COD Approves3-Year Faculty Deal

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Byline: Christopher Placek By Christopher Placek

When they arrive to the classroom Tuesday morning, College of DuPage's full-time faculty members will be working under a new contract.

The college's board of trustees voted 7-0 to ratify the three-year agreement Monday, bringing to an end 16 months of contentious negotiations in which college administrators and faculty association officials haggled over salaries for summer and lab classes, and debated the degree to which teachers should have input in changes to insurance plans.

College officials argued the old faculty contract didn't make fiscal sense in the current economy, while the faculty said they weren't being presented a fair deal and were being treated differently than other union groups at COD.

Last week, members of the faculty union voted 196-54 to ratify the agreement. That represents 86 percent of the 292-member union membership who cast a ballot, according to association President Glenn Hansen.

The faculty had overwhelmingly rejected the administration's "best and final offer" last month that the college's board of trustees voted 4-3 to impose on the faculty beginning May 29. Just days before the agreement was set to take effect, negotiating teams from both sides worked out a tentative deal, which now takes effect after the approval by union membership and the college board.

But there still doesn't appear to be flowers and rainbows on COD's campus.

Hansen said Monday faculty members would have voted down the latest agreement by wide margins had he and members of their negotiating team not shown that "this is all there is without a strike" -- an action the faculty had long rejected.

"There's a lot of tension at school here. This is not kiss and make up. They do not understand what happens in the classroom, and they don't respect us," Hansen said.

COD President Robert Breuder said he's ready to build a "new relationship" with faculty and called the resulting agreement a "good outcome."

He said the college presented its "best and final offer" to move along the process since there had been "no end in sight," but they were still willing to negotiate. There have been several key changes to the agreement since the college board approved it May 10, in which the three trustees previously endorsed by the union voted against it.

Summer pay

Under the new contract, all faculty members will be paid 23 percent of their base salary to teach summer classes -- the current rate -- but that amount will vary in later years of the agreement, depending on a teacher's level of experience.

Beginning in the summer of 2013, faculty members will be paid two times the faculty overload rate, which is $951 per contact hour -- the amount of time an instructor is in the classroom. That means newer instructors could be getting a pay boost, while more experienced teachers will have a pay cut. For example, someone making a base salary of $60,000 could be paid $5,000 for summer instruction, while someone making $100,000 could lose $5,000, Breuder said. …