By John L. Braese
ONTARIO – The Oregon Employment Relations Board on Tuesday ruled Treasure Valley Community College improperly withheld pay raises for some college faculty and ordered the college to pay employees a 2.5 percent cost of living raise plus a 9 percent interest rate on money owed.
The board also ordered the college to “cease and desist” from violating Oregon law.
The decision effects approximately 13 employees who have reached the maximum salary step on the scale.
The order upheld issues raised by the teacher’s union regarding in a complaint filed Dec. 1. Both sides agreed to expedite the matter and the board received the complaint Jan. 2.
The union argued the college was obligated to continue paying a 2.5 cost-of-living raise to each employee who had not reached their maximum step level even while the two parties negotiated a new contract. The current labor contract ended June 30, 2017.
College officials elected not to make the payments, which they estimated would cost $32,000 in the current budget.
The college and faculty union are currently in negotiations over a new labor contract with the prospect looming of the first strike by college faculty in Oregon’s history. The college also is cutting its budget because enrollment for the current year hasn’t matched projections.