PSC Statement in Solidarity with LIU Faculty Federation

Updated: September 15, 2016
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UPDATE 9/15/16:
The lockout at LIU is over. The following announcement was made on the website of the LIU AFT local, the The Long Island University Faculty Federation (LIUFF).

Dear LIUFF Colleagues,

We have won a victory. The administration will end their unprecedented lockout effective 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, September 14. We will be reunited with our students and can resume our professional lives. Our collective bargaining agreement is extended until May 31, 2017, and the administration agreed to our condition that we engage a professional mediator to facilitate a fair contract. This timeframe gives us the opportunity to negotiate in good faith while preserving LIU Brooklyn.

The LIU administration will make the faculty whole for health care costs incurred during the lockout period. The union’s unfair labor practice complaints relating to the lockout and our arbitration on pay parity remain active and will be vigorously pursued.
You should plan to meet with your classes starting tomorrow. There may be some remaining issues relating to classes that were cancelled or combined during the lockout; we expect them to be resolved by department chairs and deans and in accordance with the collective bargaining agreement. It is important that you alert your chair and the LIUFF to any such issues so that they can be resolved right away.

We are holding a general membership meeting tomorrow at noon; room is to be announced. The negotiating team will be joined by our counsel, Louie Nikolaidis, AFT counsel, Mark Richard, and our NYSUT representative, Kevin Pollitt to answer questions about implications of the lockout and next steps to continue our struggle. Please make every effort to attend.

In Solidarity,
Jessica Rosenberg, President
Mohammed Ghriga, Treasurer
Ed Keane, Executive Committee Member
Michael Pelias, Executive Committee Member
Melissa Antinori, Grievance Chair

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In a move unprecedented in the history of U.S. higher education and with less than 24 hours notice, the administration of Long Island University locked out the faculty at its Brooklyn campus at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, September 3rd, cutting health insurance and replacing faculty with management scabs. Since then there have been rallies, picket lines, teach-ins, letter writing campaigns and a solidarity fund organized by the AFT. The PSC has participated in all of these support events and activities. (See the PSC statement of solidarity below.) For updates, go to website of the LIU AFT local, the The Long Island University Faculty Federation (LIUFF).

Press Coverage: The NY Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Gothamist (Sept. 7 rally),The Gothamist (Sept. 8 Student Walkout), The Atlantic, The Nation, Inside Higher Education.

LIU Lockout Update

September 12
Faculty at LIU Brooklyn are still locked out after their management refused the union’s offer to end the lockout with a five-week contract extension and mediation. Scabs are “teaching” courses and LIU students are furious. The Long Island University Faculty Federation (LIUFF) is working with the American Federation of Teachers and coordinating with student groups to organize this week’s response: student walkouts/rallies at 12 noon, Monday-Wednesday; a pop-up university/teach-in Wednesday at 2:30 PM; and a vigil for LIU Wednesday at 4:30 PM (plus other events for LIU faculty). Plans could change, so check the LIU webpage and follow #LIUlockout on social media for updates. PSC members are urged to turn out in solidarity and to donate to the AFT-hosted solidarity fund; an injury to one is an injury to all!

PSC Statement in Solidarity with Long Island University Faculty Federation

President Barbara Bowen
September 6, 2016

As a union of 27,000 faculty and staff in New York City whose members have just come through a very tough contract negotiation, the Professional Staff Congress/CUNY stands in solidarity with the faculty of the Brooklyn campus of Long Island University represented by the LIUFF. We are outraged at the cynical actions of the management of LIU, and we join your call for an immediate end to the lockout.

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 has begun to replace faculty with management scabs.

The lockout is an attempt to destroy the union by coercing its members to accept a contract that fails to meet legitimate demands for full-time faculty and further degrades the conditions of part-time faculty. Nearly half of the faculty members at the Brooklyn campus of LIU are paid significantly less than their counterparts at LIU’s suburban Nassau County campus (LIU Post), where the student body is less racially diverse than the student body at the Brooklyn campus.

The lockout not only punishes faculty; it threatens the quality of education for students, many of whom are, like CUNY students, first-generation college students and people of color.

A faculty union press release issued September 1 explains the issues: “The University seeks to eliminate a parity clause despite a long history of greater resources and compensation for suburban LIU Post; continues to offer Brooklyn a lower salary increase; seeks onerous changes such as post-tenure review; and aims to impose harsh new exploitative conditions on part-time adjunct faculty, including elimination of its benefit trust fund.”

An injury to one is an injury to all. The faculty and professional staff represented by the PSC understand that management actions at LIU undermine all workers in higher education. We will join you at your protest on September 7, offer any support we can, and call on our members not to undermine your solidarity or their own work by accepting offers to replace locked-out LIU faculty.

Take Action
Click here for a fact sheet about the lockout, here for a flier and here to RSVP via the Facebook event created by the PSC chapter at the Graduate Center. You can also sign an online petition hosted by the AFT. 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.