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Hofstra University, faculty union leaders sign contract deal

Hofstra University's administration and the school's faculty union

Hofstra University's administration and the school's faculty union leaders signed a memorandum of agreement on a new five-year contract on Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016. Photo Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Hofstra University’s administration and leaders of the school’s faculty union signed an agreement Wednesday on a new five-year contract that gives professors salary increases totaling 18 percent and includes higher health-care costs, the union’s president said.

Representatives from both sides sealed a memorandum of agreement Wednesday night, before the current contract was set to expire at midnight, said Dennis W. Mazzocco, leader of the Hofstra Chapter of the American Association of University Professors.

University officials, in a statement, said, “We are pleased that we’ve reached a mutually satisfying tentative agreement with the AAUP for a new contract. We look forward to welcoming our newest students to campus tomorrow [Thursday], and to a successful academic year.”

The contract is pending ratification by the chapter, which includes about 725 full-time and part-time professors, Mazzocco said.

A union meeting is scheduled for Thursday. The membership has up to 45 days to review the agreement’s terms and then would vote on its ratification.

“President Stuart Rabinowitz was closely involved in the final stages of contract negotiations,” said Mazzocco, a 17-year tenured professor in the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication. “We are fortunate to be associated with a progressive institution that today renewed its commitment to academic freedom and shared governance with this new faculty contract.”

Negotiators were at the bargaining table overnight, Tuesday into Wednesday, and resumed meeting on Wednesday afternoon.

Earlier this week, union leaders said they were prepared to call a strike as early as Thursday morning — just days before the start of the fall semester at the private 10,000-student university and less than a month before the Hempstead school is to host the first presidential debate on Sept. 26.

Professors in the Maurice A. Deane School of Law and the Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine are not represented by the union.

Hofstra’s faculty union has gone on strike twice since the chapter formed in 1973. The last such job action occurred in September 1988 and lasted six days.

In 2011, while negotiating the current contract, the AAUP chapter voted to authorize a strike. The faculty and administration reached a tentative agreement on Aug. 30, 2011 — one day before the contract was to expire.

Hofstra, which the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates preselected last year as an alternate debate site, was named to hold the event after Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, bowed out.

The university will be the first school to host a presidential debate in three consecutive presidential election cycles.

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