Locals 70, 73, & 74: Compensation Alignment (Wage Parity) Process

This is an update to provide you with the latest information on the Compensation Alignment (Wage Parity) Process agreed to in the most recent round of bargaining.

November 2022, 1.5% Advance Payment.

As you know, the Employer is obligated to pay a 1.5% advance payment to eligible classifications toward parity. That payment will be made retroactive to the date of ratification of the agreement (November 2022). And it will be made to qualified or partially qualified classifications who are not already highest paid in the province.

Should a portion of the parity advance put a classification equal to the highest paid in the province, then that classification will only receive that portion necessary to reach the highest pay.

Under the terms of the Compensation Alignment Process, your Employer and the NSGEU were required to meet to determine the rates of pay that should be used for comparison purposes. While both parties agree to several factors, including the use of the top-step hourly rate and not including Employment Insurance earnings, we disagree on other factors.

For example, the compensation must consider the varying vacation rates of pay in place in each Regional Centre for Education. The Employer has calculated a value for vacation pay that the Union believes is a disadvantage to AVRCE, Tri County and SSRCE members.

The Employer has also chosen so far not to include an evaluation for pensions when determining total compensation for comparison. Again, the Union believes this places your local at a disadvantage when the comparisons are completed.

The Union is not willing to agree to a calculation of total compensation for comparison with other RCEs that could see your bargaining unit members receive less money through the wage parity process.

As a result, despite ongoing meetings and efforts by both sides, the parties are in dispute over how to calculate total compensation. Fortunately, the Compensation Alignment Process anticipated this and allows the parties to take this dispute to an arbitrator.

NSGEU informed the Department of Education this week that it wishes to refer this matter to an independent arbitrator for a final decision on total compensation. While the Union recognizes this will mean a delay in eligible classifications receiving the 1.5% advance payment, we believe it is necessary in order to achieve the best possible outcome resulting in the most potential compensation for members.

Given that the payments will be made retroactively, the Union believes this is the right step to take on member’s behalf.

April 1, 2023 parity payment and March 31, 2024 parity payment.

Any classifications which are not paid at the top rate in the province following the application of the 1.5% Advance Payment are eligible to receive further increases that will bring them to parity with the highest paid in the province.

Effective April 1, 2023 the parties agreed to adjust the hourly rate for these classifications so that it would bridge half of the remaining gap with the top rate. And then on March 31, 2024, the eligible classifications will receive the remaining amount required to achieve the top rate.

The April 1, 2023 payment is delayed until such time as the parties resolve their difference on total compensation.

We recognize this results in a delay in receiving your adjustment. However, if the Union is successful in arbitration it could result in higher retroactive wage increases for members.

How much longer will this take?

The Compensation Alignment process has a clause that requires the parties to make best efforts to complete the process no later than August 30, 2023. The Union, therefore, will be proposing an Arbitration take place no later than mid June with a decision shortly thereafter. This will ensure the Union and Employer can properly prepare their cases.

It should be noted that the collective agreement required the employer to increase rates of pay with a 3% economic adjustment on April 1, 2023. That adjustment is a standard wage increase for all employees that does not impact the Wage Parity Process.

April 1, 2023, one dollar an hour for those under $20.

The Union is working with employer to have this addressed as soon as possible. The Union does not see any reason for this payment to be delayed or included in the compensation comparison.

Further updates will follow. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the NSGEU.

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