LIU Brooklyn ends faculty lockout at campus
by Patrick Kearns
Sep 20, 2016 | 3506 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Councilman Brad Lander speaks to students and teachers as they head back to class following the lockout.
Councilman Brad Lander speaks to students and teachers as they head back to class following the lockout.
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Normalcy returned to Long Island University's Brooklyn campus last week after the administration ended a lockout that left full-time teachers without pay, access to their email, or health benefits.

The two sides agreed to extend the faculty's current contract through May 2017, and head back to the negotiating table with a professional mediator to collectively bargain a new one.

Members of the faculty are seeking pay equity with professors at the school's Long Island campus. As part of the new agreement, the teachers will not strike during the academic year.

On their first day back at work, teachers were joined by elected officials and labor leaders. Dr. Jessica Rosenberg called the lockout unprecedented and said LIU Brooklyn president Kim Cline wasn't counting on the full-time teachers, adjuncts and students standing together in solidarity.

“When Kim Cline locked us out of our campus, our beloved Brooklyn campus, she thought we would fold,” Rosenberg said. “When Kim Cline tried to put full-time against adjuncts, she thought we would fold. When Kim Cline thought that the faculty here would accept ridiculous work rules that LIU Post has never been asked to accept, she thought we would roll over.”

Carlos Jesus Calzadilla, a 19-year-old freshman and political science major, was active in teacher-student protests and was thankful to be heading to normal classes.

“It is a sense of relief, and it is also hope that we can actually fight back against injustice,” Calzadilla said. “I think what happened here inspired a lot of people, and it showed what happens if people come together.”

He acknowledged that he and other students may be back in the same situation next summer.

“This was a major victory but this is not over, it's just a battle won,” he said. “I think we will get a very good contract for the teachers before May 31. I will keep mobilizing the students because it is not over.”

Public Advocate Letitia James said last week that if Cline doesn't understand that New York City is a union town, then she should leave.

“This is New York City, this is Brooklyn and we don't treat union members and the staff of LIU with disrespect,” James said. “In Brooklyn, you will not disrespect the union movement and you will not disrespect individuals standing up for basic rights.”

LIU Brooklyn COO Gale Haynes said a commitment not to strike will ultimately allow the sides to work out a deal.

“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,” she said. “That has always been our intention.”

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