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How does UM’s offer impact UMFA salary structures?

November 15, 2021 — 

This story has been edited to reflect UM’s new three-year proposal on Nov. 15.

You’ve heard talk of significant changes to the salary structure in the university’s monetary proposal to UMFA as they work to negotiate a new collective agreement. And you’ve no doubt heard how these fundamental changes to the salary grid will allow UM to compete nationally and internationally for talent, addressing recruitment and retention challenges.

But the questions remain: How will the new salary structure work? And how will it actually impact the pay of UMFA members?

To answer those questions, we first need to take a dive into explaining the current salary structure, often referred to as status quo during bargaining. The current salary structure at UM has a number of elements:

  • Floors, being the minimum salary at which an UMFA member can be hired or paid when they are promoted to a higher rank.
  • Increments, being the annual performance increases that an UMFA member will receive to progress through their salary scale at their rank.
  • Maxima, being the point in salary where an UMFA member will no longer receive increments.
  • Thresholds, being the point at which the increment levels are reduced to slow down salary progression until the UMFA member reaches the maximum at their rank. There are currently 15 increments at every rank between floor and maxima, with nine full increments below the threshold and six reduced increments above the threshold.

Let’s use an example to show the impact of UM’s offer

Here’s what would happen to the assistant professor’s $100,000 salary at status quo – the current salary structure – versus UM’s current monetary offer:

Status quo or current salary structure:

Under the current agreement, the assistant professor at $100,000 salary is:

  • below the maximum of $109,558 but…
  • above the threshold of $97,386

In this scenario, the assistant professor with satisfactory performance will receive a reduced increment of $2,028 every year for the next three years. A full increment at this rank would be $2,705 and is only payable on salaries below $97,386.

UM’s monetary offer:

UM’s offer is a three-year deal with general salary increases in every year, an increase of a minimum seven per cent of floors and maximas for all ranks (except senior instructors, who will see increases such that they are set at a level that is 20 per cent more than those for Instructor II) and the creation of 12 increments instead of 15. Using the same assistant professor making the same $100,000, here’s how UM’s offer would impact their pay:

In Year 1:

  • The thresholds are removed, so the assistant professor would get the full increment (currently $2,705) instead of the reduced increment (currently $2,028).
  • In addition, the number of increments between floor and maximum is reduced from 15 to 12, and the full increment would be increased to $3,256 (currently $2,705).

This means that instead of getting a reduced increment of $2,028, the assistant professor at $100,000 salary is getting an increment of $3,256, an extra $1,228 added to their salary in year 1 plus the general salary increase.

And now let’s discuss the general salary increase of 1.25% offered by UM in Year 1. The general salary increase is processed prior to the increment being added so the assistant professor would get another $1,250 added to their base salary, for a total increase of $4,506, or $2,478 in new money in Year 1.

In Year 2:

  • The number of increments between floor and maximum is reduced again from 12 to 10, so the full increment would now be $3,400 (currently $2,705).

This means that instead of getting an increment of $2,028 under status quo in Year 2, the assistant professor under the UM’s offer is getting an extra $1,372 added to their salary in a performance increment before any general salary increase is added.

Adding in the general salary increase of 1.5% offered by UM in Year 2 means the assistant professor would get another $1,567.59 added to their base salary, for another increase of $4,967.59, or $2,939.59 in new money in Year 2.

In Year 3:

  • This includes another general salary increase of 1.75% and the increments are also increased by 1.75%, so now at $3,460.

And the impact to the assistant professor’s salary is…

The assistant professor is now making $114,849.38 under UM’s offer, where they would have been making $106,084 under status quo.

With these changes together, the assistant professor would be making $8,765.38 more than they would under status quo, receiving an 8.77% increase in new money over three years and an overall increase of 14.85%.

How does that compare to assistant professor salaries in the U15?

The median salaries for assistant professors within the U15 range from $94,925 to $135,450. Under the UM’s proposal, this assistant professor’s salary would be between the 25th and 50th percentile of the U15 by the end of the agreement. (See the chart on slide 6 of this presentation.)

Salary calculator

The impact of these changes will vary for different ranks and current salaries, so the salary calculator is an important tool to see the full effect of these changes.


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