Grand Rapids Community College approves pay raises for 2 unions

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Grand Rapids Community College agreed to new contracts with two of its employee unions – the Police Officers Labor Council and College Employees Benefit Association.

The contracts include salary increases ranging from 1 to 2.5 percent. The Board of Trustees unanimously approved the agreements at its Monday, May 21, meeting.

“As a board, we are just incredibly appreciative and honored by the way these two negotiations came to completion,” GRCC Board of Trustees Chair David Koetje said.

Lisa Freiburger, vice president for finance and administration, said the total fiscal impact of both contract settlements is approximately $330,100 over the full contract periods.

The Police Officers Labor Council, which represents 11 officers and three dispatchers, has a four-year contract that runs from July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2022.

There is a 1.5 percent salary increase the first year, a 2.25 percent increase in the second and third year of the contract, and a 2.5 percent increase in 2021-22. 

“We thought it was a fair contract,” said Tony Myers, president of the Police Officers Labor Council, who said the ratification was unanimous. “The main thing was getting a wage increase.”

Eligible members will have an opportunity for step increases, based on performance, according to GRCC General Council Kathy Keating. She said in the third and fourth year of the contract, there will be a 25-cent per hour shift differential for second-shift officers and dispatchers.

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The College Employees Benefit Association (CEBA), which represents 72 operations and skilled trades employees, now has a three-year contract. The contract runs from July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2021.

CEBA operations members will receive a 1 percent salary increase in years one and two of the contract but see a salary freeze in 2020-21. There is a one-time stipend for operations employees at their top step of $2,320 in 2020-21, as well as a one-time stipend of $1,120 for employees eligible for steps.

Keating, who is on the negotiating team, said the college negotiated new salary schedule for operations employees hired after July 1, that will be set at 90 percent of the 2018-19 salary schedules.

“This was done with some joint benchmarking of compensation, so that we can have salary schedules that are competitive, not excessive, and fair to all employees,” she said.

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Skilled trades employees will receive a 1.5 percent salary increase each year of the contract. Employees at the top step will receive a one-time stipend of $1,000 in 2018-19. There will be step movement for all eligible employees during the contract, based on performance.

“We worked with our employees to arrive at contracts that are fair to them and fiscally responsible,” said Freiburger, who is a member of the negotiating team.

“We’re proud of our employees and the work they do. They are partners as we, together, serve the students and communities of West Michigan.”

Tom Vos, CEBA president, did not respond to a request for comment before publication.

The Board of Trustees approved a contract with the Faculty Association in December 2016 that runs through the 2018-19 school year.

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