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Delegation won't back bargaining

November 08, 2003|by LAURA ERNDE

laurae@herald-mail.com

Washington County lawmakers won't pursue collective bargaining legislation for professors at Hagerstown Community College next year, they said Friday.

But they urged the college's Board of Trustees on Friday to keep the lines of communication open with professors.

Del. Christopher B. Shank, chairman of the Washington County Delegation to the Maryland General Assembly, told trustees at a meeting Friday there would be no legislation without the support of the Washington County Commissioners.

Last session, the bill was killed by a Maryland House of Delegates committee.

Lawmakers then asked the college's Board of Trustees to talk to professors about their lingering differences.

The Washington County Higher Education Association, which has sought the unionization, wrote to lawmakers last month, saying they haven't been able to meet with the trustees, Shank said.

Board Chairman Merle Elliott said trustees were told by their lawyer they could not negotiate pay and working conditions with the association. However, association leaders are always welcome to address the trustees at open meetings.

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"We've not been difficult to talk to," Elliott said.

College President Guy Altieri has been working to put in place a "shared governance" model that gives faculty a greater say in the college administration.

"Everybody will have a seat at the table," Elliott said.

Elliott said collective bargaining is not needed.

The Maryland Department of Legislative Services estimates personnel expenses would increase by 1 percent to 1.5 percent a year or more if collective bargaining was passed.

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