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COD, faculty reach tentative contract deal

College of DuPage administrators and faculty reportedly have reached an agreement and are expected to approve a contract in June, closing the book on 15 months of negotiations and heated public battles.

The new contract, which stalled over issues like summer pay, compensation for teachers who lead studios or labs, and the union’s right to negotiate health insurance, is expected to be approved by faculty members before the college’s board of trustees consider it at the June 18 meeting, said College of DuPage Faculty Association President Glenn Hansen.

The contract, finalized just after midnight Saturday, comes three days before the college planned to make the unusual move of imposing a contract its board approved in May. The faculty never approved it.

The contract the COD board approved May 10  included pay raises, but it also scales back benefits, cut pay for summer teaching and required teachers who lead labs or clinics to work more than those who lecture. Hansen said the college’s team also wanted to strike the union’s right to negotiate its health benefits.

“The increase workload for labs and the elimination of our right to bargain over insurance were major concerns for our membership that we had to work through in a manner that ensured equity and fairness.  We believe we accomplished that,” Hansen said in a prepared statement.

Since the last contract expired in August, faculty members have been working under its expired terms. This year, as negotiations continued and a mediator was brought in to oversee talks, faculty members had been packing College of DuPage’s board of trustees’ meetings to show solidarity against what they called unfair and disrespectful contract terms. College officials had said the trimmed back benefits were more fitting for the economic times. If a tentative agreement had not been reached, college officials planned to take steps to impose the contract on the faculty on May 28.

In a statement released by the college, COD President Robert Breuder said he “looks forward to working together going forward.”

“We believe this is a fair and competitive contract for our faculty that is fiscally responsible to the taxpayers. I appreciate all the hard work and commitment that both teams have demonstrated,” Breuder said.

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