Thursday's meeting of the College of DuPage board of trustees started with the college's annual recognition of "outstanding faculty" award winners.
But the pleasantries ended there.
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The college's board of trustees voted 4-3 to impose a contract on the school's 295 full-time faculty members even though the union membership didn't approve the deal.
The three-year agreement would cut summer pay and require professors who teach lab classes to spend more time in the classroom -- some of the concessions administrators say they proposed to help cut the college's costs in a difficult economy.
In exchange, they offered a pool of salary increases to the faculty that averages 3.4 percent over the course of the contract.
But members of the union say they've been given an unfair deal that asks more from them than other groups at the college -- including administrators.
College of DuPage Faculty Association President Glenn Hansen called the contract approval "an authoritarian style of management." He said a faculty contract has never been imposed in the school's history.
After two hours of public comment from faculty and residents, the board went into a 1½-hourlong executive session to discuss the contract behind closed doors.
The three board members who had been endorsed by the faculty union at election time -- Dianne McGuire, Nancy Svoboda and Kim Savage -- voted against the contract.
McGuire, herself a former faculty union leader in Naperville High School District 203, said she disagreed with changes in the contract that would make lab, clinic or studio classes equate to 80 percent of a lecture class, beginning in the fall of 2013.
"That's real learning. It's the most powerful form of teaching," McGuire said.
COD President Robert Breuder said officials presented their "best and final offer" and brought the contract to the board Thursday because the union provided "no indication they want to sit down and truly negotiate."
"We believe we're finished," he said.
Faculty members were expected to take a formal vote on the contract Friday. Per union rules, absentee ballots can be cast for a 10-day period. The faculty senate will formally vote to certify the results May 30 -- two days after the contract will go into effect.
Hansen said the faculty is willing to work under the deal for now, but they still want to go back to the bargaining table. He said there were 19 items still on the table not agreed to -- so-called "poison pills" that he says would take away the faculty's input on curricular decisions, and the right to bargain for insurance.
"This is not an agreement. It's an imposition," he said.
Hansen said he and other union officials would be talking with their legal counsel Friday morning on possible legal action they could take.
Hansen has said the faculty does not favor a strike, though he said it is always an option, should a stalemate continue. He said most of the "damages" in the contract would take effect the fall of 2013.