You may or may not be surprised to know that at least a half dozen people have asked me to comment on the UNB strike. I have resisted because a) I know a pile of profs and may not be entirely neutral on the subject and b) I see the point of both sides of the argument.
But the data would suggest there are complexities associated with being located in an economically challenged province. From the National Household Survey we know that on average (or median), university professors/lecturers who work full time/full year earn less than their counterparts across the country. The chart shows an 8 percent premium (on median incomes) and an 11 percent on average incomes. These numbers are not particularly instructive as the union would have all this data parsed by tenure, discipline, etc. to show the most complete apples-to-apples comparison.
The second chart is a little more instructive as to the complexity of being a university prof in a weak economy. On a median income basis, university profs in New Brunswick earn a 120% wage premium over everyone else. On an average income basis a 91% premium. Both of these are well above the Canadian average. Adjusted for provincial income levels, university profs are doing better here – on average – than in Ontario, Alberta and BC. Again, the union I assume will have all the micro-market data and be able to compare apples-to-apples far better than the data out of the NHS. But it does shine a light on one of the complex aspects of this whole debate.