A third party’s attempt to offer help with a contract dispute between Niagara County Community College and its faculty union has been accepted by the college’s board of trustees but rejected by the union.
A state fact-finder’s report received last week recommended wage increases or salary bonuses for seven of the last eight years and suggested changes to health insurance terms.
But the Faculty Association said the report ignored six other outstanding issues between the parties, including issues about class size and early retirement.
Thomas N. Rinaldo’s assertion in his report that “the parties essentially narrowed the open issues to wages and health insurance” was not accurate, said Joseph F. Colosi, head of the faculty union.
While those two issues are significant, Colosi said, they were not the only ones separating the parties from coming to a new contract, which the parties are in the eighth year of negotiating.
The union feels the report is “incomplete” and was disappointed the fact-finder “didn’t complete the task,” Colosi said.
In terms of wages, the report recommended:
• 2 percent raise effective September 2006, to come in the form of a bonus.
• 2 percent raise effective September 2007, half in the form of a bonus and half added to base salary.
• 3 percent raises effective September 2008, September 2009 and September 2010
• 2 percent raises effective September 2011 and September 2012.
• No raise effective September of this year.
In terms of health insurance, the report adopted the college’s proposal in its entirety, including requiring union members pay 10 percent of their health insurance premiums.
The report also recommended changes to retiree benefits, including establishing a minimum retirement age of 62 and requiring retirees to use Medicare Part B and a Medicare Advantage Plan upon reaching 65.
In addition, union members retiring after Aug. 31, 2013, would be required to pay for their own Medicare Part B subscription.
College President James P. Klyczek said his administration is happy with the report.
“We feel strongly that this report confirms that the college has been reasonable in its negotiations with the Faculty Association and we have put forth honest and robust efforts to reach a suitable agreement,” Klyczek said in a written statement.
Colosi said the union, whose board rejected the report Tuesday, has been told by the arbitrator that if wages and health insurance were taken care of, the other issues would “take care of themselves.”
The report, which was accepted by the college’s board of trustees on Monday, is nonbinding and still requires the two sides to come to an agreement.
Each side paid $6,000 for the fact-finder’s involvement and report.