Faculty locked out at Long Island University's Brooklyn campus
September 4, 2016 2:49 PM   Subscribe

At midnight on Friday, Long Island University Brooklyn's campus locked out 400 fulltime and adjunct faculty.

This action follows months of negotiations between LIU and the Long Island University Faculty Federation over renewing a contract that expired on August 31st. Negotiations started out optimistically, following an announcement that LIU had gotten past a fiscal crisis, but by July, LIU was posting job ads for replacement faculty.

One of the issues: the Brooklyn faculty are paid less than their peers at LIU's Post campus on Long Island.

Classes are set to start on 7 September, per LIU administration's update and letter to students.

Although lockouts of faculty at universities have happened before, they are not common.
posted by metaquarry (48 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
 
One of my best friends is a tenured professor there. But this is not just an outrageous insult to the faculty, it's an insult to the students.

Provost Gale Haynes, LIU’s chief legal counsel, will be teaching Hatha yoga.

Rumor has it that Dean David Cohen, a man in his 70s, will be taking over ballet classes scheduled to be taught by Dana Hash-Campbell, a longtime teacher who was previously a principal dancer and company teacher with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.


This is CRAZY.
posted by maggiemaggie at 3:03 PM on September 4, 2016 [32 favorites]


Been there. Done that. At college that had 3 different strikes, unusual in academia. Problem: faculty unions are weak etc...The larger organization, AAUP, tries but does not do enough to support collective bargaining. The real issue is that the school will hire unqualified people as replacements, use the lockout to dump tenured faculty, settle finally, and dump the scabs. Real issue: the accrediting agency will do nothing and so the school can get away with this sort of thing. Suspending accreditation till school has qualified faculty in the classroom would bring a resolution to this mess.
posted by Postroad at 3:18 PM on September 4, 2016 [35 favorites]


"Hi, here's our offer! Also, we're not going to let you on campus." That's an...interesting negotiation technique. The faculty could yell for Middle States to threaten the U about their accreditation, but as Postroad says, that's probably not going to happen (I'm going to guess that the administration would not have pulled this stunt when the U was last up for review); that said, some of the programs with separate accreditation, like education and perhaps business, might be able to get faster results. AAUP can publicize and censure, but unfortunately there's not much else they can do to intervene.
posted by thomas j wise at 3:49 PM on September 4, 2016 [5 favorites]


#LIULockout


Students should video these unqualified instructors doing their shitty jobs
, make these videos trend all over social media with the hashtag #LIUeducation, send the results to the boards families...... and make the consequences of this reckless action lead to the firing of the president by the board.


The current president came from a university CFO/VP-admin-affirs/university-lawyer background....but ZERO real academic pedigree. She appears to be one of these slash and burn "universities as a business" people.

when hired

"According to Edward Travaglianti, LIU's chairman of the board of trustees, Cline is an change agent with a testified record of success in multicampus institutions"

I hope that middle states hands them their ass, but as TJW says, these accreditors appear to be toothless.
posted by lalochezia at 4:48 PM on September 4, 2016 [12 favorites]


Also: I am *incredibly* skeptical that the minimum salaries are as reported in DNAinfo

"The minimum salary for new professors at LIU Post is $96,000, while the minimum salary for new professors at LIU Brooklyn under the administration’s proposal would be just $80,000, according to Engelman."

Show me a history or sociology department that hires at that level and I will show you a top-10 institution. LIU isn't even top 200.
posted by lalochezia at 4:51 PM on September 4, 2016 [18 favorites]


Are they maybe reporting 12 month-equivalent salary, and the faculty are only technically paid for nine months of work? That happens with income reporting sometimes. So actual gross income per year would be 75% of that.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 4:54 PM on September 4, 2016 [6 favorites]


LIUFF is AFT, not AAUP. I agree that AAUP is usually pretty weak, and at least at my campus they are terribly complacent and terrible at organizing (you guys, a Facebook post is not how you do turn-out to a rally. You gotta know that even if other people care, they're just not as tuned in as you.)

I think this is a pretty boneheaded move, though. I mean, holy shit, tuition is $34,000 a year, plus another $2000 in "fees" (i.e., tuition that you can't get a scholarship for). Locking your faculty out and having classes for even a couple of days is going to piss off students and parents royally, and produce a lot of bad press of the sort that the Board of Trustees are not going to like--even if they liked the idea of a lockout when Cline first proposed it to them. I don't think Cline's going to make it through the year.
posted by Made of Star Stuff at 4:54 PM on September 4, 2016 [5 favorites]


Interesting that the union reps both tenured and adjunct faculty. Is that common at US universities?
posted by Gotanda at 4:59 PM on September 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


Can someone explain what exactly this is? Does lockout mean in this context "you can't teach" or "If I see you you will be arrested"? It's impossible to physically lock out people on an open campus, so I'm really puzzled about this.
posted by corb at 5:04 PM on September 4, 2016


It is the case at public colleges and universities in Massachusetts, at least.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 5:04 PM on September 4, 2016


"Lock-out" means "you can't do your job." It's the employer version of a strike. They don't have to physically bar people from the campus in order to lock them out: they just have to say that they can't teach and won't get paid. In this instance, they've also canceled all the faculty's benefits, including health insurance.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:13 PM on September 4, 2016 [4 favorites]


Alas, full-time tenured faculty too often ignore the needs of adjuncts and this comes back to play into the hands of administration.

Accreditation: there are of course discipline accreditation outfits, ie, engineering, law, etc. but then there are the regional accreditors, a group that does little but spend time on a campus and poke about. If a school is in serious financial difficulty, they the regional might suspend the school on the grounds that they are going under...but to make sure they do not get sued for something construed as subjective, the most they will do is put a school on probation, though that changes little and is often carried on for years.

Sad to say, students are not usually aware enough of what is at issue and so a body in a classroom satisfies them and their parents.

The only bright spot I can see is that the NLRB is no longer as right of center and pro administration as it has been for years.

Were other university faculty members to join in on a picket line, something could be accomplished in the sense that a blow against one is a blow against many. I dou8bt this will happen. Faculty all to often think in terms of Self and I got mine, etc.
posted by Postroad at 5:21 PM on September 4, 2016


Sorry: I should clarify. What happened here is that the University offered a contract, and the faculty rejected it. The administration then locked the faculty out: they said that until the faculty union accepts the contract, they're functionally unemployed. The idea is to coerce them into accepting the contract, because the administration thinks that they can survive for longer without faculty than faculty members can without pay or health insurance. They're being starved out, basically. It's not clear whether the University's gamble is correct, though, because they're going to have a lot of pissed-off students if they can't find replacement instructors, and maybe even if they can.

Is there some sort of strike fund for the affected faculty members? This is a shitty situation, and I also feel like a victory for the administration would be a harbinger of bad things to come.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:21 PM on September 4, 2016 [10 favorites]


Thank you! I think I was just confused because I thought the NLRB prohibited mass firings of union employees, so it seemed bizarre.
posted by corb at 5:36 PM on September 4, 2016


Elementary Penguin: "Are they maybe reporting 12 month-equivalent salary, and the faculty are only technically paid for nine months of work? That happens with income reporting sometimes. So actual gross income per year would be 75% of that."

Also I'd bet that number is total compensation including vacation pay, medical and pension payments (including social security and unemployment payments) and other benefit costs. I've never seen an employer in a dispute over wages not lump all those things together to try and make the hourly look outrageous.

Postroad: "Sad to say, students are not usually aware enough of what is at issue and so a body in a classroom satisfies them and their parents."

I surprised the experience in the US is so different than here in Canada. Even pre web/facebook as students we were always really aware of what the job action was and we were pretty reluctant to cross a picket-line. Pretty much the only students you see show up were those whose job depended on attendance.
posted by Mitheral at 5:39 PM on September 4, 2016 [13 favorites]


Alas, full-time tenured faculty too often ignore the needs of adjuncts and this comes back to play into the hands of administration.

Full-time tenured faculty are part of the lockout here. From talking with my friend, everyone there is pretty united against the administration.
posted by maggiemaggie at 5:41 PM on September 4, 2016 [9 favorites]


Also, their email and online access were cut off.
posted by maggiemaggie at 5:43 PM on September 4, 2016 [5 favorites]


I think I was just confused because I thought the NLRB prohibited mass firings of union employees, so it seemed bizarre.
Yeah, it's confusing. I think the deal is that it's totally legal to lock workers out and say they can't work and won't get paid until the dispute is resolved. If the employer fired them permanently, that would be retaliation and would be illegal.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:45 PM on September 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm from the California State University (CSU) system and we just had a big contract battle.

Some notable differences:

* CSU has a strong union
* CSU faculty won, getting 10% (ish) raises and some other important concessions.
* Our starting salaries for full time are in the $40s. Our top salaries (tenure w/years of experience) are in the high 90s or low 100s.
* the LiU starting salaries being argued over are $80k or $96k. In other words, LIU's starting salaries are higher than/about the same as CSU max salaries.
* Cost-of-living issues might explain some of this, but I'm sure California has areas as expensive as NYC.
* In California, the entire contract negotiation process is highly regulated, with cooling off periods, strike abeyance, etc. I'm not even sure if there is a "lockout" provision. This seems much more sensible than what's happening at LIU. Private vs. Public differences?
* I don't know details of adjunct vs. tenure-track, and I'm sure that matters.
* Teaching load? No idea.

Mostly, it's interesting to me how different faculty experiences can be. ("Land of contrasts"?)
posted by soylent00FF00 at 5:49 PM on September 4, 2016


LIU seriously just tweeted a contract offer because they shut off email
posted by maggiemaggie at 5:52 PM on September 4, 2016 [12 favorites]


Also: I am *incredibly* skeptical that the minimum salaries are as reported in DNAinfo
"The minimum salary for new professors at LIU Post is $96,000, while the minimum salary for new professors at LIU Brooklyn under the administration’s proposal would be just $80,000, according to Engelman."


I glanced at the Brooklyn collective bargaining agreement and that's actually accurate. Just over $80K is indeed the minimum salary for new professors.

As opposed to new associate professors or new assistant professors. *sad trombone*

the Brooklyn faculty are paid less than their peers at LIU's Post campus on Long Island.

I get that this construction gets used a lot and that it's how many people think about things, but every time I see something like this my brain substitutes something like "Tokyo faculty get paid less than their peers on Honshu."
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:04 PM on September 4, 2016 [9 favorites]


As opposed to new associate professors or new assistant professors. *sad trombone*

Aaaaah. Well that's clever on the part of whichever university flack spread that to the press.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 6:06 PM on September 4, 2016 [11 favorites]


"As opposed to new associate professors or new assistant professors. *sad trombone*"

Argh. Frustrating that they'd distort the numbers.

And of course the definition of "new" could be used very selectively, e.g. newly promoted vs. newly hired are not the same thing, and this gets to issues of salary compression and inversion.
posted by soylent00FF00 at 6:14 PM on September 4, 2016


http://liu.edu/offer has the data on what appear to be Minimal and Initial appointment salaries:

Instructor (probably equivalent to Adjunct?) is about $60K
Assistant is $65K.

That's still better than we see here at California State Univ but not a ton, and I'm sure there are lots of differences that matter.

(Edit: looks like the teaching load is only 9 credits/semester, whereas CSU uses 15 as the baseline for adjuncts, so this might be quite different indeed).
posted by soylent00FF00 at 6:22 PM on September 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


Instructor (probably equivalent to Adjunct?)

Instructor is (usually) not the same as adjunct. An adjunct is hired to teach a specific course in a specific semester. An instructor is hired for some set of academic terms to teach courses, usually not specific ones. *Usually*, an instructor or lecturer is either (a) an assistant professor who didn't get their phd done in time, oops, (b) a visiting position for a year or two, or (c) a permanent-ish teaching position that isn't tenure track.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:46 PM on September 4, 2016 [9 favorites]


Infuriating on so many levels. As a student, I would just... man, fuck you.
posted by stoneandstar at 7:44 PM on September 4, 2016


re:$80k wow that's some sophistry to the public: "new professor" to them = "new young hire" (i.e. assistant professor) not person with 8-20yrs experience poached from elsewhere or promoted through the ranks...

....also if this is a "negotiation", why did they lock them out and cancel their health insurance days after making the offer.
posted by lalochezia at 8:24 PM on September 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


Hunh, my faculty collective bargaining agreement prohibits us from striking. I don't know if the administration would be allowed to lock us out. I can't even imagine.
posted by leahwrenn at 9:20 PM on September 4, 2016


Also, come on. Is it inappropriate for even a brand-new professor to be able to afford a one-bedroom in the city they teach in? $80K = $2000/mo. maximum for rent. Pickings are slim at that level in any reasonably safe area of Brooklyn.
posted by praemunire at 9:25 PM on September 4, 2016 [6 favorites]


My employment in Higher Ed was like an allergic reaction, but thankfully short lived. I see the numbers tweeted are "Appointment Salary", so it's 3/4th's of that in "Annual" dollars, right? So that 90k is really just 67,500 right?
posted by mikelieman at 10:37 PM on September 4, 2016


Just in time for Labor Day!
posted by dhens at 10:47 PM on September 4, 2016 [3 favorites]


1) I have never seen a faculty strike or lockout that did not result in classes being suspended for the duration (in my admittedly limited experience). (In this case typically the term gets extended.) I wonder if they're telling students that classes will go ahead as scheduled because they expect the lockout to end any minute now? Or because they want the students ready to show up at class with a few hours' notice once the lockout ends?

2) I'm kind of surprised to see Hatha yoga and ballet given as the examples of courses being subbed by administrators. Are these degree courses?

3) I would imagine that a big part of the instructor's job in a course like Hatha yoga or ballet is to keep the students from doing things wrong and hurting themselves. I hope LIU has its liability insurance paid up.
posted by heatherlogan at 6:53 AM on September 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'm kind of surprised to see Hatha yoga and ballet given as the examples of courses being subbed by administrators. Are these degree courses?
They offer a BS and a BFA in Dance, so the ballet probably is. I don't know about the yoga. At the university where I work, yoga is more of a fun add-on class than something students take to fulfill a requirement, but it would still be a problem to cancel a yoga class, because a lot of students need the credit to stay on track to graduate or for scholarship or visa purposes. If you cancel a class at the last minute, students have to scramble to find a replacement. If you cancel a lot of classes at the last minute, students are going to be in trouble.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:03 AM on September 5, 2016 [6 favorites]


Sad to say, students are not usually aware enough of what is at issue and so a body in a classroom satisfies them and their parents.

In some cases, yeah, sure, but if I signed up for a ballet class with a previous principal dancer and company teacher with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and got a ballet class with a dean and former professor of biology, I would be FURIOUS.

This entire thing makes me sick.
posted by chainsofreedom at 7:27 AM on September 5, 2016 [6 favorites]


So that 90k is really just 67,500 right?

No, 90K is 90K. The faculty are typically paid that full amount over a 9-month term (but they have to do research and preparation over the summer, so it is a 12-month job).

According to the latest AAUP salary survey, at LIU Post, the average full professor makes $115k, the average associate professor $93k, the average assistant professor $83k, and the average full-time instructor $68k. LIU Brooklyn isn't listed, but obviously they make less. Those are averages; faculty in business and econ and tech fields make more, humanities make less. These are really good salaries for academic jobs at a low-rated university, but the cost of living is crazy in the area.
posted by JohnKarlWilson at 7:45 AM on September 5, 2016 [3 favorites]




Graduate student also on LIU staff has been assigned to teach THE GRADUATE CLASS SHE IS TAKING.

On the plus side, hella easy A.
posted by Etrigan at 9:30 AM on September 6, 2016 [5 favorites]


The locked-out faculty have voted to reject the contract that was on offer.
posted by metaquarry at 1:47 PM on September 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


From a tweet

"What's the value proposition in a university that says literally its entire faculty is replaceable?"
posted by lalochezia at 3:09 PM on September 6, 2016 [8 favorites]


Graduate student also on LIU staff has been assigned to teach THE GRADUATE CLASS SHE IS TAKING.

Well, they say the best way to learn something is to teach it... :/
posted by heatherlogan at 5:52 AM on September 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


Read the LIUFF twitter stream for publicity you just can't buy

GOOD JOB LIU PRESIDENT
posted by lalochezia at 9:28 AM on September 7, 2016


The administration's offer was debated and voted on on Tuesday, as per union tradition, and it was overwhelmingly rejected. Here's the text of the offer - it's pretty bad.

Scabby the Union Rat has shown up at the picket line, though, so that's always fun.
posted by chainsofreedom at 3:33 PM on September 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


LIU Faculty offered to extend the previous contract for 5 weeks to end the lockout, and the admin rejected the proposal.

LIU Post campus has held a vote of no-confidence against president Cline.
posted by chainsofreedom at 1:24 PM on September 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


Today's Democracy Now! broadcast (alt link, .torrent) gave considerable coverage to the continuing LIU situation including an interview with Srividhya Swaminathan, chair of the English Department, and Kiyonda Hester, an LIU social work graduate student who is president of the campus group Activists for Social Justice.
posted by XMLicious at 9:03 AM on September 13, 2016


Please follow on twitter

LIUBoredOfTrustees


and

PresKimCline
posted by lalochezia at 7:42 PM on September 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


From the Democracy Now! transcript that XMLicious posted:

The entire statement is riddled with falsehoods. Five out of the last six contracts ended in a strike is a falsehood. We did not strike in 2000. We did not strike in 2006. We do have our—we do have a history of striking. If you go to LIUFF.net, which is our union website, you can pull up a history of when and how we have gone on strike. The two-month strike referred to, I believe, took place in 1985. There have been several contracts since then. So, that is falsehood number one.

I guess I should have suspected that those claims by the administration were lies, but I am still surprised.

The LIUFF History page even states that the "two-month strike" (actually 6 weeks long, and took place in 1982) referenced in the transcript was over wage parity with the C. W. Post campus.

After that strike, LIUFF struck for 11 days in 1994, for 8 days in 2003, and for 4 days in 2011. Their 2006 contract, 2000 contract, and 1997 contract were all agreed on without strikes. So that makes 3 of the past 6 contract negotiations leading to a strike, not 5. And none went over 2 weeks, much less 2 months.
posted by chainsofreedom at 4:24 PM on September 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


The lockout is over:
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.
posted by metaquarry at 5:33 PM on September 14, 2016 [8 favorites]


Excellent.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 5:34 PM on September 14, 2016


« Older Steve Buscemi and Elliott Sharp ... If you know...   |   The whole assignment really set me up for failure Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments