COD board, faculty agree to mediation on stalled contract

Alison Pfaff, Managing Editor

Crowded around the Chappy Statue,  College of DuPage full-time faculty and community members pushed for progress on a new union contract Thursday night. Prior to a meeting of the college’s board of trustees on Aug. 15., the crowd of more than 200 people wore red shirts as a sign of solidarity and came bearing signs that said, “Teachers Matter” and “We Want a Fair Settlement.”

There was progress toward that outcome even before faculty had a chance to make any statements to the board. 

Only a couple hours before the meeting, and just days before the start of fall classes, a statement was released by college spokeswoman Wendy Parks announced trustees agreed to the union’s request to bring in a third-party, formal mediator into the stalled talks. 

Once the meeting began, a line of people paraded to the microphone to voice support for the faculty. 

In an interview, faculty union vice president Jackie McGrath said those voices will help to urge the trustees to accept the new proposed contract. 

“I think we are doing everything we can to explain our message, and I think that having more people come to voice may help it get through,” McGrath said. 

COD student Jerry Buck, who is a member of Students for a Democratic Society, sat in on the board meeting. Before, he explained why it was important for him to be there. 

[I’m here] to show solidarity for teachers unions and for workers in general. When workers are seeking collective bargaining I’m going to stick with workers on that issue. Because at the end of the day, who’s actually on the front lines teaching? The person on the board, he’s not teaching. He might work with administration. He might sign contracts. The real people who are going to be teaching me are not going to be (COD President Brian) Caputo, or someone on the board of trustees,” Buck said. “I really care what a teacher is being paid, what they are looking for, as opposed to looking at what (people in) positions of power are looking for.”