News | Tensions resurface between MUNACA and McGill

Salaries and raises for top administrators revealed

McGill’s non-academic workers’ union, MUNACA, released a statement last week accusing the McGill administration of violating Bill 100 and revealed the salaries of the university’s senior administration.

Adopted in June 2010 by the Quebec National Assembly, Bill 100 is aimed at reducing the province’s debt. Among its provisions, the act stipulates a decrease in university administration expenditures for universities across the province.

The administration and MUNACA signed a collective agreement earlier this summer after a six-month strike by the union. Days later, the administration announced a cut in support staff to reduce administrative spending.

According to the University, the cuts are being made to bring McGill’s budget in line with Bill 100.

“McGill, earlier this summer, put out a notice saying that they [were] required by law to cut down on the support staff, including MUNACA, and that they were going to do it by attrition. We were surprised by this since our members are decreasing anyway,” MUNACA VP Finance David Kalant told The Daily.

To verify whether the administration itself was complying with Bill 100, MUNACA filed an Access to Information request asking for a list of salaries, bonuses, and travel expenses of senior administration members for 2009, 2010, and 2011.

The document provided to MUNACA shows salary increases for McGill’s top executives from 2009 to 2011 of up to nine per cent.

Among the largest salary increases was that of Provost Anthony Masi, whose salary went from $301,661 in 2009 to $330,000 in 2011. Similarly, Associate Vice-Principal (Human Resources) Lynne B. Gervais’s salary increased from $228,218 in 2009 to $246,475 in 2011.

The document also reveals that Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning) Morton Mendelson received a raise of 3.4 per cent from 2009 to 2011. Principal Heather Munroe-Blum’s salary went from $358,173 to $369,250 in the same period.

The salary for the VP Finance position, which was held by three different people in the three years covered by the documents, also increased by 7.4 per cent.

McGill administrators also received extra payments for “other elements” that range from 0.6 per cent to 33.6 per cent of administrator salaries. According to Gervais, these include “employer-paid life insurance premiums, tuition subsidies and financial advising fees, the value of an interest-free loan, car and housing allowances, or other forms of cash compensation not included in the base salary.”

MUNACA issued a press release accusing the administration of not complying with Bill 100, as the bill sets a 0.5 per cent salary increase restriction.

Gervais told The Daily in an email that the University has not violated Bill 100 because the additional remunerations come from performance-based evaluations done in the 2008-2009 academic year. Article 8 of the bill stipulates that organizations may give executives or managers performance-based raises if the performance evaluation took place in a fiscal year starting no later than 2009.

“The only way that managers (M-class employees) and executives at McGill receive salary increases is through a merit process, as opposed to automatic annual salary increases or an annual bump-up to the next step of the salary scale,” explained Gervais.

“The merit increase paid during fiscal year 2010-11 – the first year covered by Bill 100 – was based on performance from June 1, 2008 to November 30, 2009, and thus is in agreement with Article 8 of the Bill,” she said.

MUNACA President Kevin Whittaker wrote a letter to the Minister of Education, Leisure and Sports raising questions over the way McGill is seeking to comply with the bill.

“Although your Ministry does have guidelines recommending cuts by attrition to support staff, our understanding of the stated purpose of Bill 100 is to cut spending at the more senior management and executive levels,” wrote Whittaker.

The union has not yet received a response.