Lawmakers block HCC union

February 07, 2002

Lawmakers block HCC union


Hagerstown Community College professors won't get collective bargaining rights this year.

Washington County's delegation to the Maryland General Assembly voted 4-2 Wednesday not to seek legislation to give HCC professors the same standing as Washington County public school teachers.

Instead, the delegation will set up a meeting between the college faculty and administrators to fix what they view as a communication problem.

The vote was split along party lines, with Democrats in favor and Republicans against.

Del. John P. Donoghue, D-Washington, argued for the bill, which was backed by 90 percent of the faculty.

"They want a seat at the table when it comes to making decisions," he said.

Sen. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington, said teachers already have a voice and he doesn't believe collective bargaining will solve the problem of teacher dissatisfaction.


Having a union could increase costs at the college, which could lead to higher tuition, Munson said.

Dean of Instruction Julian J. Sidlowski said he also was worried about increased costs. The college faces a budget next year that is $476,000 less than administrators expected.

Sidlowski, who came to Annapolis with Leadership Hagerstown on Wednesday, said he believes better communication between faculty and administrators can be fostered without collective bargaining.

"We're not as far apart as sometimes the issues seem," he said.

Music Professor C. David Warner, also with Leadership Hagerstown, said he was disappointed the legislation didn't pass.

College professors all over the country are turning to collective bargaining to make sure their voices are heard, he said.

"I believe the dialogue is helpful, it's important. You don't get anywhere if you don't talk to each other," he said.

The Hagerstown Community College Board of Trustees opposed the legislation. The Washington County Commissioners were neutral.

Donoghue and Del. Sue Hecht, D-Frederick/Washington, voted for the bill.

Voting against were Munson, Sen. Alex X. Mooney, R-Frederick/Washington, Del. Robert A. McKee, R-Washington, and Del. Louise V. Snodgrass, R-Frederick/Washington.

Del. Christopher B. Shank, R-Washington, did not participate in the discussion or the vote because he teaches a class in public speaking at HCC.

Del. Joseph R. Bartlett, R-Frederick/Washington, was not present for the vote.

The Herald-Mail Articles