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NORMAL - Heartland Community College instructors gave the final OK on Tuesday for a four-year contract.

"It was a nearly unanimous vote," said Betty Pilchard, faculty union president. Heartland Faculty Association Local 6038 represents the college's 75 full-time faculty members at Heartland's three campuses in Normal, Lincoln and Pontiac.

Now, the only hurdle remaining is ratification by the college's board of trustees.

That vote should happen during the board's Dec. 13 meeting, said Cindy Brand, board chairwoman.

Originally on the board's November meeting agenda, the vote was delayed to wait for union approval, she said.

The administration and union officials say the collective bargaining agreement addresses salaries, work overload, summer pay and issues of equity and compensation.

Other details of the agreement won't be released until after the board OKs the document, said Pilchard.

Of the 52 teachers who are officially union members, 49 cast ballots during a Tuesday afternoon voting period at the Normal campus, said Pilchard.

Though she said the 49 who voted "overwhelmingly" favored the agreement, she said union policy didn't allow her to release how many voted for the agreement.

The full-time faculty has been working without a contract since June 30.

Amid negotiations, the union filed an intent to strike notice Oct. 10. Both sides agreed to mediation, however, so no strike action was taken, said Pilchard.

The board and the union announced the tentative agreement Oct. 18.

At the time, President Jon Astroth described the document as a reasonable contract with good terms and conditions that both parties could accept.

He was unavailable for comment Tuesday.

The faculty group is part of the Illinois Federation of Teachers/American Federation of Teachers and the AFL-CIO.

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