MHCC Increases Economic Offer by Over $1 Million Since Submitting Final Offers in February
Posted: May 3, 2011
Today, Mt. Hood Community College offered significant increases to the full-time faculty’s salary package in order to avert an announced strike May 12 by members of the Full-Time Faculty Association.
The significant increases are in the areas of extra teach and summer teach. (Extra teach is when an instructor teaches courses beyond his or her “regular” 45 credit hours and summer teach is when instructors, who normally would not teach during the summer, decide to take on some courses.)
“Today’s proposal by the College raises our compensation offer by $675,563 since our last proposal on April 13,” said Randy Stedman, the College’s chief negotiator. “With this enhanced proposal, the College has increased its salary and benefits proposals by $1,021,172 since submitting its final proposal to the Employment Relations Board in February.” Stedman said the College had sweetened its offers by more than $2 million since the bargaining process began a year ago. The College also proposed to decrease the number of working days in the faculty contract from 180 to 175 while retaining the same rate of pay, a 2.9 percent daily increase.
Under the College’s proposal, faculty would receive their current rate of pay for Extra Teach in the first year of the three-year contract, then a flat amount according to a sliding scale of $900 to $1,150 per credit, during the final two years of the contract, depending upon the faculty member’s step on the salary schedule. This new scale means faculty members who are lower on the salary schedule would receive even higher extra teach pay than they do now. Summer Teach would be paid using the same sliding scale for all three years.
In other aspects of today’s proposal, the College offered a 0.12 percent to 8.37 percent cost of living adjustment in year two of the contract, and a 1.5 percent COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment) increase for all faculty members in year three. Qualifying faculty would continue to receive a 4.5 percent step increase in the first year and then change to 3.75 percent in the second and third years. In addition, faculty members would contribute just 13 percent toward medical and dental insurance, 0 percent for vision, including the College’s “Cadillac” health plan in which more than 65 percent of full-time instructors participate. The College would offer early retirees a stipend of $525 per month toward medical, dental, vision and life insurance, and the stipend would increase 5 percent annually.
“The Board understands this offer still represents sacrifice by the faculty,” said MHCC District Board of Education Chair Brian Freeman. “We are asking the faculty to participate in helping the College to address its economic challenges, just as other employee groups have stepped up during recent contract negotiations. We need their participation in order to help put MHCC on track to a sustainable future.”
Freemen noted these proposals do not result in lower costs to the College and in fact increase costs up to 8 percent over the contract period compared to 2009-10 levels, primarily due to rapid increases in health care costs.
“Even under the strain of our economic forecast of a $5.8 million budget deficit, we are willing to offer a compensation and benefits package that keeps our full-time faculty among the highest paid community college faculty in the northwest,” said MHCC President John J. “Ski” Sygielski. “We want our faculty to know how much we value and respect their contributions to MHCC, and to our 33,000 students.”
The College is hopeful the negotiating team for the Full-Time Faculty Association will accept the College’s enhanced proposal and take the steps necessary to arrive at a resolution in order to protect students from the disruption a strike would create.
Questions from Students
For the latest news, FAQ (frequently asked questions) and information regarding negotiations with the union, students are invited to visit the College’s website, mhcc.edu. MHCC has set up a special email box and telephone hotline for questions from students: firstname.lastname@example.org and 503-491-7690.