Collective Bargaining Updates

Faculty union agreement

Published on 11/25/2019

The Southwestern Michigan College Board of Trustees unanimously approved a collective bargaining agreement for full-time faculty at its regular board meeting on Nov. 18. The agreement is effective immediately and runs through June 30, 2023. A copy of the agreement, along with the employee health insurance plans, can be viewed below.

Collective Bargaining/Faculty Union Agreement

Plan 1—PPO Premier

Plan 2—High Deductible Health Plan with Health Savings Account


Southwestern Michigan College Board of Trustees approves faculty union agreement

Published on 11/19/2019

At its regular monthly board meeting Monday night, the Southwestern Michigan College Board of Trustees unanimously approved a collective bargaining agreement for full-time faculty.

The agreement, which is effective immediately and runs through June 30, 2023, has been the subject of negotiations between the College and the faculty association over the last year and a half. The 49-page agreement was approved by a vote of union members earlier this month.

“This agreement is a fair compromise for both parties. It provides reasonable pay increases and job assurances for faculty while allowing the college to remain financially strong and flexible for the future,” Chairman Thomas F. Jerdon said. “It represents good value for the citizen-owners of the College—our local taxpayers—and allows everyone at SMC to continue working together to provide affordable access to high-quality education, putting student success above everything else.”

Effective with the new agreement, minimum salary levels for full-time faculty have been established based on their attained education level and number of service years. Each full-time faculty member will receive an individual employment contract of one, two or three years depending on their years of service. Salary increases for those who are at or above the minimum salary levels for their educational level and years of service will be 2% for academic year 2020/2021, 3% for 2021/2022 and 3% for 2022/2023. A new vision care program for all college employees will begin in January. Beyond this, health care, dental, and retirement benefits remain consistent with those offered to other full-time employees.

“I can say that both the college administration and the faculty union have invested tremendous time and energy in this process,” President David Mathews added. “This contract is the result of good-faith bargaining by each side and provides an amicable resolution to all of the issues that were under discussion.”

The entire collective bargaining agreement will be posted to this page later this week.


Update on Collective Bargaining—President's Report to Trustees

Published on 06/17/2019

Click to view the Update on Collective Bargaining.


President Mathews Provides Update on Collective Bargaining

Published on 04/18/2019

Southwestern Michigan College’s negotiations with the Faculty Union have so far produced over 20 tentative agreements through 18 bargaining sessions to date. Multiple members of the administration and the full-time faculty have been involved in these productive discussions. Negotiations continue, with two more sessions scheduled for April and four for May.

Despite significant progress, there are some topics where the College and the Union have been unable to come to agreement. For this reason, on April 5, the College requested mediation services from the Michigan Employment Relations Commission. It is our hope that, with this added facilitation, an agreement can be reached this Spring or Summer.

Both sides are eager to bring this process to conclusion and continue our joint mission of providing the community with affordable access to high-quality postsecondary career preparation and college education.


Faculty Vote to Unionize

Published on 2/28/2018

In January of 2018, 31 of the college's 58 full-time faculty members voted to unionize as a collective bargaining unit to be represented by the Michigan Education Association (MEA).

Immediately after the vote, President Mathews sent the following email to full-time faculty members urging them to remain focused on working for the benefit of students and the community:

Today, at the Michigan Employee Relations Commission, the ballots submitted by full-time faculty regarding whether or not to unionize were counted. The result of the vote from the 58 eligible individuals was: 31“YES”, 23 “NO” with 4 not voting.

Now that our future course is more defined, I want to again remind everyone that voting whether or not to organize into a collective bargaining unit is a protected legal right. Southwestern Michigan College did everything within our power to uphold that right and ensure that a fair election was conducted to determine whether or not the majority of full-time faculty wanted to be collectively organized by the MEA. Now that the majority has decided to unionize, we need to continue to work together in our mission of serving the community with affordable access to high quality education.

My expectation remains that all of us continue to treat each other with professional courtesy and respect at all times. The College will not tolerate any harassment or retaliation directed at individuals based on their position on this issue. As I said before the election, if at any time you feel threatened or coerced, please immediately forward me the details of the event so my office can promptly and thoroughly investigate and address any misconduct.

I look forward to continuing to work with all of the full-time faculty collectively for the benefit of our students and our community, to make SMC the best it can possibly be.

David M. Mathews, Ph.D.

In the following weeks, there was interest by some faculty members in altering the current academic calendar, which had been approved by the board of trustees in 2017. However, administration also received communication from other faculty members who did NOT want to revise the approved calendar.

On February 19, a letter was sent to the MEA expressing the college's desire and willingness to begin bargaining with the MEA at the earliest possible time.