Faculty layoffs leads to arbitration

By Lauren Lavelle

In the wake of the layoff notices sent to Rider faculty in October 2018, Rider’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) dispute with Rider’s administration was the focus of a lengthy arbitration hearing conducted over three days in December and January. 

Both the AAUP and the administration provided witnesses and presented documentary evidence to support their cases during the hearing. Both parties expect the arbitration to reach its final verdict in late March.  

According to Jeffrey Halpern, the AAUP’s chief grievance officer, this arbitration was expected. 

In Oct. 2017, the first round of layoff notices were sent to Rider faculty only to be rescinded in early Spring 2018. Halpern said that, during that time, the AAUP kept an arbitrator on hold in case the administration sent out a second round of notices. 

“We felt then and still do now that they were inappropriate layoffs,” Halpern said. “[The layoffs] did not meet the requirements that the contract lays out that allow the university to layoff faculty.”

Members of the AAUP and the administration must now submit written briefs detailing their cases by Feb. 8 so the arbitrator can make final decision. 

“This is a big case and it involves a lot of issues,” Halpern said. “I can’t guarantee that we’re going to win but we have a very strong case, and we wouldn’t have moved forward with this if we didn’t believe that.”

Kristine Brown, the associate vice president for university marketing and communications, said the administration also remains optimistic about the outcome of the arbitration. 

“The university remains confident that this process will result in a decision from an impartial, third-party arbitrator that sustains our right to proceed with the various options as determined by the Board of Trustees last year,” she said. 

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