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HCC professors lose bid to unionize

March 28, 2003|by LAURA ERNDE

laurae@herald-mail.com

Lack of support from the Washington County Commissioners killed a measure that would have allowed Hagerstown Community College professors to unionize.

The commissioners chose to remain neutral when asked to take a position on the issue, said Del. George C. Edwards, a member of the House Appropriations Committee.

Since the commissioners contribute to the college's budget, the committee wanted to have their support before approving state legislation that could affect their bottom line, said Edwards, R-Allegany/Garrett.

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Even if the legislation had passed the House of Delegates, it faced an almost certain death in the Senate because of opposition from all three county senators.

Tom Clemens, a professor and co-president of the Washington County Higher Education Association, said the group will seek broader support for the measure and try again next year.

"We went a lot further this year than we did last year, and we'll just keep trying," Clemens said.

Last year, the professors did not get enough support from Washington County lawmakers to get a bill introduced in the Maryland General Assembly.

Del. Christopher B. Shank, R-Washington, said he doesn't think lawmakers should pursue the legislation next year without the county's blessing.

"It's just not a productive use of our time," Shank said.

Professors have said they have a good working relationship with college President Guy Altieri, but they're seeking collective bargaining rights to make sure they will always have a voice in decision-making.

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