After three and a half weeks, strike at new school ends with tentative agreement

Nearly 1,800 part-time faculty members who had been on strike since Nov. 16 will return to work at the new school after it was announced Saturday night that negotiators had reached a tentative agreement on collective bargaining.

‚ÄúThis is a strong and fair five-year contract that significantly increases pay, protects health care benefits and ensures part-time faculty are paid for extra work done outside of the classroom. to support our students,” a joint statement from New York City University and the union says.

The union’s leadership, ACT-UAW Local 7902, will unanimously recommend that its members vote to ratify the agreement, with a vote expected to take place in the coming days. “In the meantime, the union has ended the strike and all university classes and events will resume, as scheduled, with immediate effect,” the statement said.

On Thursday, the university released a statement saying it had taken the “extraordinary step of accepting all compensation demands from the union, with the addition of administrative services fees to compensate part-time faculty for their work in outside the classroom”. The New School had announced on Wednesday that it would stop paying and remitting pension and health care contributions to strikers.

The university has yet to say publicly how it will pay the raises. New School President Dwight A. McBride said The Chronicle Wednesday that meeting union wage demands could throw the university into financial chaos and necessitate a tuition hike. McBride was unavailable for comment late Saturday, and it’s unclear how much the trading conditions might have changed in the final days of intensive negotiations.

In a statement on Saturday evening, the union said the contract provided for “substantial increases”, with the largest going to faculty members currently being paid at the lowest rates.

The contract would also boost job security and provide paid family leave and a professional development fund, the union said. And it would apparently resolve what became the main sticking point in negotiations late last week, addressing concerns that some people might lose their health care coverage and others might see their rates go up. arrow.

The interim contract, the union said, includes “expanded health care eligibility for faculty teaching a course, no increases to our health insurance costs, and caps on annual premium increases.”

Part-time workers make up more than 80 percent of the faculty at the private liberal arts college. As the strike entered its fourth week, with classes canceled and grades up in the air, a group of angry parents threatened to file a class action lawsuit against the New School and suspend tuition payments.

Many full-time faculty members had pledged to support their part-time colleagues by refusing to cross picket lines. The university told them last week that they would have to start submitting weekly forms showing they were fulfilling their teaching, research and service responsibilities. In the meantime, he indicated, in a Publish on Twitter that he was considering hiring replacements for the strikers if the walkout was not resolved by the end of the year.

“This is an excellent contract that demonstrates the deep respect we have for all of the contributions of our part-time faculty at The New School, as well as one that sets new standards for part-time faculty at the nationwide,” the university’s statement said Thursday. . “We want nothing more than to return to our mission to teach, learn and create.”

In the plan it presented on Thursday, the New School said it was also offering an additional $2,100 bonus to each member of the assistant union who taught during the pandemic. The university said it also agreed to improvements in health insurance, pensions and tuition. And he said he was adding a new way for part-time faculty members to challenge disciplinary decisions stemming from internal sexual harassment investigations.

The union argues that it is unfair for one person, paid by the university, to make binding decisions in such cases without teachers having the opportunity to appeal to a neutral arbitrator. Details of the university’s new plan were not spelled out in his statement.

The strike had grown increasingly ugly over the past week, with reports of violent and racist threats on social media against university staff and their families. The New School’s faculty, student and staff senates issued a joint statement condemning threats against “employees at will who were just doing their jobs.” The union too sentenced the threats, and the university released a statement saying it “shared the outrage and concern” and had informed law enforcement and campus security officials.

Students who supported the strikers held a protest at the University Center on campus after the New School said it would stop paying the strikers on Wednesday. The students had pledged to stay there until the university resumed paying instructors and a fair contract was signed.

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