Long Island University,
September 6, 2016
“It’s disappointing that the LIUFF has rejected a contract offer that the University believes is generous and highly competitive. The University will continue to bargain in good faith, with the goal of welcoming its valued faculty back to the classroom upon timely resolution of the contract. During this timeframe, we will remain laser focused on our students beginning to the Fall semester with little or no disruption to their academic studies.”
- Gale Haynes, Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, and University Counsel, LIU
LIU BROOKLYN FALL SEMESTER STARTS SEPT. 7, 2016
September 1, 2016
—University confirms normal campus operations—
LIU Brooklyn has announced that its fall semester will begin as scheduled on Sept. 7, 2016. The campus will be operating normally while labor negotiations with the Brooklyn Campus faculty union continue.
The University has remained focused on its top priority of providing a high-quality education at an affordable price. This pledge has been demonstrated by capping of annual tuition rate increases at two percent or less through 2020, an unprecedented commitment to its students beginning in 2014. Industry analysts have acknowledged the University’s achievements, as reflected in accolades such as recognition in Forbes Investor’s Guide to College Admissions “10 Undervalued ‘Buys’” feature. LIU has also recently been recognized as one of the Best Pharmacy Grad Schools 2015, U.S. News and World Report; #1 Best School for Health Professionals 2015, Payscale.com; Best OT, PT, and PA Programs 2015, U.S. News and World Report, and Community Service Honor Roll, The White House.
As an institution deriving more than 90% of its revenue from tuition, the bold decision to limit costs for students and their families, comes with a renewed responsibility to allocate funding thoughtfully. Under the leadership of President Kimberly R. Cline, the university has made significant strides in securing and sustaining a strong financial position, aligning resources with strategic initiatives, and improving its creditworthiness. A recent Moody’s research publication highlighted the strength of LIU’s President and leadership citing its impact on the university’s “considerable improvement in operating performance and liquidity.”
In order to achieve these goals, and continue elevating the quality of education at LIU, the University has been actively engaged in contract negotiations with the Brooklyn Campus faculty union since LIUFF authorized a strike authorization vote in May, 2016. The faculty contract expired on August 31, 2016.
Based on the most recent contract, the Brooklyn faculty and adjuncts are well compensated when compared to peers at other institutions within the tri-state area and nationally. Average salaries for LIUFF faculty at LIU Brooklyn outperformed 80 percent of peer 4-year Master’s colleges and universities across the United States in academic year 2015-2016 (Source: AAUP, LIU Human Resources). Average salaries for LIUFF faculty at LIU Brooklyn also outperformed peer 4-year Master’s colleges and universities in the Mid-Atlantic region in academic year 2015-2016 (Source: AAUP, LIU Human Resources). LIU Brooklyn Adjunct Faculty salaries exceed those of peer institutions such as Adelphi University, Hofstra University, Pace University, and St. John’s University.
Fringe benefits provided to the full-time Brooklyn Faculty also exceed industry standards. Historically, the robust benefit package is among the highest in the Mid-East region and in the top 15% of peer colleges and universities in the United States. (Source: IPEDS, Carnegie Classification: Masters Colleges and Universities [larger programs]).
The University’s proposal builds upon the faculty’s already strong compensation packages, guaranteeing an average wage increase of 13.4% over the five-year term with some faculty receiving increases in excess of 22%. Additionally, the offer provides opportunities for promotional increases and variable compensation incentives.
Despite the university’s offer, the union has insisted on positions that are not compatible with the University’s dedication to fiscal responsibility. The proposals set forth by the union to date would compromise the university’s ability to limit tuition costs for students and their families. The university is open to continuing discussions at any time, including throughout the weekend.
As the start date for Fall 2016 semester approached, the University was compelled to set a course of action to guarantee that courses would begin as scheduled on September 7. Historically, the Faculty Union has instituted a work stoppage on the first day of classes on several prior occasions, including in 2011. While acknowledging that faculty members maintain a legal right to strike, it must also be recognized that these work stoppages were designed to cause the most disruption and impact to the student learning experience.
To achieve a seamless start to the school year for students the university began recruiting and readying a temporary group of adjuncts with advanced degrees, and prepared to institute a lockout of union faculty, effective September 3. In the absence of an agreement and to ensure an uninterrupted academic experience for its students the university has asked the faculty to ratify a contract before returning to work.
“We have an unwavering focus on providing a high quality education that equips our students with the dynamic skills and expertise they need to succeed, at an affordable price,” said Dr. Jeffrey Kane, LIU’s senior vice president for academic affairs. “Ultimately, we are committed to reaching a settlement with the LIU Brooklyn faculty union that is fair to faculty and students alike.”
Dr. Kane adds, “We have consistently achieved mutually successful negotiations with our valued faculty and are hopeful that a new contract agreement will be reached soon. Meanwhile, we remain steadfastly committed to our students and to the continuity of their education at LIU.”
LIU is one of the nation’s largest private universities. Since 1926, LIU has provided high quality academic programs taught by world-class faculty. LIU offers 500 accredited programs to more than 20,000 students and has a network of over 200,000 alumni, including leaders in industries across the globe. Visit liu.edu for more information.
What is the status of faculty union contract negotiations at LIU Brooklyn?
The contract between LIU administration and the union for the faculty of the Brooklyn Campus has expired on August 31, 2016. Representatives from the University and faculty union are engaged in contract negotiations, and we are hopeful that a contract agreement will be reached in the near future.
What is a “lock out” and why has the University chosen this option?
The LIU Brooklyn contract has a no-strike no-lockout clause, as is commonplace in most contracts. As the contract expires, each party has a right to react. While the lockout instituted by the University is an isolated incident, five out of the last six contract negotiations have resulted in strike votes by the LIU Brooklyn faculty– including one lasting nearly two months.
This causes an undeniable and prolonged disruption to students’ academic goals and campus life – while holding the University captive to union demands. A strike situation – which appeared to be inevitable as the faculty authorized and publicized a vote this year in May, before active negotiations were even underway - would clearly compromise our ability to keep tuition affordable for LIU Brooklyn’s 8,000 students and their families. In the interest of providing stability for students, the University was forced to develop a contingency plan - bringing in a qualified and temporary teaching staff to ensure classes could start as scheduled.
Will classes begin as planned?
Yes, the fall semester will begin as scheduled on Sept. 7, 2016. LIU campuses will be open and operating normally. The contingency plan is designed to ensure students’ education and campus life will continue as planned. As it has been since our founding in 1926, LIU’s focus is the education and success of our students.
What is the expected outcome of the negotiations?
LIU Brooklyn faculty has been unionized for decades, and we have consistently achieved mutually successful negotiations in the past. We expect to uphold this tradition as we negotiate in good faith towards a mutually fair and fiscally responsible solution.
What are the University’s goals in these negotiations?
Our first priority is our students. We remain committed to providing a high quality education and making education affordable, by maintaining a cap of 2 percent for tuition increases through 2020. The University's offer is well above our peers, and we are hopeful that the union will ratify a contract soon. We greatly respect our faculty and recognize the value they bring to our University. We are eager for them to return to the classroom.
Who will be teaching my courses if the union does not ratify a contract?
In addition to a large group of administrators who currently teach, the University has recruited qualified faculty with advanced degrees and expertise. These dedicated resources will discuss their background and credentials, and reaffirm their commitment to your academic success when classes begin.
What are some of the key issues in negotiations between the faculty union and management?
LIU holds its faculty in high esteem and the University is eager for them to return to the classroom. Below are some of the details of the proposal offered to the LIUFF in the interest of achieving a mutually fair and fiscally responsible solution:
In recognition of the faculty’s importance, the University has offered a generous across-the-board wage proposal, calling for an average salary improvement during the term of the proposed contract of approximately 13.4%, with some faculty members receiving increases exceeding 22%. These wage increases for full-time faculty come on top of an existing base that is highly competitive relative to regional and nationwide peer schools.
Indeed, for 2015-2016, average salaries for LIUFF faculty at LIU Brooklyn outperformed 80 percent of peer 4-year Master’s colleges and universities across the United States, and also outperformed peer 4-year Master’s colleges and universities in the Mid-Atlantic region. Under the current contract, the starting salary for a full professor is over $80,000 for nine months (faculty can teach additional courses during the summer for extra compensation), and full-time LIUFF members earn an average salary of approximately $91,000. The new minima salary for a full professor will be $96,077 by the end of the contract.
In addition, the University offers a more generous benefits package than nearly any of its peer institutions, with an industry-leading benefit rate of 47.5% (as compared to a national average of 29.9% for universities and a regional average of 27.9%), meaning that the value of benefits amount to nearly half of employee salaries. Thus, the average total compensation for full-time Brooklyn faculty members was $134,406 in 2015-2016. Under the new proposal total compensation for a new hire will be $142,000 by the end of the contract.
Put in context, according to the most recent census data, the median salary for Brooklyn residents was $46,958.
Is there a difference between minima salaries between LIU’s two campuses and why?
The University’s Collective Bargaining Agreements with LIU Brooklyn and LIU Post Faculty have consistently included the same offer. Each union has independently directed wage increases to best suit the various and differing needs of its respective constituents. LIU Brooklyn chose to reallocate their percentages and freeze minima salaries to provide rank payments and other distributions to their members. In particular, to reallocate wage increases in a manner that did not increase minima salaries at the same rate as the Post faculty.
Despite the fact that this issue is a direct result of decisions made by union leadership, the University has offered a comprehensive plan to address the salary minima during the life of the proposed contract. Our offer provides for salary increases that will ensure all full time Brooklyn faculty are paid at or above the minimum levels of their LIU Post colleagues by the beginning of the final year of the contract. In some cases, this will include salary increases of greater than 22% over the five year term.
What recognition has LIU Brooklyn received recently to reflect its momentum?
LIU Brooklyn has received notable recognition recently, including a citation in the Forbes Investor’s Guide to College Admission “10 Undervalued ‘Buys’” feature. Forbes calls LIU Brooklyn as one of the “hot colleges in the making” with an innovative focus on experiential learning. Other accolades include being ranked: Best Pharmacy Grad Schools 2015, U.S. News and World Report; #1 Best School for Health Professionals 2015, Payscale.com; Best OT, PT, and PA Programs 2015, U.S. News and World Report, and Community Service Honor Roll, The White House.
What will happen if the contract resolution is reached?
This is our greatest hope. LIU will honor the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, with the faculty returning to teach for the remainder of the semester.
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