Grand Rapids Community College faculty voted to approve the contract at the closed Faculty Association meeting today.
“The vote today covers all the tentative agreements to date,” said Faculty Association President Fred van Hartesveldt. “It includes a merit system. It includes significant financial concessions. The merit system is incomplete, so those negotiations will continue.”
After nearly two years without a contract, there is still disagreement among faculty members.
“I don’t think it’s a good contract,” said Keith St. Clair, Political Science professor. “I think it creates a two-tier system for new faculty…(There will be) different anticipated pay than what senior faculty could make in the past.”
While faculty members expressed concerns about the contract, a majority felt that approving it was their best option.
“I think that we have worked hard to reach a place that works for both sides,” said Frank Conner, head of the Psychology Department.
“Obviously, from our side, we would like things a little differently, and I’m sure they would, too. Everybody wants more money…Everybody wants more freedom.”
GRCC President Steven Ender said he was encouraged by the vote.
“I’m pleased that the faculty has approved of the work we have done, so I think it ‘s a good day for the college,” Ender said.
After the faculty approval, the contract must be approved by the GRCC Board of Trustees. The earliest this would take place is at the March meeting.