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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

August 22, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

Opinion

College releases statement after unions announce strike date

After the Ithaca College contingent faculty unions announced at a March 9 news conference that they would strike on March 28 and 29 if the desired contract is not settled by then, the college’s bargaining committee released a statement on the negotiations.

From Senior Vice President Nancy Pringle, Provost Linda Petrosino, and Professor Gwen Seaquist, representatives of the Ithaca College bargaining committee.

The Ithaca College bargaining team would like to offer the following update to our campus community on the negotiations with the part-time, per-course and full-time, one-year term faculty bargaining units.

At our session held on March 8, at 1:05 p.m. (five minutes after the start of the bargaining session) the college submitted a new, enhanced wage proposal for the part-time, per-course faculty. Late in the afternoon, at the request of the federal mediator, both sides agreed to a follow-up session for the morning of March 9 in order to bring to a conclusion the matter of wages for part-time faculty. At 5:00 p.m. on March 8, the union left the session without having responded with a counter-proposal on wages.

As agreed, we met March 9 from 9:00 a.m. to noon. By noon, the college still had not received a counter-proposal on wages, and the union chose to leave negotiations for the day. As it stands, we are still waiting for a counter-proposal to our March 8 offer so that negotiations on that critical provision can move forward.

Shortly after noon, the Ithaca College bargaining team learned that the union announced to the media that it plans to strike on March 28 and 29 if an agreement for part-time faculty cannot be reached by then.

The college had hoped to receive a counter-proposal and was prepared to work beyond the three-hour scheduled time in light of the importance of the issues to all concerned. We are surprised and incredibly disappointed that the union made a strike date announcement given the active status of the negotiations. The college bargaining team is working diligently in order to reach an agreement and avoid a strike. We want and expect the same level of commitment from the faculty bargaining units.

Regarding the full-time, one-year term faculty unit, at the March 8 session the college presented 8 contract provisions in tentative agreement form for signature. We hope to sign off on those tentative agreements with the union as we move forward. The college is working on a response to the appointments and assignments proposal submitted to us by the union. We are awaiting a response from the union on our full-time wages and benefits proposals, which were made on February 24.

We have a bargaining session scheduled with the mediator from 9:30 a.m. to noon on March 15. We have submitted a request to the SEIU to extend that session into the afternoon. We are awaiting a response from the union about whether they will agree to the extended time.

A set of frequently asked questions was created to address common concerns about a possible strike. Additional questions will be added and the content will be updated on a regular basis.  More information about the contingent faculty union negotiations at Ithaca College can be found at www.Ithaca.edu/union.