Illinois Valley Community College’s teachers' union believes their trust was betrayed by college administration during negotiations.
President of American Federation of Teachers Local 1810 Steve Alvin spoke from a prepared statement during the IVCC board's Thursday night meeting expressing disappointment with college administration when a previously closed gap with regards to overload compensation between full-time faculty and part-time faculty was once again widened.
Overload compensation is extra money paid to faculty for teaching more classes than their required credits per year.
Alvin said closing the gap in compensation was one of the main issues of negotiations in the summer and to see it “being made wider” was the opposite of what the negotiation team was told prior to the final tentative agreement.
“If administration wanted to increase the compensation for part-timers, all they had to do was bring it up in negotiations and we could have worked to reach a fair and equitable solution,” Alvin said. “The local (union) feels that this goes against most of the college’s core values. It shattered the trust we had been trying to restore over the past four years.”
Alvin said tension began four years ago when the college tried to change the conditions of health insurance after negotiating just a few months earlier, which he said led to “bitterness” that remains today.
The negotiations this summer saw the union asking for moving lab and clinic hours closer to 1-for-1 to "follow the national trend" and the elevated overload compensation so it was more in line with peers at other colleges.
Alvin said the union settled for only slight movement on labs and clinicals as well as lifting the overload compensation not to that of their peers but only to that of part-time faculty.
Alvin said the frustration is not directed at part-time faculty, and said he hopes they do get the raise, but rather with the administration.
"Our frustration comes from what we perceive to be a continuing pattern of lack of respect from the administration," Alvin said. "While the administration talks about the importance of shared governance and that they value their faculty, their actions often belie that. The decision to increase the compensation of part-timers coming on the heels of a contract that many perceived was not fair and equitable was the tipping point."
Alvin ended his statement saying he hopes the trust can be rebuilt and that the administration will show a willingness to work honestly and sincerely to reestablishing trust.
The IVCC board exited into a lengthy executive session and Board Chairwoman Jane Goetz read a prepared statement from the board.
"The Illinois Valley Community College board and administration are appreciative of the feedback we received this evening and remain committed to valuing all college employees; that is where we thought we were when both parties ratified the current three-year agreement. We bargained collectively in good faith with the union and believe our salaries are competitive and our benefits favorable to many of our peer community colleges. We are committed to our core values of responsibility, caring, honesty, fairness and respect. The board asked the administration to gather more information going forward. And once that information is presented, we will work toward closure of this matter."