By Emily Landgraf
A strike was averted this week when a tentative agreement between Rider’s faculty union and the administration was reached Saturday, according to officials from both sides.
Negotiations between Rider’s chapter of the American Association of University (AAUP) Professors took place last Friday and lasted nearly all of Saturday, not abating until 9 p.m. During that meeting both sides “reached a tentative 3-year labor agreement which begins on September 1 subject to ratification by both parties,” according to an email sent to AAUP membership.
While many students believe a break from class would have been welcome, they are nonetheless glad that a strike was averted.
“I’m happy that some sort of an agreement was made,” said senior Megan Cook. “The professors work hard and deserve what they want.”
Others really did just want the break from coursework.
“Since Rider doesn’t get a fall break, it would have been a stress reliever to have a few days off,” said senior Erin McGrady. “We’re at the midpoint of the semester and this is where everyone gets strapped down with work and gets a little crazy. The days off definitely would have given me time to catch up on my work and sleep.”
When asked what students could expect in the way of their own preparations in the event of a strike, administrative officials declined to comment.
Junior Katie Green said that the administration should have informed students about what would have happened if the union had called a strike.
“There was so much confusion from everyone I talked to, and it could have been avoided,” she said.
When it came to choosing sides in the event of a strike, senior Chris Homoky was decisive.
“I would support the teachers completely in a strike,” he said. “They work themselves pretty hard for what more often than not comes out to minimum wage or lower. Asking for a few benefits and a cost of living raise isn’t that outrageous; certainly not as outrageous as denying the hardworking people who make the university actually work those very things.”
Before the tentative agreement was reached, AAUP and the administration had already settled non-economic issues, such as faculty governance and workload. The tentative agreement now includes salary and benefit agreements, which will not be made public until both sides have had a chance to ratify it.
“With the parties having reached a tentative agreement following a number
of months of extended discussions on a broad range of issues, each side
has committed to seek ratification of the new labor agreement within the
next few weeks,” said Robert Stoto, chief negotiator for the administration.
Dr. Jeffrey Halpern, chief negotiator for the union, provided some information about the ratification process.
“A summary of the changes to the agreement will be produced and provided to each member of the AAUP,” he said. “A special chapter meeting will be held, at which point the membership will vote.
Along the same lines the administration will present the tentative agreement to the Board of Trustees for its ratification. If the AAUP membership and the members of the Board of Trustees vote to ratify, then and only then will the possibility of a strike be completely off the table.”