Unlike last time around, a tentative agreement for a new faculty contract at Elgin Community College was reached fairly smoothly, officials said Friday.
Negotiating teams for the college's faculty association -- which represents 526 part-time and full-time instructors -- and the board of trustees reached a tentative agreement on Thursday for a new three-year contract.
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Details of the agreement will not be released until it is ratified by union members and the board, said Jeff Julian, ECC's executive director of communications.
Negotiations began in early September. The faculty contract expires Dec. 31.
"It was a good process. Both teams worked very hard," Julian said.
Lori Clark, communications liaison for the faculty association's negotiating team, agreed.
"The process was a lot smoother than the last time," she said. "I think that both teams were really dedicated to getting the contract completed before it expired."
Tensions had escalated in spring 2011 over a proposed salary freeze for faculty, and instructors were prepared to walk out before an agreement was reached.
Under the current contract, full-time instructors received raises for years of experience and academic credits earned. Part-timers got either 2 percent raises, or 1 percent raises plus compensation for experience and academic credit.
In a news release, ECC Board Chairwoman Donna Redmer said, "We are pleased to have reached a tentative agreement with our faculty members, so we can continue to work together on student success."
ECC employees include about 141 full-time and 385 part-time faculty members, Julian said. The average salary for full-time faculty is $89,386, he said.
The faculty association will schedule a meeting in January to ratify the agreement, Clark said. Faculty gets back to work after the Christmas break on Jan. 9, she said.
"We would like to try to do it before the 9th, but with the holidays it's very difficult to get together people," she said.
The union meeting will be followed by final ratification by the ECC board.