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Administrators, union at Treasure Valley Community College fail to reach agreement

The Enterprise

An 18-hour bargaining session that lasted into the wee hours of Saturday failed to produce a labor deal between administrators and faculty at Treasure Valley Community College.

Wide gaps remain in what each side wants to pay the 36 instructors represented by the Treasure Valley Education Association.

No formal session has been scheduled to continue talks, but Dana Young, college president, said Sunday the two sides may meet informally in the next few days.

“We’re hoping we get back to the table,” Young said. She said the administrators and instructors could meet without attorneys or mediators in a more informal setting.

“We’ll try that,” Young said.

“We will meet as long as the college is willing,” said Gerry Hampshire of the union. “We are committed to this coming to a conclusion.”

Negotiations started more than a year ago on a new labor contract. The contract expired last June, and instructors have been working as if its conditions were still in force.

The college last month said it may act to simply impose a contract representing its best offer, a step allowed by law. In such an action, the college would present the faculty a take-or-it-leave it pay deal. In turn, the faculty would have the right to strike, which the local union has said it is considering.

The labor talks come as the college struggles to chart a course forward. Enrollment has been dropping since 2010, taking tuition income and fees down as well. At the same time, the college has endured increasing costs, including automatic annual pay raises for faculty, and higher insurance and retirement costs.

To put the brake on expenses, college administrators recently proposed laying off six tenured faculty. They can do so despite labor contracts, and formal action on what is termed “retrenchment” is scheduled by the college board at its meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday.