Posted: Friday, November 30, 2012
Since 2011, the Board of Trustees of Rock Valley College and the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police ("FOP") have been negotiating a successor collective bargaining agreement for the College's Police Officers. The College's Negotiation Team has worked with the FOP in an effort to reach a fair agreement on the terms for the successor contract, including participation in several mediation sessions with a neutral mediator. While the parties have reached a tentative agreement on several contract terms, they remain divided on wage increases and contributions toward insurance premiums.
During the course of negotiations, the College has sought to maintain fair salary levels while providing a more equitable health insurance benefit plan which is effectively equal to the other employee groups on campus. Despite rising expenses, and declining revenues; and despite the continued difficult economic times and unpredictability of future revenues, the College has committed to providing salary increases to the College's officers over the life of the contract. The College's proposals with respect to health insurance benefits only seeks to increase employee contributions to equal the contribution levels currently being paid by members of the College's other bargaining unit and employee groups.
Unfortunately, the FOP rejected the College's proposals. On October 24th, the College gave notice to the FOP that impasse had been reached, and that the College would implement its last best offer over impasse, unless the FOP accepted the last best offer on or before the Board meeting of Nov 27th, 2012. The FOP did not respond, and the Board acted to implement the College's last best offer over impasse at its regular meeting of November 27, 2012. The new contract will take effect on December 7, 2012.
The implemented contract includes a total wage increase of $35,223.00, or $3,522.00 per Officer over the life of the contract. Between June 30, 2011 and July 1, 2014, the salary for newly hired Officers will increase from $32,929.00 to $35,500.00. In addition, officers working between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. will now receive $.35 per hour which is up from the previous $.30 per hour. The total cost of the wage increases will result in an average wage increase of 9.25% for the officers over the life of the contract. In contrast, the last salary proposal offered by the FOP was approximately $66,000.00 higher than the College's Last Best Offer.
With respect to insurance, the Officers' health insurance contributions, deductibles, co-insurance and co-pays will now be the same as for members of the College's other bargaining unit and all other employee groups.
The College has and will continue to comply with its bargaining obligations under Illinois law.