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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

May 26, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

Opinion

Ithaca College bargaining team responds to strike vote date

The Ithaca College bargaining team is disappointed to hear of the part-time, per-course faculty union’s announcement that it plans to conduct a strike authorization vote on February 13 and 14. Significant and meaningful progress has been made to date in the negotiations for a part-time faculty contract. There is a planned bargaining session with a federal mediator set for February 21 to discuss the college’s most recent wage proposal, as well as another bargaining session with the mediator scheduled for February 24.

By way of background, the parties have been in negotiations for a first contract for part-time faculty for a little over 15 months. Although this is longer than any of us would have liked, first contracts often take over a year to complete due to the fact that there is no existing contract from which to start negotiations. During these past months, we have reached tentative agreements on 23 separate articles with the part-time faculty unit. Most recently, on January 18 the college and the union reached a tentative agreement on appointments, and on February 2 the college and the union reached a tentative agreement on employment benefits. The tentative agreement on appointments includes a provision that extends the length of part-time faculty appointments, which addresses the important issue of job stability for part-time faculty.

Thanks in part to the help of the neutral federal mediator, who has worked with both sides since December, we now have only three provisions remaining under negotiation with the part-time faculty unit:

The recognition clause. This clause defines which positions are included in the bargaining unit.

Pay for union business time. The union is requesting that the college compensate union leaders for time they spend conducting union business.

Wages. On February 2, the college submitted a new wage increase proposal for part-time faculty to the union. The union is currently reviewing that proposal. The union has agreed that during our next scheduled session on February 21, they will come prepared with a response to that proposal and resume negotiations with the help of the federal mediator.

The college is committed to negotiating a collective bargaining agreement. The parties are meeting, and progress is occurring at each session.

A strike authorization vote is just that—an authorization to strike if negotiations stall. We are still making progress in negotiations, and both sides are still moving in their positions on the issues at the bargaining table. The college bargaining team is committed to working toward our mutual goal of a negotiated collective bargaining agreement. We feel strongly that that is the best path forward for all.