Barnard Contingent Faculty Union Approves Strike
Written by Bwog Staff
A majority vote has granted Barnard Contingent Faculty Union power to declare a strike. This news comes after a long contract negotiation process between the college and BCF-UAW, as the parties have struggled to settle details like fair wage and benefits. While Barnard would like for operations to continue as usual, a strike could mean cancelled exams for students enrolled in an adjunct professor’s class, for example. Provost Bell issued a statement to students today explaining the impact this decision has on them, assuring that classes outside the unit will still be held, and any changes would be communicated in advance. Her statement also clarifies that though a strike has been approved, its occurrence is not guaranteed.
Dear Members of the Barnard Community,
I am writing to inform you the Barnard Contingent Faculty Union (BCF)-UAW has completed its strike authorization vote. The vote authorized a strike, which means that union leadership can call for a strike at any point during the negotiations. Please know, however, that this does not mean that a strike will necessarily take place.
While we are disappointed by this outcome, the College continues to negotiate with the union in good faith, as has been the case since the process began in February. Thus far, the bargaining sessions have been productive and we are in agreement, or very close to agreement, on most non-economic terms. In addition, the College made a substantive economic offer more than three months ago, though we have yet to receive a response from the union other than an agreement to discuss economic terms once the non-economic terms are finalized. We have three additional bargaining sessions before the winter holidays, and, during these sessions, we hope to come to an agreement on a first contract.
Please know, however, that should the union move forward with a strike, every effort will be made to keep the College operating as normally as possible. All faculty outside of the Barnard Contingent Faculty unit will be expected to teach classes and administer exams, papers, and presentations as previously described in course syllabi. All staff outside of the unit will be expected to report to work as scheduled. While we intend to hold classes throughout the duration of a strike, any necessary changes to class schedules, meeting times, or locations will be communicated in advance. In the event that some classes need to be cancelled, all efforts will be made to proceed with the semester so that coursework can be completed and graded in a timely manner.
The possibility of a strike is eminently disconcerting to us all, and I can only imagine that many of you may have questions about campus operations and safety. To find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about a potential strike, visit https://barnard.edu/hr/bcf-uaw-negotiations/strike-faqs.
As we move through the remaining three bargaining sessions this semester, I will continue to keep the community informed of our progress. Meanwhile, please know that our overarching goal is a fair first contract that honors the commitment of our contingent faculty, and that protects the vitality of the academic program and our core mission as an institution.
Linda A. Bell
Provost and Dean of the Faculty
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