Issues on the Table: Promotion Increments

Salary structures for university faculty typically include annual increments to recognise the increased knowledge and experience that comes with career progression. At some universities (e.g., the Universities of Alberta, Victoria, Manitoba, York, Guelph, Wilfrid Laurier, and even Laurentian), as with most private-sector workplaces, there are additional salary increases associated with promotion. This is not the case at the University of Lethbridge.

The Problem

Promotion for professors and librarians at the University of Lethbridge is incentivised with a “stick” but no “carrot”. If you remain at the same rank for too many years, you stop receiving regular increments for career progression. However, other than the symbolic gold star of a new title, there is no benefit associated with all the effort involved in either earning or making the case for a promotion. The salary floors for each rank are so low that in practice, they do not result in a boost to a member’s salary even if they move through the ranks very rapidly.

The Positions

ULFA has proposed that during the year in which a Member earns a promotion or tenure/continuing status, and during the subsequent year, they should receive a promotion increment in addition to the regular salary increments they would otherwise receive. The proposed value of a promotion increment is equal to the value of a Career Progress Increment, plus the value of a merit increment corresponding to a performance score of 2.0 (the highest score). The Board has rejected this proposal without suggesting alternative ways to recognize the effort required to earn promotion. 

ULFA’s proposal appears in Article 21 (Increments). Proposals on this article were presented at the negotiation table by ULFA on April 8, 2021 and by the Board on May 20, 2021. ULFA presented its proposal again on February 4, 2022