September 03, 2016

LIU administrators lock out faculty in unprecedented hostile move

Source:  AFT

TAKE ACTION! Urge LIU to end the lockout and bargain a fair contract now!

Since this spring, the Long Island University Faculty Federation has been engaged in contract negotiations with the administration at Long Island University. On Friday, faculty at the Brooklyn campus of LIU were informed, with less than a day’s notice, that their health insurance will be cut off and they will no longer be paid for their work. Instead, LIU plans to redeploy administrators and has hired strikebreakers to teach students when classes begin this week. It's time for LIU to treat its employees with the dignity and respect they deserve by bargaining a fair contract now and ending this lockout.

“It is unconscionable to see, on the eve of Labor Day no less, the administration’s use of tactics that could undercut faculty rights and jeopardize the college’s educational program,” said NYSUT President Karen E. Magee.

For more information, here's the AFT press release. You can also stay up to date with the Long Island University Faculty Federation on their website and their Twitter.

Long Island University-Brooklyn Locks Out Faculty

For Release: Saturday, September 3, 2016

WASHINGTON — Without a contract settlement, administrators at Long Island University’s Brooklyn campus in New York have locked out their 400 faculty members in an unprecedented hostile move that will upend the start of classes on Wednesday, the Long Island University Faculty Federation said today.

“The university has a history of paying its Brooklyn faculty less than the university’s Nassau County faculty, despite the fact that tuition is the same for its students. Further, the university wants to further exploit its part-time faculty—making it virtually impossible to hire qualified part-time faculty—eliminate the adjunct benefit trust fund, reduce fringe benefits for new full-time hires and initiate a post-tenure review,” said Jessica Rosenberg, LIUFF president.

“Now, rather than address the equity issues in a meaningful way, which is a New York higher education tradition, they are locking their faculty out—on Labor Day weekend no less,” said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, the LIUFF’s parent union.

Currently, nearly half of the Brooklyn faculty are paid less than their LIU Post (Nassau County campus) counterparts, some by as much as 20 percent, yet both campuses charge the same tuition— $32,000 a year—and faculty credentials are equivalent. LIU insists on reaching parity between the two campuses by 2020. The union wants to reach parity earlier, by 2019.

The Brooklyn faculty union’s contract expired on Friday, Sept. 2. The university locked out the faculty at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, cut off their health insurance and threatened to replace faculty with administration staffers.

“This is not a strike—the faculty is not withholding its labor. The university chose to lock out the faculty and stop students from getting instruction from qualified faculty because it won’t agree on contract terms for fair wages and working conditions,” Rosenberg said. “We will not allow ourselves to be bullied and intimidated by an administration that has demonstrated it has no respect for our educators and students.”

Weingarten said the university’s move shows contempt for its students and their faculty. “Long Island University’s hostile action to lock out faculty rather than deal with the fact that it pays its Brooklyn faculty less than their counterparts is a slap in the face to its students and their teachers. The university would rather act like a tough guy and bully its faculty than meet its academic obligation to its students and confront a moral obligation to not pay one set of educators less than another. It's contemptuous,” she said.

New York State United Teachers President Karen E. Magee expressed support for the Brooklyn faculty members. “It is unconscionable to see, on the eve of Labor Day no less, the administration’s use of tactics that could undercut faculty rights and jeopardize the college’s educational program,” she said.

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The AFT represents 1.6 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.

Janet Bass

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