MONMOUTH -- Mediation between Western Oregon University and its teachers' union broke down Nov. 5 when the union negotiator walked out after nearly five hours. The university declared an impasse the next day.

Western Oregon University Federation of Teachers officials plan to discuss striking with the union's rank and file.

According to a Western press release, the university has offered salary increases and a benefits package similar to offers made by other public universities and state governmental agencies

University administration was unwilling to commit to a salary step system for adjunct faculty, said union President Molly Mayhead.

Adjunct faculty are those teachers not on tenure track. A step system would bring all teachers a "equitable, consistent system," Mayhead said.

She said the union would not return to the table unless university administrators accepted a salary step system within the week.

"Management is operating on the faulty premise that we will sell our adjuncts out to get a contract," Mayhead said.

Though impasse has been declared, the university will continue to work with the state mediator and the union to find a solution to reach agreement on a new contract, according to the University press release.

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