/  03.24.2022

Administrators at Howard University have reached an agreement with the college’s labor union just in time to avoid their planned strike.

On Wednesday (March 23), HU officials released a statement in which they announced that they struck a three-year deal with Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 500 to work on improving unfair working conditions.

“We have stood firm in our commitment to respect the bargaining process that our union-faculty are entitled to, and it is in the spirit of that commitment that our leaders remained in hours-long negotiations until an agreement was reached. Our contingent faculty are a respected part of our institution,” the statement read. “We share the collective goal of educating our students and today, because of this agreement and efforts to bargain in good faith on both sides, we will achieve that goal uninterrupted.”

The tentative pact follows a nearly-three-year battle between faculty and the labor group, NPR reported. Both full-time and adjunct professors complained about inadequate pay and poor working conditions and sought raises, health insurance eligibility and the abolishment of a rule that fires non-tenure faculty after seven years. The inability to come to an agreement led to a rally and threats of a strike that would see staff withdraw from teaching and other administrative duties. Given the recent deal, however, the strike, which was scheduled to occur between Wednesday (March 23) and Friday (March 25), was called off.

According to a statement from SEIU Local 500, the terms of the pact need to be approved by members of the union in the next few weeks. Still, they referred to the move as a “historic achievement for improving the lives of teaching faculty, and strengthening the Howard community as a whole.”

The faculty at HU later celebrated the tentative deal with a triumphant rally.

 

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