Faculty Union Gets Official Nod From SMC Board

After eighteen months of negotiations and prior ratification by the faculty union, the Board of Trustees at Southwestern Michigan College has signed off on a collective bargaining agreement for full-time faculty members at the community college.

At its regular monthly board meeting this evening, the Southwestern Michigan College Board of Trustees unanimously approved that union agreement for full-time faculty.

The agreement, which is effective immediately and runs through June 30, 2023, has been the subject of negotiations between the College and the faculty association over the last year and a half. The 49-page agreement was approved by a vote of union members earlier this month.

SMC Board Chair Thomas Jerdon says, “This agreement is a fair compromise for both parties. It provides reasonable pay increases and job assurances for faculty while allowing the college to remain financially strong and flexible for the future.” Jerdon adds, “It represents good value for the citizen-owners of the College – our local taxpayers – and allows everyone at SMC to continue working together to provide affordable access to high-quality education, putting student success above everything else.”

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Effective with the new agreement, minimum salary levels for full-time faculty have been established based on their attained education level and number of service years. Each full-time faculty member will receive an individual employment contract of one, two or three years depending on their years of service.

Salary increases for those who are at or above the minimum salary levels for their educational level and years of service will be 2-percent for academic year 2020/2021, 3-percent for 2021/2022 and 3-percent for 2022/2023. A new vision care program for all college employees will begin in January. Beyond that, health care, dental and retirement benefits remain consistent with those offered to other full-time employees.

President David Mathews says, “I can say that both the college administration and the faculty union have invested tremendous time and energy in this process,” and concludes, “This contract is the result of good-faith bargaining by each side and provides an amicable resolution to all of the issues that were under discussion.”

The entire collective bargaining agreement will be posted this week in the “Taxpayer Information” section of the college’s web site (swmich.edu).