After three years, the BCC faculty finally signs the contract//Illustration by Jessica Rodriguez

After three years, the BCC faculty finally signs the contract//Illustration by Jessica Rodriguez

By James O. Diaz, Staff Writer

The BCC faculty had encountered zero job security for nearly three years, as a result of working without a contract. Finally, on March 29, 2016, the BCCFA (BCC Faculty Association) voted on a new contract during a union meeting. The meeting comprised of the entire BCC full-time faculty, along with several Faculty Association representatives. When it came time to vote, the proposal was approved unanimously by voice vote by the faculty union members.

Several factors came into play that caused the three year delay to secure a contract.
One of the issues was a prior legal consultant who had no experience working with higher education. The college had hired Marvin Goldstein as a legal consultant and board negotiator back in 2013, and maintained the position for the duration of the calendar year.

Goldstein, an already retired lawyer, was often said to been hostile and worked unprofessionally.
“This thing got dragged out longer than anybody expected. We went almost 16-18 months with a guy who wasn’t working with scholastics, ” said Michael Echols, Chair of the BCCFA Representative Assembly.
The change in the style of negotiations departed from how labor talks would work in the past, according to Echols.

“If you go back to many years ago, when we had one vice president who would negotiate, and the old president of our union. They would go into a room and yell and scream to each other, they’d knock out a deal, and go to Biagio’s and have a beer together. Those days are gone,” added Echols.

Goldstein was paid $545,000 during the entire duration, yet a contract was not settled during that timespan.

Goldstein was later replaced by a new legal consultant, Matthew Giacobbe, who many felt was more approachable and had years of experience working with higher education.

BCC President Walter (far right), Faculty Senate Chairperson Kaufman (middle right), Faculty Senate Treasurer Tobyn De Marco (middle left), and BOT Chairman E. Carter Corriston (far left) after ratifying faculty contracts//Henry Fowler

BCC President Walter (far right), Faculty Senate Chairperson Kaufman (middle right), Faculty Senate Treasurer Tobyn De Marco (middle left), and BOT Chairman E. Carter Corriston (far left) after ratifying faculty contracts//Henry Fowler

“Giacobbe seems to understand the process more than the former college negotiator, said Alan Kaufman, the Secretary of the BCCFA. “The contract took three years to negotiate because negotiations are difficult and complex,” added Kaufman.

The new contract will have several new items, such as increases in base salaries, sick leave payments, and minimum overload rates. In compliance with the NJPL. 2010, members hired before May 21, 2010 will receive, on retirement, a maximum $17,500 sick leave payment. Members hired after said date will have a maximum payment at retirement of $15,000 for accumulated sick leave.

Faculty salaries will be given a raise of $1,500, $1,800, $1,900, and $1,975, for each respective year in the contract.

Lecturers will be excluded from the above proposal. Furthermore, Faculty members will receive a five percent increase to their base salary upon receiving their terminal degree, such as a Ph.D., in their field.

“Although it took a long time, I think that both sides are satisfied with the terms of the agreement. Now that the contract has been settled, we can get back to the business of education,” said the Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. William Mullaney.

The contract proposal was officially ratified via unanimous decision during the April 5 Board of Trustees meeting.