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NCCC faculty demanding more retroactive pay

SANBORN – The faculty union at Niagara County Community College is demanding that professors who teach more than a regular load of courses should be paid retroactively for courses taught since 2006, based on terms of a contract ratified last year.

NCCC President James P. Klyczek said the board of trustees is refusing to make such payments and has also rejected a union offer to drop the demand in exchange for a new contract with a further pay increase.

Last year, the Faculty Association and the board approved a contract after eight years of on-and-off bargaining. The package included $6.8 million in retroactive raises dating from 2006 for 160 faculty members, a figure that included pension fund and Social Security contributions pegged to the back pay. Union members who left NCCC between 2006 and 2014 did not receive retroactive pay.

The contract never was signed by either side, Klyczek said, but the money was paid because the deal was considered to have taken effect once both the union and the board ratified it. In fact, the contract expired Aug. 31 and is in effect as a holdover deal.

The union now has filed a grievance, which appears to be headed for arbitration, insisting that more retroactive pay should be issued, based on extra salary earned by the faculty members who taught what is called an “overload,” which means more courses than the standard in their department.

Klyczek said the topic wasn’t part of the negotiations for the 2014 contract. Other grievances also have been filed over putting the 2014 agreement officially in writing.

“We don’t feel we should even have these grievances,” Klyczek said. “Why should we move ahead with an extension to settle issues we already negotiated in the last contract?”

He said the union sought a two-year contract extension with a 2 percent annual salary increase in exchange for dropping the grievances. The NCCC board rejected the offer, Klyczek said.

Richard D. Furlong Jr., the recently hired attorney for the union, said his clients had instructed him not to comment on the situation.

Furlong, of the law firm Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria, recently succeeded the late Richard H. Wyssling as the union’s counsel. Wyssling died July 26.

email: tprohaska@buffnews.com