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LIU Brooklyn mediator withdraws from talks; negotiations in limbo

An impartial mediator has withdrawn from talks between faculty and LIU Post Brooklyn administrators that union leaders say has thrown “negotiations back into limbo.”

The American Federation of Teachers, which has backed the local union, said in a news release Thursday that after several rounds of talks, mediation was terminated this week when the mediator formally notified the parties that they could not reach a resolution.

The Long Island University Faculty Federation, which represents the professors, hoped mediation would end the stalemate for the 400 Brooklyn faculty members hoping to negotiate an agreement, according to the release. The contract expired Aug. 31 but was extended to May 31, 2017, and discussions could resume until then.

A 12-day lockout of unionized faculty members at LIU Brooklyn ended in September. Compulsory third-party mediation was part of the agreement to end the lockout, according to the AFT.

“The union sought out mediation to bring peace to the campus and assure the students, faculty and community that LIU could resolve its attack on the faculty. Unfortunately the administration did not appear to share our hopeful view of mediation,” said Jessica Rosenberg, president of the Long Island University Faculty Federation.

Gale Haynes, vice president of academic affairs LIU Brooklyn and chief operating officer, said the administration had made a clear request to move the mediation forward.

“The LIUFF statements do not accurately reflect the events of last Monday’s negotiations,” she said. “Despite our request of the LIUFF, we were extremely disappointed to learn of its decision not to continue with the mediation process. We remain available, willing and eager to negotiate and urge the faculty union leadership to return to the bargaining table as soon as possible.”

LIU Brooklyn administration and the faculty members have been at odds over pay and cuts to health benefits. Union officials contend that professors and instructors at LIU Brooklyn are paid significantly less than their counterparts at LIU Post in Brookville. University officials have said the Brooklyn faculty is asking for a contract that LIU can’t afford.

Faculty at the Brooklyn and Brookville campuses are represented by different collective bargaining units and are not on the same negotiating schedule, officials said.

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