A state mediator has been named to help avert a threatened strike by part-time teachers at Nassau Community College, officials said Wednesday.

A spokeswoman for the state Public Employment Relations Board in Albany said mediator Arthur Riegel of Hewlett Harbor was appointed Tuesday.

The move comes amid conflicting reports on whether the Adjunct Faculty Association, representing about 3,000 nontenured teachers at the Garden City college, will take a strike vote Thursday when the current contract expires. The main issue appears to be wages.

A spokesman for Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano said late Tuesday the union had postponed the vote at Mangano's request, but the union did not return telephone call and e-mail requests for comment. Union attorney Richard Betheil said late Tuesday, "I'm not going to comment at this time at all."

The college's labor counsel, John Gross, said Tuesday night that union president Charles Loiacono had gone to Mangano without consulting with him or the college. Gross said he met with the college board of trustees Tuesday night, which decided to go ahead with a scheduled meeting with the mediator last night. Gross said he did not know if the union would attend.

The union said in a letter to its members earlier this month that they should be prepared for a long strike, but that it would be effective. The college said any job action would violate the state Taylor Law and result in penalties that include a fine of two days' pay for each day of missed work.

Latest videos