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