Contract negotiations fail to produce agreement so far

After 10 months of contract negotiations, Lane has yet to finish bargaining with faculty, classified employees and management.

Lane’s faculty has been working without a contract since the previous collective bargaining agreement expired on June 30, Lane Community College Education Association President Jim Salt said.

With the goal of reaching a fair settlement, it is essential to satisfy what is important for each group, and at the same time keep the Lane general fund budget balanced, Lane Chief Human Resources Officer and Administrative Negotiator Representative Official Dennis Carr said.

“It is not unusual for Lane to take a long time bargaining,” Carr said.

Salt said the union is making efforts to improve economic interests including pay, insurance, retirement and other benefits, as well as non-economic interests, such as professional rights, safety and workload for all faculty. He described the bargaining process as in the “late stage.”

“The faculty bargaining team has not received any substantive responses to any of their proposals on non-economic issues,” Salt said, “with the school turning down all of their proposals.”

The faculty bargaining team held a closed-door meeting on Feb. 21. Salt published the results via email: The faculty unanimously rejected the current administration proposal.

“I don’t know what to expect, but I trust the right thing’s going to be done. I got the emails, but I don’t read it all because I have more important things to do — that is, to take care of students,” Lane business instructor Jim Chase said.

Lane President Mary Spilde hoped to see a deal that is similar to the classified faculty’s contract.

One of the biggest hurdles to concluding negotiations is the reduced state funding.

“It is tough with state funding,” Spilde said. “We have more state funding this year, but certainly not the same as we had in 2007.”

Without additional resources, Lane has to keep cutting the budget, Spilde said.

Further complicating matters, the college is grappling with a 20 percent drop of student enrollment in the last two years, Carr said.

“But we will keep talking to each other until we resolve all the issues,” Spilde said.