BY LOHR McKINSTRY Press-Republican
---- — ELIZABETHTOWN — After four years without a contract, North Country Community College faculty has a new five-year agreement that gives them raises in three of those years.
The previous contract expired Sept. 1, 2010, and the new one is retroactive to that date and runs until Aug. 31, 2015, but gives no raises for the 2010-11 and 2011-12 school years.
It includes a $1,950 pay increase for 2012-13, the current academic year; $975 for 2013-14; and $1,950 for 2014-15.
The contract is the result of tough economic times at North Country Community College, President Steve Tyrell told the Essex County Board of Supervisors Monday morning.
He said both the North Country Community College Association of Professionals, the union representing instructors at the college, and the NCCC Board of Trustees have OK’d the pact.
The Board of Supervisors unanimously passed it Monday, 16-0, with Supervisors Sue Montgomery Corey (D-Minerva) and Daniel Connell (D-Westport) absent.
Tyrell said he got approval for the agreement from the Franklin County Legislature on May 3.
The contract actually expired in 2009, Tyrell said, but was extended for one year so Interim President Fred Smith could try to negotiate it. That effort failed, and Tyrell said that after taking the college helm last year, he made it a priority to negotiate a new labor agreement.
“This contract represents about half what they’ve (faculty) received in the past,” he said. “They’ve been willing to work with us because they know we’re trying to advance the college.
“They understand the economic times. It’s important we all work together.”
Tyrell said the college doesn’t extend percentage raises but instead uses step increases that each full-time employee receives.
“We have a step system,” he said. “We now have a half-step value that was introduced.”
The half-step increases will be used in the next-to-last year of the contract, 2013-14.
“We’ve agreed to begin negotiations in the coming year on a new (salary) matrix,” Tyrell said. “In 2014, we’ll have (full) negotiations again.”
He said the union also gave back one-half sick day a month in its benefits package.
Employees now pay 25 percent of the cost of the health insurance when hired, 15 percent after the third year and 10 percent after four years on the job.
“Everyone participates in the cost of their health care,” NCCC Vice President for Fiscal Operations William Chapin said.
He said the requirement covers all employees, not just new hires.
Health-insurance costs are a big factor to any entity, Board of Supervisors Chair Randy Douglas (D-Jay) said.
The college had fully paid health insurance for some workers in a previous contract, which county leaders cautioned against.
“We’ve voiced our concerns to them (college officers),” Douglas said.
Tyrell said they are not seeking any additional funds from the sponsor counties to pay for the raises.
The college’s main campus is in Saranac Lake, and it has branches in Ticonderoga and Malone. NCCC has about 2,900 students and a 50-person professional staff.
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