The Ithaca College contingent faculty unions announced they will strike March 28 and 29 if, by that time, a contract has not been negotiated with the college giving part-time faculty members higher pay and full-time faculty members longer–term contracts.
At a news conference held March 9, Sarah Grunberg, instructor in the Department of Sociology, said the part time–faculty union left a bargaining session March 8, agreed to an emergency bargaining session held from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. March 9 and expected the administration to deliver a significant compensation raise. However, she said it did not.
Rachel Kaufman, lecturer in the Department of Writing, said the part-time faculty came down from its goal of pay parity with full-time contingent faculty members at the March 8 session — the lowest paid full-time contingent faculty member at the college makes about $48,000 a year, so pay parity for a part-time faculty member would be $24,000 a year, as previously reported by The Ithacan. Megan Graham, assistant professor in the Department of Writing, would not disclose exactly where the part-time faculty came down to but that at the March 9 meeting, the administration rejected its offer.
“Through our mediator, we made an offer to come down off of pay parity to attempt to get them to move,” Graham said. “They came back with, ‘No, what else you got?’ We found that even coming down from a principle of justice did not do us any good.”
Kaufman said the unions do not have an exact number on how many unionized faculty members are expected to strike. She said having 88 percent of both the part-time and full-time faculty members who voted, separately, vote to authorize the strike was telling enough of the support, though the unions would not release the numbers on how many faculty members voted.
Graham said the full time–contingent faculty union is still working with the administration on a job security proposal — one in which contingent faculty members on one-year contracts can face three options at the end of a three-year period working at the college: One, their department can review their performance and offer them another one-year contract; two, the college can open up a non–tenure track position and give contingent faculty members a guaranteed interview for the position; or three, the faculty members could not be rehired.
Dave Maley, senior associate director for media and community relations, said the college is disappointed that instead of continuing to bargain with the college March 9 — which he said the administration was willing to do — the union announced a strike date.
“By continuing to bargain, a contract agreement can be reached,” Maley said. “If the union does strike, the college will be prepared to ensure that our students continue to receive their education.”
The unions will meet with the administration again March 15 for another bargaining session, Kaufman said. Grunberg said the unions are open to adding more bargaining sessions with the college before the scheduled strike date.