Crunching the Numbers: An expert guide to costing and total compensation

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Event date: 
Tuesday, December 8, 2015 (All day)
Name of Organization: 
Lancaster House
Contact Email: 
Sheraton Centre Hotel, Toronto

Crunching the Numbers: An expert guide to costing and total compensation
Tuesday, December 8, 2015, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Given that wages and benefits are a primary concern in collective bargaining, union and management representatives need to come to the table knowing what their proposals cost. In this workshop, experts will teach participants to cost proposals and guide them through exercises to develop their costing skills.·        

Initial considerations: How does the function of costing fit into a broader strategic approach to negotiations? How should negotiators factor workers' subjective valuations of benefits into their costing strategy? What information can union representatives reasonably request from employers to develop proposals for contract negotiation? When does refusal to provide the requested information constitute a failure to bargain in good faith? When is it justified? What are the advantages and disadvantages of using computer software in costing?·        

Total compensation: What is "total compensation"? How can parties calculate total compensation? How should parties use total compensation figures during bargaining? Should parties begin negotiations by agreeing to a total compensation cost that the employer is willing to pay? How are total compensation figures used in situations involving interest arbitration?·        

Costing wages: How are average wages calculated in a multi-tiered wage structure? How do overtime and holiday work schedules affect average cost per employee per hour? What about other indirect costs associated with increases in payroll, such as WSIB assessments? In a period of low inflation, is end-loading preferable to the front-loading of wage hikes? What are the current trends in wage increases? How should the parties undertake a useful comparison of wages between employees of different employers, given their different demographics?

Costing benefits: How should the cost of benefits be determined? How are intangible benefits, such as ongoing training, health and wellness programs, childcare facilities, gym, etc., calculated? In what areas are benefit costs rising? How can the cost of benefits be taken into account when negotiating other terms of the collective agreement, such as wage increases, so that both the employer and union are satisfied?·        

Ability to pay: How should the ability to pay factor into negotiations? What does an employer need to produce at the bargaining table or at arbitration to sustain a claim of inability to pay? How much weight have arbitrators attributed to statutory provisions that require a consideration of the employer's ability to pay in light of its fiscal situation? Are governments achieving their bargaining objectives in terms of containing public sector costs? How can unions structure their wage and benefit negotiations under the shadow of increased public sector cost restraints?