Lockout lifted, LIU Brooklyn professors are back on the job

Administration Lets Unionized Instructors Return to Classrooms After Contract Extension Agreement Is Reached

September 15, 2016 By James Harney Brooklyn Daily Eagle
A group of students protested in support of locked-out faculty outside the LIU-Brooklyn campus this past Tuesday. AP Photo/Verena Dobnik
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After locking them out for 12 days, Long Island University-Brooklyn administrators are letting their teachers teach.

Professors at the Downtown Brooklyn campus returned to their classrooms Thursday after their union and school brass reached an agreement to extend a recently expired contract to May 31, 2017, to allow additional time to negotiate a new pact.

Over Labor Day weekend some 400 members of the Long Island University Faculty Federation (LIUFF), the union that represents the professors, were locked out of their classes and had their pay and health care insurance terminated.

When fall semester classes began Sept. 7, the administration brought in replacement instructors. The union chose not to strike, but put up an “informational” picket line. Earlier this week, students who were dissatisfied with the performance of the replacements staged a mass walkout from their classes.

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The university contended that the LIUFF rejected a proposed contract that would cut salaries for new adjunct professors, while offering existing faculty average raises of about 13 percent over five years.

The union has been seeking a pact that would make minimum salary levels for professors at the Brooklyn campus equal to those of their counterparts at LIU-Post in Brookville, Long Island.

Under the agreement reached Wednesday night, LIU will pay for any health care costs incurred by the professors during the lockout, and accepted the union’s proposal to bring a mediator into contract talks.

Overall, reaction from the union, administration and students was one of relief.

“The union’s commitment not to strike during this academic year provides us with enough runway to reach a reasonable and fair agreement,” said LIU Vice President and COO Gale Haynes. “Mediation is a positive step to that end.”

LIUFF President Jessica Rosenberg said, “After 12 days of intransigence, the LIU administration discovered that denying students the education they deserve is never a successful strategy. We look forward to a productive outcome as bargaining progresses in the coming weeks.”

And LIU-Brooklyn student Brianna Maldonado, a political science major, said, “If one word could describe how I feel, it would be ‘victorious.’ When we were greeted last week by replacement teachers we had never heard of, we had no idea what we were getting into. College is expensive. Now we can attend classes confident that we’ll get the education we’re paying for.”


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