The Law Office of Lynnette Ariathurai A Professional Corporation

Contract dispute rages, faculty locked out, insurance canceled

Like some employment contract impasses in California, a raging battle at a private university in a northeastern city has led to some drastic measures being taken by school administrators. A contract dispute has remained unresolved since the old agreement expired at the end of August. However, no one expected the situation to escalate to the contentious level it has now reached.

The university campus provides education to many Hispanic, black and immigrant students. Many teachers say the administration's recent antics are designed to weaken the union's position. In an unprecedented move, administrators locked all faculty out of their emails and offices, and canceled their health insurance packages as well.

Classes for the new school year at Long Island University-Brooklyn were scheduled to begin on a recent Wednesday. The only problem is that those classes are now scheduled to be held without professors. The private university has taken steps for qualified replacements to teach. Administration spokespersons said their actions were meant to head off a teachers' strike, which has occurred in five out of the last six contract negotiations.

One of twelve librarians at the school recently stated that, before the lockout, she and her colleagues planned to show up for work on the first day of classes. She further noted that locking teachers out of their classrooms was not an appropriate way to avert a strike. The administration says it hired at least 140 replacement teachers to instruct students while the contract dispute remains unresolved. Similar issues in California are not always so cut and dried, making agreeable solutions difficult to achieve. Often, successful results hinge upon skilled and experienced negotiation which can typically be provided by a business and commercial law attorney. 

 

 

Source: The New York Times, "L.I.U.-Brooklyn Locks Out Professors Amid Contract Dispute", Liz Robbins, Sept. 6, 2016

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