TVCC union leader resigns in terse notice to faculty

ONTARIO – With talks between the Treasure Valley Community College administration and the teachers’ union reaching the critical stage, union president Gerry Hampshire abruptly announced his resignation early Friday morning.

In a three-sentence email announcing the resignation, Hampshire said, “I refuse to be a water boy for a contract based on self-interest.”

He wouldn’t comment when reached Friday.

Hampshire, a history teacher, led the Treasure Valley Education Association since September. He had previously served as president six years ago.

Hampshire and the union, which represents 36 instructors, have been embroiled in contact negotiations with the local college for over a year with wages, insurance costs and class size continuing to stall negotiations.

The two sides were scheduled to meet again Friday afternoon. The board of TVCC has scheduled a special board meeting for Wednesday, March 14. That is a day before college administrators have to alert any provisional instructors they are likely to lose their jobs.

The college already has notified six tenured instructors their jobs will be eliminated.

In the email regarding his announcement, Hampshire wished all good luck and advised those with grievances or other union business to contact Dennis Gill, an English teacher who has been leading the union’s negotiating team.

Although not a member of the bargaining team, Hampshire was an outspoken critic of the college’s proposals during talks and frequently the voice of the union’s concerns.

In a comment posted on the Malheur Enterprise’s Facebook page today, Hampshire said, “It will also be interesting to see when this new ‘agreement’ comes out if the provisions therein will ensure that Dennis Gill, the negotiating ‘chair’ will remain the top paid teacher at TVCC at the expense of the teachers fired by retrenchment and non-renewal and the remaining teachers.”

Gill couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

This story will be updated.

John L. Braese: [email protected], 541-473-3377.