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updated: 8/14/2014 1:52 PM

ECC board approves support staff contract

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  • Vicki Bethke, president of the Support Staff of Elgin Community College Association, thanks trustees for their decision to keep the college's existing custodial workers at a June meeting.

       Vicki Bethke, president of the Support Staff of Elgin Community College Association, thanks trustees for their decision to keep the college's existing custodial workers at a June meeting.
    John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • David Sam

      David Sam

 
 

The Elgin Community College Board this week approved a three-year contract for support services granting employees a more than 3 percent salary increase each year.

The college began negotiations in April with the Support Staff of Elgin Community College Association. A tentative agreement was reached July 16. The union's roughly 400 members reviewed and ratified the agreement at meetings held later that month.

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"Both teams put a lot of time and effort into negotiations to reach a fair agreement for both sides," school board chairwoman Donna Redmer said in a news release.

Under the terms of the agreement, support staff members will receive a 3.65 percent increase this year, a 3.75 percent increase in 2015, and a 4 percent increase in 2016. Members in the lowest salary grades will receive an additional increase bringing them up to a minimum wage of $10.50 per hour.

The salary increases will cost the college $2.92 million over the three-year period. ECC's total budget for fiscal year 2014 is $137 million, officials said.

This contract comes after controversy erupted over the college administration considering outsourcing custodial services.

In June, the college board decided to hire an outside firm to manage custodial services, without laying off existing employees. Union officials said at the time that a majority of custodial workers made less than $10 an hour.

"I am pleased we were able to raise the minimum wage for employees at ECC," President David Sam said. "Our support staff union members are a vital part of providing a world-class educational experience for our students."

The contract includes a change in payment for health and dental insurance. Union members will assume a greater share of the expense of their own coverage -- 11 percent of the cost the first year; 12 percent in the second year; and 13 percent in the final year. That's an increase from the previous contract of 5 percent, 7.5 percent, and 10 percent, respectively.

The contribution rate for family coverage also will increase to 21 percent in the second year and 22 percent in the third year -- an increase from the current contribution rate of 20 percent.

The new contract expires June 30, 2017.

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