February 17, 2018

Strike at LIU Resolved in Third Week; Some Rancor at Palmer School

By LJ Staff

A strike at the C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University (LIU), Brookville, NY, was resolved last Friday after nearly three weeks, but it left some lingering rancor at the Palmer School of Library and Information Science. Palmer Dean Mike Koenig said about 80 percent of the school’s classes had been meeting. The department has about 15 adjunct professors, who are in a different union, and about a dozen full-time faculty members, of whom five were on strike. Those striking were given until 10 p.m. Thursday to sign a ‘Declaration of Intent to Return to Work’ or risk losing their salaries and health care coverage for the semester. Koenig and Professor Charles Hildreth, director of Palmer’s doctoral program, issued contentious postings on the JESSE electronic mailing list, with Hildreth disputing Koenig’s interpretation that a semester-long layoff would not in effect jeopardize the status of untenured faculty, among others.

Hildreth, a member of the union executive board and negotiating committee, had his campus e-mail cut off. College Greg Hunter said that it appeared to be retribution against Hildreth; he called it a disservice to students, given that strikers were maintaining contact with students. Koenig said the administration’s position was that Hildreth was using campus resources for union activity; Hildreth said there was no posted policy. Before the resolution Friday, the LIU administration and the faculty union had agreed on three of four issues in contention–wages, workload, and health care coverage–but disagreed on whether the strikers would be docked a significant amount of pay for the time on strike. During the previous strike, the sides agreed that those striking would be docked only $500, but the university wanted docking of full pay. The union argued that those striking had agreed to make up any lost classes, so full pay docking (up to $8,000 or more) would be punitive. The compromise was $3600. Docked funds will be placed in a special account to benefit students by enhancing computer access and library collections, among other things. The fund will be administered by a special committee appointed by the student government.