Sometimes it pays to be a socialist. Under a collective agreement negotiated between the provincial New Democrat caucus and the British Columbia Government Employees Union Local 701 back in September 2001, caucus communications and research officers earn between $42,223.82 and $59,481.51 annually - depending on their seniority. By comparison, Liberals staffers earn considerably less. How much less is one of the Campbell administration's many secrets. But those in the know report the Liberal's non-unionized research officers make between $30,000 and $40,000 and their communications officers make around $45,000.
Of course, having unionized employees also means the New Democrats can afford fewer hacks. The Liberal's communications and research offices have around eight staffers each, including managers and assistants. The New Democrat offices, on the other hand, will only have five staffers each when all the hiring is said and done. The following is a complete copy of the caucus staff wage scale included in the collective agreement.
Rates of Pay Communications/Research Officer
Step 1 - $1,481.76
Step 2 - $1,571.43
Step 3 - $1,681.68
Rates of Pay Senior Research Officer
Step 1 - $1,997.00
Step 2 - $2,123.42
Step 3 - $2,279.97