The long-fought contract negotiations at Community College of Philadelphia are officially over.
Faculty and support staff this week ratified tentative agreements that grant workers raises ranging from 3 percent to 5 percent in the final three years of the six-year pact, said John Braxton, co-president of the 1,200-member union.
The agreement also struck compromises on health-insurance options and contributions and — perhaps the most contentious issue — the administration’s attempt to increase faculty workload. The administration wanted new faculty to teach two more courses per year for a total of 10.
The new agreement says they will teach one with the option of more. Current faculty members will continue to have the option of teaching an additional course each semester for additional pay; about a third already do.
Under the new pact, the minimum salary for a full-time faculty member with a master’s degree will rise to $52,089 this year and would reach $55,089 by year six, Braxton said. (New faculty who are required to teach the extra course would get $4,500 more.)
At the top of the scale, a full professor with a doctorate will earn $84,969 this year and $87,969 by year six, with the possibility of more for teaching additional courses.
“It sure was a long haul,” Braxton said. "Frankly, I think most of us in the faculty have mixed feelings about it."
Donald “Guy” Generals, college president, in a statement praised the pact and those who worked on it.
“I applaud the faculty, staff, and administrators who worked closely, over some very long nights, to reach agreements that are fair to employees and provide quality education for students," he said.
Union leaders were pleased to see hourly wages for some of their lowest-paid support staff raised to $15 by 2020; they will go even higher in the subsequent years of the pact, Braxton said.
Any increase in faculty workload, even if it was less than what the administration had proposed and only affects new faculty, is difficult to accept, Braxton said. But union leaders were reluctant to go on strike, which could have been lengthy and would have hurt students, he said.
The contract is retroactive and runs through August 2022. Members are currently in the third year and will get a 5 percent raise retroactive to Sept. 1, he said. They will get 3 percent in the next two years and 3.5 percent in the final year.
Also this week, Arcadia University adjunct faculty got their first contract, a three-year agreement that runs through December 2021. The agreement covers about 200 part-time adjunct faculty at the Glenside school, where they unionized about two years ago. It includes raises in each year, matching contributions toward retirement, and access to health benefits, said Paul Dannenfelser, organizer for United Academics of Philadelphia, a professional labor organization that advocates for adjuncts.
Some also will get longer work contracts rather than just working semester to semester, he said.