LIU Brooklyn teacher lockout ends; contract talks continue

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NEW YORK (AP) — About 400 faculty members of a New York City university were back to teaching Thursday after the school locked them out for 12 days over a bitterly contested contract.

The action by Long Island University in Brooklyn that suddenly left professors without health insurance or access to email also deprived about 8,000 students of their teachers. They were replaced by substitutes, many of whom students said were not qualified to teach a particular subject.

The Long Island University Faculty Federation union reached an agreement late Wednesday with the private school that extends the contract to May 31, 2017, allowing bargaining to continue.

On Thursday, students and teachers scrambled to get back to normal.

Faculty members agreed to refrain from striking during negotiations and they accepted a proposal to engage a mediator.

"The union's commitment not to strike during this academic year provides us enough runway to reach a reasonable and fair agreement, while providing our students the ability to continue their studies uninterrupted," said Gale Haynes, the university's chief operating officer.

Both full professors and adjuncts were locked out of the school's Brooklyn campus a few days before classes were to start on Sept. 7. The faculty contract expired Aug. 31.

The university had said professors rejected a proposed contract that would have cut salaries and hours for new adjunct professors — who represent about half the teaching staff — while offering existing faculty average raises of more than 13 percent over five years.

Classes started last week with the replacement teachers. Some ended quickly after attendance was taken or a syllabus handed out, students said. And science laboratories were canceled because those in charge must have a safety license.

The university also has a campus on Long Island that was not affected by the labor troubles.

Another sticking point in negotiations was that tenured professors at the Brooklyn campus are paid less than its Long Island campus, LIU Post.

LIU spokeswoman Jennifer Solomon said the differences in salaries between the Brooklyn and Long Island faculty are a result of salary structures requested by the union in previous contracts.