LIUFF Response

May 8, 2015 by

LIUFF Response

Dear LIUFF Member,

As you may have heard, on Wednesday May 6th, 2015, the LIU- Post Faculty ratified a 3 year contract extension of their bargaining agreement that runs from September 4, 2016 to September 1, 2019.

LIUFF would like to take this opportunity to share some important information with you. The Post and Brooklyn contracts are on the same timetable. They both expire on August 31, 2016. Although we are in two separate union locals, we are, as is so often proclaimed, “One University.” We share the same labor relations expert and the two unions historically worked together. Our respective faculty have helped one another on many occasions. Together, we are stronger. Unfortunately, this time Post decided to go it alone. LIUFF was not informed of this agreement until after the fact, and it was negotiated by their union leadership without our knowledge or input.

You may ask, “Why did Post choose to negotiate a contract extension more than a full year before it expires?”  Usually when unions negotiate a contract extension, it is because it contains a “sweetener;” an incentive is offered and you think that if you don’t take advantage of it now, you lose out. A one-time offer, so to speak. We’ve all seen them. In this case, we can’t find a sweetener because what they negotiated is not favorable.

While I encourage you to read the terms on their website (http://www.cwpcf.org/documents/cwpcfext2016-2019.pdf), here’s the short story:

The contract extension keeps most things the same except for the wage package, which is 1.75% per year for each of three years. Health care is essentially unchanged except for a $5 rise in the co-pay. There’s a .25% per year put in a “longevity pool.” How that’s going to work is not clearly spelled out. There is an increase of 1.75% to overload rates. Initial salary rates are frozen. One terrible feature of the contract extension is that there are several givebacks on fringe benefits, such as health care and retirement provisions, for new faculty hires. In effect, they kept current benefit levels the same in exchange for concessions regarding future hires, a practice known in labor as “eating your young” contracts.

The anemic salary increases agreed to at Post come at a time when the administration has created savings of $30 million through downsizing the workforce and other cutbacks, and following the signing of a Paramount deal that will generate additional revenue.

This action taken by the Post union is very divisive, coming at a time when we have supported the efforts of secretaries and staff to negotiate a contract and created an LIU Labor Council to foster unity among all university unions.

Please know that the LIUFF leadership is meeting to address this situation, and will continue to do so throughout the summer.  By no means will we accept the terms to which Post has agreed.  We are actively preparing for our negotiations, we will fight for appropriate raises and we will not sell out our future colleagues.

We are planning multiple meetings and events for the coming year so that the faculty is fully informed and has input. Please regularly check our website LIUFF.net for updates and/or speak with a member of the Executive Committee if you have questions.

Sincerely,

Jessica Rosenberg, LIUFF President

LIUFF Officers: Ralph Engelman, Vice-President; Mohammed Ghriga, Treasurer; Emily Drabinski, Secretary; Melissa Antinori, Grievance Chair

LIUFF Executive Committee: Esther Brill, Dennis Broe, Sara Campbell, Margaret Cuonzo, Edward Donahue, Stacey Horstmann-Gatti, Susanna Jones, Edward Keane, Rachel King, Maria McGarrity, Deborah Mutnick, Michael Pelias, Klaudia Rivera, Herb Sherman, Vidhya Swaminathan

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