Sara Williams, president of the Mt. Hood Community College Faculty Association, addresses a crowd on campus Thursday, while supporters of full-time faculty members wave signs calling on the college to settle the contract dispute.
The mediation session follows Faculty Association President Sara Williams' announcement that, if no agreement is reached, the union will go on strike at 5 a.m. Thursday, May 12.
made the announcement "with regret" when she
spoke at an early afternoon rally on campus Thursday that drew scores of students and faculty members.
"The faculty simply cannot understand the (college) board's refusal to protect faculty, students and institutions," Williams
said, noting both sides remain apart on summer teaching, extra teaching, retirement benefits, faculty input and rights.
When asked by The Outlook on Friday why the union was choosing to strike before the end of the spring term - a decision that could jeopardize thousands of students' educations - Williams
acknowledged that a strike would harm all parties concerned.
and other union officials maintain the threat of a strike was needed to get the college administration to bargain seriously.
"If you have to strike in order to get the other side to bargain, you have to do it at a time when somebody cares," she
announced the strike date, she
noted the union has two provisions it wants the college to include in a contract in exchange for concessions on economic issues.
First off, the faculty wants Mt. Hood to formally forgo subcontracting teaching to outside instructors.
"Faculty provide face-to-face and distance learning instruction, serve as resource librarians, and provide much needed counseling services," Williams
also addressed the issue of faculty rights.