Mt. Hood college, faculty reach last-minute contract

A late-breaking contract settlement averted a planned strike at Mt. Hood Community College. For weeks the school had been advertising for workers to replace instructors in the event of a strike, which was set to begin May 12. Mt. Hood Community College Board Chair Brian Freeman threatened the college would hire permanent replacements, and at one point said part-timers might be asked to teach the classes of striking full time faculty. About 33,000 students attend the college in Gresham.

But members of Mt. Hood Community College Faculty Association, an affiliate of Oregon Education Association (OEA), voted May 10 to ratify a new three-year agreement, and the college board approved it May 11. The union represents 157 full-time faculty at the school. The previous contract expired Aug. 31, 2010. The new one is retroactive to Sept. 1, 2010, and expires Aug. 31, 2013.

Mostly the new contract is concessionary, with members agreeing to board demands on salary schedule and medical contributions. It contains a pay freeze in year one, a 1 percent increase in year two, and 2 percent in year three. Faculty will contribute 13 percent of their medical and dental premiums. Those terms are the same as agreements ratified in November and December with 500-member Part-Time Faculty and Tutor Association and the Classified Employee Association.

But it also contained gains for members, including a requirement that the college negotiate before contracting out bargaining unit work.

Also, faculty retiring after Oct. 1, 2011, will receive one-party medical coverage until they become eligible for Medicare, or a stipend equal to reduced two-party medical coverage for a maximum of four years.

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