MOLINE-- Anticipation is at an all time high in the President's Board Room at Black Hawk College as the board of eight take a vote.
"The motion is carried. The contract is approved," announces board chairman Richard Fiems.
After almost a year of negotiating, Black Hawk College teachers and the board of trustees finally agree on a contract. The trustees vote, unanimous.
"Clearly we're very pleased, and we'll move on here and build up the college," says Black Hawk physics professor Douglas Davidson.
After threatening to go on strike last week, the two sides came to a tentative deal. But it needed formal approval from teachers and the board before it became official. On Monday night teachers and trustees said yes to a four year contract, giving teachers a raise.
"There will be a small raise in the first year of the contract, then it gets progressively bigger as we move to years two, three and four," says Black Hawk business professor and union representative Acie Earl.
Some key elements of the new contract include a four-year term, and an overall pay scale increase of:
- FY 2018: $750 flat increase year one
- FY 2019: $1150 flat increase year two
- FY 2019: 2.9% increase
- FY 2020: 3.0% increase
Exact raise percentage is still not being publicly released.Chairman Fiems says any raise is hard for a school in Illinois.
"The state's not in the past been there. They took two years and said goodbye. That has a definite impact on how we have to do things," says Fiems.
But Professor Earl says the raise is necessary.
"We have not been competitive with our peer groups. That's stressful when other colleges that have the same fiscal constraints that Black Hawk has," says Earl.
Overall both sides are just happy to get things back to the way they were.
"Time to move on. We have bigger fish to fry right now," says Chairman Fiems.
"The great news is it's over, and we have a four year contract, and we now can get back to what we do best, and that's teaching our students," says Professor Earl.
The wait is over.