COD faculty expected to reject contract

 
 
Posted5/11/2012 5:03 PM
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  • College of DuPage Faculty Association President Glenn Hansen speaks to COD President Robert Breuder and the board of trustees Thursday when the board voted 4-3 to impose a contract on the 295-member union. On Friday, faculty members were taking a formal vote on the pact, with all indications they would reject it.

      College of DuPage Faculty Association President Glenn Hansen speaks to COD President Robert Breuder and the board of trustees Thursday when the board voted 4-3 to impose a contract on the 295-member union. On Friday, faculty members were taking a formal vote on the pact, with all indications they would reject it. Mark Black | Staff Photographer

College of DuPage faculty members voted Friday on a contract that the school's board of trustees imposed on them the night before.

While the results won't be known for at least 10 days because of absentee voting, the union representing the 295 full-time employees is predicting the pact will be rejected by its membership.

"In a straw poll of 80 percent of our faculty, 92 percent said 'No way,'" Glenn Hansen, president of the College of DuPage Faculty Association, said.

Also on Friday, union representatives met with lawyers to see if there's a legal way to force the college back to the negotiating table.

"We don't believe we're at impasse," Hansen said. "They (board members) declared it."

Hansen was referring to COD President Robert Breuder's comments on Thursday night that the union provided "no indication they want to sit down and truly negotiate."

"We believe we're finished," Breuder said.

As a result, college trustees voted 4-3 to impose the three-year deal that would reduce summer pay and require professors who teach lab classes to spend additional time in the classroom. The pact also calls for faculty salary increases that average 3.4 percent a year over the course of the contract.

But Hansen said it wasn't necessary for trustees to approve a contract now. He said college and union representatives met as recently as May 4 with a federal mediator.

"We were still making concessions," Hansen said. "We thought there was progress being made."

COD officials plan to implement the contract May 28.

Hansen said faculty members considered refusing to vote on the contract but decided to go ahead. Their formal vote was taken Friday.

"We felt if we reject it, that gives us a stronger stand legally to say, 'This has been rejected. Let's come back to the table,'" Hansen said.

Whether both sides return to the negotiating table remains to be seen.

COD spokesman Joe Moore on Friday said the college's "best and final offer" has been approved by board. But he added, "The college team remains willing and available to meet and discuss the full-time faculty's interests."

One "huge" issue with the contract that Hansen says must be addressed is a requirement that faculty members give up their right to bargain for future changes in health care. "Once we give it away, we won't be able to get it back," he said.

Hansen said the entire negotiation would have been different if the administration had worked with the faculty. "But the way things are done at the college now, their intent was to get as much out of us as they could," he said.

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