April 6, 2017

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UUP, unions rally in rain for LIU faculty

uupdate 4-6-17

CLICK HERE to watch a video of the rally

A rainy, raw morning in Brooklyn didn’t stop nearly 100 die-hard unionists and Long Island University Brooklyn students from rallying in support of LIU faculty.

AFT President Randi Weingarten, NYSUT Executive Vice President Andrew Pallotta, UUP President Fred Kowal, PSC/CUNY President Barbara Bowen and PEF President Wayne Spence topped the list of speakers at the April 6 rally—which was held under two small tents near the school’s Flatbush Avenue entrance.

“There are forces loose in this country that want to destroy unions and want to destroy the chances for economic equality,” Kowal, above, said. “At the same time, they want to destroy the opportunity that education provides. We will be with you, rain or shine, because this is about justice, and the fight for justice goes on forever.”

Unionists, many of them in town for NYSUT’s annual Representative Assembly, crowded under the tents and huddled under umbrellas as they chanted and cheered for LIU faculty, which has criticized administration for making major, unilateral decisions—such as cutting academic programs and imposing a hard deadline for curriculum review—without consulting faculty.

The Long Island University Faculty Federation (LIUFF), which represents faculty at the university, also called on the administration to sign fair contracts with LIU unions before LIU’s May 11 commencement. Last September, administration locked out faculty for 12 days after administrators refused to negotiate a new contract with LIUFF.

uupdate 4-6-17

“We’re not fighting for a pot of gold, we’re fighting for a fair contract so that these workers, these educators, can do what they want to do for kids,” Weingarten, above, said during a fiery five-minute speech. “We’re about lifting all boats. We’re not about fighting, we’re not about dividing and conquering. We are about making sure that kids have what they need to succeed.”

Union leaders, including Pallotta and Kowal, assured LIUFF members that they can count on strong support from their sister unions.

“We are all with you because it’s important that we stick together,” Pallotta said. “They’re trying to tear us apart. And we sing the songs about solidarity forever, but this is what solidarity looks like. This is what democracy looks like!”

"We will be here for your fight, because your fight is our fight," Bowen said.

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