Friday, February 28, 2014

Demanding a fair wage based on Market Studies

I have to confess a bias right from the start.  I work in Information Technology and confess to writing my first computer program using both mark-sense cards and a key-punch machine at the tender age of 16.  I'll let you all do the math to guess my age.  Nevertheless one could say that I've been working within Information Technology for a while.  During the time that I've worked in the Information Technology Industry I've seen enormous change.  I've also seen the enormous and almost invisible impact that Information Technology has on our daily lives.  I say almost invisible because it is ubiquitous it is everywhere and seen nowhere.  Even if we hold it in the palm of our hands we fail to see that it was innovation within the Information Technology industry that allows us to speak to people thousands and thousands of kilometres away as if they were standing right next to you or perform intensive computational feats beyond the scale of any computing platform that I learnt on. 

That ubiquitousness is very much a plus to the public but it is also very much a minus to information technology workers in the OPS.  While we all accept and embrace the use of information technologies in our everyday lives, the public fails to understand or value,  the knowledge, training, and talent that goes into making all that possible.

It would appear too that the Employer also fails to understand that all of its services and programs available to the public and the bureaucracy are there because of information technology, because of the decades of accumulated knowledge, the years of training, the information strategies and architectures that provide the planning foundation for the millions upon millions of lines of software code written by a highly intelligent -- and mobile workforce.  That workforce, especially when there is an uptick in the economy and the private sector decides to spend money, are quickly courted and romanced with generous bonuses and benefits. 

The Employer seems to have forgotten the real value of the Information Technology worker to its ability to implement policies and provide services to the people of Ontario or even to the day to day running of government.  Otherwise why would it force below market salaries onto its information technology workers and risk alienating them.  Is it arrogance or ignorance?  

During the last Collective Agreement information technology workers and their contribution and importance to the delivery of services to the public and the bureaucracy was  disrespected and disregarded by the Employer when AMAPCEO was forced to concede to a set of pay levels based on what is now widely regarded as an incompetently implemented job evaluation system. For comparative purposes I am including a excerpt from the salary scale under which information technology workers are graded and paid.   

I have also included a table from a salary guide report authored by a very influential and respected company that regularly comments on, amongst other things, the salary outlooks for workers across many business sectors and regions. But first is the pay scales imposed by the Employer during the last round of bargaining. Most AMAPCEO represented technology workers fall into the level 6 category with a handful of outliers falling into level 7.

Government of Ontario IT 2013 Salary Guide
Classification Levels               2013

5  $64,605  $  90,300
6  $69,680  $  99,600
7  $75,000  $105,740
8  $85,000  $116,210

You can see for yourself how ridiculously low the Employer compensates information technology workers compared to what those information technology workers could be paid in the private sector.

Robert Half Technology 2014 Salary Guide
Job Title             2013                     2014 % Change
Database Manager $96,500 $129,250 $102,000 $136,500 5.8%
Database Developer $77,500 $109,250 $  82,750 $116,500 6.7%
Database Administrator $77,000 $105,000 $  81,000 $110,500 5.2%
Data Analyst/Report Writer $68,750 $  94,500 $  72,250 $  99,250 5.1%
Data Architect $97,250 $132,750 $104,000 $142,000 7.0%
Data Modeler $81,250 $110,500 $  85,750 $116,750 5.6%
Data Warehouse Manager $93,750 $126,500 $  99,250 $133,750 5.8%
Data Warehouse Analyst $86,000 $117,000 $  91,000 $123,750 5.8%
Business Intelligence Analyst $76,000 $105,750 $  81,750 $113,750 7.6%
Portal Administrator  $68,000 $  92,500 $  71,500 $  97,250 5.1%
Quality Assurance (QA) & Testing (c)
ONTesting Manager $76,750 $102,750 $  80,500 $107,750 4.9%
QA Associate/Analyst  $64,500 $  90,250 $  67,250 $  94,250 4.4%
Internet & E-Commerce (d)
Senior Web Developer $84,750 $109,500 $  89,750 $116,000 5.9%
Web Developer $62,000 $  89,750 $  65,750 $  95,250 6.1%
Web Administrator $62,250 $  81,750 $  64,500 $  84,500 3.5%
Web Designer $65,250 $  90,000 $  69,000 $  95,250 5.8%
Electronic Data Interchange (ED I) Specialist $66,250 $  92,000 $  69,750 $  96,750 5.2%
E-Commerce Analyst $66,000 $  94,750 $  69,750 $100,250 5.8%
Messaging Administrator $63,500 $  80,000 $  67,000 $  84,500 5.6%

Now in the current round of negotiations the Employer will place even more pressure on the Association to keep the salaries scales where they are, to trim back your benefits to a point where they are laughable, and to NOT provide any merit incentives to even employees deemed “fully effective” by their managers. Under this proposal, only those that the Employer deems to be the very highest performers would be rewarded with a merit increase, reduced from current levels. Moreover, the Employer is pushing to eliminate the majority of your current paramedical provisions, and drastically reduce the eligible drugs the plan will pay for.

Meanwhile, private sector information technology workers enjoy market rate salaries, pay for performance bonuses, good health-care benefits, and year-end bonuses that number in the thousands of dollars or tens of thousands of dollars.  All the while you are stuck at a below market salary.

Should you be angry with the Employer's attempt to decimate your benefits package, and to continue to again freeze your salary -- up to you but I am mad as hell and am not going to take it!  Make your voice heard and your presence felt!

Post the AMAPCEO posters and fly the AMAPCEO flag at your desk, Wear the AMAPCEO lanyard and badges to meetings.  Make the employer aware that you too are as mad as hell and aren't going to take it any more.  You gave at the office last time! 

If you have any questions and comments about bargaining direct them to



    If you are as mad as James, maybe you will want to sign the pledge to tell the employer and your associates that you are IN

    1. I am angry although some may say there is a touch of madness in me. I've signed the pledge! I encourage everyone to do the same.