It is a first-class move.
Long Island University ended its 12-day lockout of professors at its Downtown campus on Wednesday, agreeing to extend the exiled educators’ expired contracts and let them finally begin teaching for the school year while the two parties try to hammer out a new agreement. It’s a victory not just for the faculty, but also students who raised a ruckus over having to study under temporary teachers during the labor dispute, union leaders said.
“This is a huge win for the 8,000 LIU Brooklyn students who have a right to a real education taught by their real professors after two school weeks of uncertainty, and it is a huge step for dignity and respect for those educators,” said American Federation of Teachers bigwig Randi Weingarten in a statement.
The university’s administration barred members of the Long Island University Faculty Federation from entering the Kings County campus and cancelled their health insurance after their five-year contracts expired on Aug. 31 and the two parties failed to agree on a new one. The school wasn’t offering Brooklyn staffers the same wages and benefits as their counterparts at the Long Island campus, the teachers say.
During the employment embargo, the school used non-union staffers and temps to cover the proscribed pedagogues’ classes, angering students who staged a walkout on Wednesday afternoon, saying the temporary tutors didn’t know what they were doing and demanding the instructors they’d signed up for.
“He let us know he has been filling in for 15 classes and he told us ‘I’m not qualified to teach this particular forensic science class,’” said senior social science major Kyonda Hester of one of her stand-in educators. “He took attendance and said ‘I really hope this all ends next week.’ ”
School honchos had somewhat bafflingly claimed they banished the teachers to avoid a strike, and a condition of lifting the lockout is that the faculty members can’t hit the bricks before their extended contract runs out on May 31, 2017 — a provision the school also claimed as the real win for pupils.
“The union’s commitment not to strike during this academic year provides us enough runway to reach a reasonable and fair agreement, while providing our students the ability to continue their studies uninterrupted,” said the school’s vice president Gale Haynes. “That has always been our intention.”
The school will reimburse faculty members for any health-care bills they racked up during the lockout, according to the’ union.