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Sep
2016
13

Reckless, Extreme Nature of Long Island University Teacher Lockout Stuns Onlookers

LIU lockout long island university

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Long Island University (LIU) has locked out four hundred unionized faculty members from its Brooklyn campus over an ongoing contract dispute. LIU professors have been barred from campus, are not being paid, and have lost their health insurance. The dispute centers on disparities between salaries at the Brooklyn campus and the suburban Long Island campus:

“The administration is leveraging all this pressure on people so that they’ll vote their contract up and bust the union,” says Rosenberg. The campus, which once had five unions, is down to just three, and all of them are working without a contract. LIUFF, a New York State United Teachers/AFT affiliate, represents full-time and adjunct faculty there.

[…] The union is seeking to address a historical salary disparity between faculty at the Brooklyn campus of LIU who are, overall, paid far less than their counterparts at LIU Long Island.

Brooklyn’s LIU faculty filed an unfair labor charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), citing the lockout and subsequent termination of healthcare benefits as a violation of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).

The teachers, rightfully outraged at an action that many have called unprecedented, staged a teach-in on Friday:

New York City Public Advocate Letitia James made a fiery speech outside of the Brooklyn campus Friday stating “this teach-in is instruction on how to do things right, and to respect the labor union movement,” emphasizing the importance of student activism that has historically affected change in the U.S.

Students, too, have voiced their frustration with the LIU administration. On Thursday they staged a walkout to show their displeasure with the “strikebreakers” (read: scabs) who were hired to replace the embattled Brooklyn professors. Some have threatened to drop classes in order to recoup tuition:

“We have a right, without us, there is no institution, I feel like sometimes colleges forget that,” said Vitelina Doll, a student.

[…] “Every class I go to, they just dismiss us after five minutes, after five or 10 minutes, yeah they tell us they have no material to teach,” said Gus Dowier, a student.

With tuition right around $35,000 a year he may transfer.

“If you don’t get the quality education we’re supposed to get, what else could you do,” Dowier said.

Faculty contracts expired on August 31. Negotiations have been underway since the spring. Twitter is ablaze with nearly unanimous anger about the situation.

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