TO:                  Board of Regents

 FROM:  Sue Hill, Director, Labor Relations and Personnel

 RE:   Approval of Tentative Agreement with Vocational Technical Educators of Montana

Date:                March 25-26, 2004

Attached is a summary of the tentative agreement with the Vocational Technical Educators of Montana (VTEM). The tentative agreement shows only the changes to the prior agreement. The entire agreement can be viewed on line at VTEM represents the faculty at the colleges of technology in Butte, Great Falls, and Billings. This bargaining unit was formed in 1989 when governance of the colleges of technology was transferred from the local school districts to the Board of Regents. Prior to restructuring, the colleges of technology were administered centrally through the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education. A system-wide bargaining unit was much more appropriate in the past but since restructuring negotiations with this bargaining unit have been difficult. The colleges of technology in Helena and Missoula were once part of this larger bargaining unit but have since opted to form their own independent bargaining units.

In order to get an agreement, both parties ended up dropping most of the issues raised during negotiations. As a result only a few, not very substantive changes, were made to the prior agreement. In Section 2.1 B the definition of the bargaining unit was clarified to address situations where faculty teach courses in programs administered by both the two-year and the four-year campuses. Language regarding student services personnel that was transitional and no longer necessary was deleted from Section 2.1 B. Changes were made in several places in the agreement (Sections 9.4, 9.5 and Appendix A) to delete references to the colleges of technology in Helena and Missoula. Wages were increased by $500.00, effective January 1, 2005. The compensation for serving as department chair was increased from $1,800 to $2,000 in FY 2005. The Regents policy granting a tuition waiver benefit for FY 2005 was adopted.

It is expected that the bargaining unit will have ratified the tentative agreement prior to the March Regent meeting. Otherwise, this item will be withdrawn from the agenda. Assuming that the ratification vote of the faculty passes, I recommend approval of the tentative agreement with VTEM.