through lower-paid stipends with little to no job protection and no research duties.
No one has mentioned that audited records suggest money is being moved into restricted accounts not operating accounts. Money is there to pay faculty and to avoid tuition hikes, but UNB management has different priorities.
Nobody’s commented on the 8% salary increase the president has received this year, or that he won’t report his salary publicly (it had to be retrieved through access to information – even those of us working for the university couldn’t simply ask about his salary), or that his remuneration package includes free housing in a university-owned mansion on the Saint John River, or that when his high salary was publicly criticized it was justified by management’s communications group as necessary to pay him in a comparable way to other universities.
Recall, we are asking for comparability to a group of 14 similar-sized and similar-missioned universities across Canada. We aren’t saying the same-as, or near the top of this group. We just ask that we are allowed to compare. This is something management won’t let us put on the table. At the same time, management proudly points out that lil’ ole UNB ranks 4th in the Macleans’ poll of Canadian Universities.
We are trying to hire this year – I know from personal experience. I know that we have had offers of employment rejected in part because our starting salaries are well below other universities in Canada and in the Maritimes. What gives me a bit of hope is how long it takes people to reject us when they hear our salaries.
We are quite active in research–research that cannot be quashed by management or the government. This is because of tenure which is not a guaranteed job but a guarantee that we can’t be fired for doing and reporting on research that management and the government does not like.
We try to take a heavy teaching load for a provincial university (when compared to other universities but oops, management doesn’t want that) and do what we can to make it easier to handle. We are very collegial. And so, when top notch people realize we offer significantly less, they don’t immediately say, “No way” but rather try to see if the other benefits outweigh the salary shortfall.
Kevin Lacey, marketer for UNB management, forget to tell people that I took – I voted to support – my own pay cuts (plural) because I want this place to work. Kevin and the rest of the management team forget to describe the intricate plan put forward by AUNBT to disproportionately favour new hires in the asked-for salary hikes so that we can hire the best and the brightest to teach and research here at the University of New Brunswick.
I worked (and continue to work) hard to be where I am. I sacrificed salary early on for salary later. I work hard for my students and am extremely proud to see them in satisfying and highly paid careers in New Brunswick, throughout Canada, and around the globe. I’m proud to be able to call some of them peers; to work with some, and to have to negotiate across the table with others. I’m proud that I have been asked to guest teach at other universities around the world including one of the top departments in China. I’m proud that my research is respected enough that I can and indeed, am invited to present it around the world. I’m proud that researchers whom I hold in very high regard specifically ask me to comment upon their work. I’m proud that I have offered my expertise to many community groups usually for free (I’m paid only when they insist). I’m proud to have been asked to comment by the media–TV, radio, and newspapers–and often drive in from my house to make those comments so that reporters don’t have to go far out of their way. I’m proud that–while no government in this province has ever asked–I have risked ridicule and freely submitted my informed opinion on their economic and social policies.
I’m proud of what I do and I’m even more proud that there are another 500+ of us in AUNBT (and even more when you include other universities in New Brunswick) that do this each and every day!
The management of UNB has happily taken my service and the service of my AUNBT peers, used it to improve UNB’s national ranking, and said, “Thanks a lot. Here’s more work to do and there’s fewer of you to do it with, and by the way, you aren’t worthy of comparison.” So, with that in mind, I look forward to tomorrow. UNB can lock me out of their institution and I will stand at its gates along with my friends–AUNBT members, students, community members, workers, managers, directors, people on boards, parents, and many others–and know that it is simply a shell without me and the rest of AUNBT!