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Stalemate continues, strike possible at Mt. Hood CC

Mt. Hood Community College and its Faculty Association remain deadlocked in contract negotiations after a mediation session March 29 failed to produce agreement.

In a press release, the association, which represents full-time teachers, raised the possibility of a strike if the college imposes a contract.

'The faculty bargaining team is currently anticipating a forced final offer from the (Mt. Hood Community College) Board … In response to this threat, the faculty can and will escalate in an attempt to settle the contract, up to and including a possible strike.'

Both sides have been unable to resolve disputes over proposed cost-of-living adjustments, payment for teaching extra and/or summer classes, the size of employee contributions to health plans, early retirement incentives, retiree health plans and such non-economic issues as faculty input regarding hiring.

The Mt. Hood board will consider what steps it will take next, at a meeting set for Wednesday, April 13. As of now, the board has no plan to unilaterally impose a contract settlement, according to college officials, but has made contingency plans - including the hiring of replacement teachers - in the event of a strike.

The faculty has been working without a new contract since Aug. 31, 2010. On Feb. 14, the Mt. Hood board declared an impasse in contract negotiations with the association, which represents about 160 full-time instructors.

Should no agreement be produced soon, the college could impose an agreement. If the faculty rejects the agreement, the association could vote to strike.

For more information on the college's side of the dispute, visit mhcc.edu and click on 'Faculty Association Updates.'

For more information on the faculty's side, visit be-informed.net.

Layoff notices

Meanwhile, the college has issued layoff notices this week to seven full-time faculty members, said Maggie Huffman, Mt. Hood spokeswoman. The faculty members may be reassigned to other positions or will retire or be laid off, she said.

The layoffs may take effect July 1, she said, noting the layoffs are part of the college's effort to cut costs given Mt. Hood faces a $5.5 million shortfall for 2011-12.