A week before classes begin, contract talks between the Lane Community College board and the union representing its classified staff remain stalled. Their differences hinge on rising health insurance costs. Union members rallied at the board's September meeting Tuesday.
The LCC Employees Federation (LCCEF) represents about 700 staff who are not faculty or managers. They've been in contract negotiations since February. Union president Bob Baldwin:
Baldwin: "Within the amount of money they have allotted, they will not let us spend it in ways that protect our members most effectively. We're not allowed to use it for health insurance."
Baldwin says the college's proposal has been unchanged from the beginning. In the meeting following the rally, Vice Chair Rosie Pryor read a statement from the LCC Board of Education:
Pryor: "Classified union representatives have not modified their initial economic proposals since March. They have refused to discuss health insurance plan design changes in any substantive way with the college bargaining team."
The statement says the board feels it's detrimental for union leadership to be threatening a strike.
A session with a state mediator is scheduled for Friday. If no agreement is reached by mid-October, Baldwin says they'll vote on whether to strike.
Both sides say they're dedicated to the students and they hope for a quick resolution. Some KLCC staff are represented by the LCCEF union.
A link to the contract proposals is here.