PONTIAC — Heartland Community College administrators and faculty representatives will meet with a mediator Tuesday in hopes of reaching agreement on a new contract.
The current contract, covering 89 full-time faculty members, expired June 30.
The contract talks are at an impasse, according to Jane Camp, a spokeswoman for Heartland Faculty Association, Local 6038 of the Illinois Federation of teacher.
Heartland President Rob Widmer said, “I would hope the mediation can result in a positive outcome for all concerned.”
The faculty is seeking a pay increase of 4.75 percent while the college administration has offered a pay hike of 1 percent for the current year and 0.5 percent for next year, said Camp, an associate professor of art. She said faculty members at other Illinois community colleges are getting raises of 3 percent to 4 percent.
Faculty pay depends on years of experience and what type of degree a person has. The average contract-based salary for fiscal year 2015 for full-time, nine-month faculty is $62,948, according to college officials.
About a dozen faculty members attended the Heartland board of trustees meeting in Pontiac on Tuesday night, sitting silently with signs. The signs read “No to 1 percent,” “1 admin for every 1.33 faculty” and “We support the HFA proposal.” About 20 to 25 held signs at the board's September meeting in Normal.
“We don't consider there's been movement” by the administration, said Glen Bush, distinguished professor of English and co-president of the union. “We have come down from our initial offer.”
However, Widmer said, “There was movement on our part. … We won't put an adjective on it.”
He declined further comment on the negotiations.
Much of Tuesday night's meeting focused on financial uncertainties caused by the budget impasse in Springfield and how to address that without hurting “student success.”
Camp expressed frustration that “they haven't once mentioned any faculty” in discussing “student success.”
“We're on the front line,” she said.
Although faculty members were not specifically mentioned during the meeting, board members and administrators did refer to “staff” and “employees.”
Bush said he is among three professors at or near the top of the pay scale who will be retiring at the end of the year, and their salaries total nearly $300,000. They already have been told that the courses they taught will be revamped and broken up among younger professors or adjunct faculty, he said.
Camp said the savings from those retirements would be enough to cover the cost of the pay raise being sought by faculty.