Professors and academic professionals say they’ve been waiting months for a new contract, and rallied at a Nassau Community College board meeting last week to see if they can finally make it happen.
The Nassau Community College Federation of Teachers, an educators union supporting the Uniondale school’s full-time faculty, gathered some 100 professors and school administrators to the Dec. 13 meeting to try and get themselves back under contract — something they haven’t had since last August.
When they arrived on the 11th floor of the NCC tower, however, they were greeted with boxes of pizza and cups of coffee to help give them that extra boost leading into the meeting.
“They’ve worked all day,” said union president Faren Siminoff. “It’s been a long day for everyone, but they came out tonight because we’ve been waiting for months now.”
Negotiations have been going longer than the expired contract, Siminoff said. In fact, talks started in July with professors looking for a raise that would help keep up with inflation.
“As of today, they haven’t offered anything that is acceptable,” Siminioff said, adding that over the past five years, full-time faculty workers have seen minimal — if any — pay increases to their annual contracts.
“Our wages obviously haven’t kept up with inflation,” Siminoff said. “While we don’t expect a 7 percent increase, we expect something that’s reasonable.”
The union also is asking NCC to keep paid semester-long sabbaticals — a half-year period for professors to commit to a research project in their field, every seven years.
“The college is always lauding all the wonderful initiatives we come up with, which often stem out of our sabbaticals,” Siminoff said. “We want to be treated as professionals. Were not really asking for a lot.”
Rita Langdon, acting vice president of institutional advancement at NCC, says the school has been a part of 19 bargaining sessions to date, and that arriving to an agreement is going to require a little give and take from both sides. But what actually has slowed down negotiations, Langdon wouldn’t elaborate, calling such talks confidential.
NCC enrolls more than 10,000 undergraduates on its sprawling 225-acre campus, teaching the likes of comedians Billy Crystal and Eddie Murphy, as well as actor Steve Buscemi