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Breaking: College reaches tentative deal with part-time faculty union to end historic strike

Addison Annis
File photo

The college said it has reached a tentative deal with the part-time faculty union, potentially ending the longest adjunct strike in U.S. history.

“We are pleased to announce that the college and CFAC, the Columbia part-time faculty union, reached a tentative agreement today,” according to an email from the Office of the President sent on Sunday evening, Dec. 17. The email was signed by Columbia Faculty Union President Diana Vallera, Vice President Lisa Formasa-Parmigiano and Columbia Chief of Staff Laurent Pernot and Special Counsel Labor Relations Terence Smith. 

The email said the deal will be submitted for a ratification vote this week by the union. 

If union members approve the deal, J-term and the Spring 2024 semester will proceed as planned.

It is unclear how many union members will get to vote on the new contract. Not all of the college’s 584 part-time instructors voted to go on strike on Oct. 30. The union said it had an 88% approval vote to strike but didn’t say how many of its members were eligible to participate. 

The union went on strike over cost-cutting measures the college is implementing to address a $20 million deficit. The union was particularly upset over an increase in some class sizes and a reduction in course sections, which will mean fewer opportunities for them to teach.

Hundreds of classes were impacted each day that the strike went on because the majority of Columbia’s teachers are part-time instructors. 

“I am, and I believe many full-time faculty are as well, relieved at the idea of a J-term and spring semester where the prospect of a strike doesn’t loom over us,” said Faculty Senate President Madhurima Chakraborty. “It will be great to have our colleagues back in the classroom, for full-time faculty to return to their normal workload, to begin to chart ways to repair a factious environment, and, most importantly, to have students be able to progress in their education without interruptions.” 

Tyler Harding, president of the Student Government Association, said he hopes that over the coming semesters, students can “heal together as a campus and come back together as one Columbia.”

“I think this is a moment of excitement for students, a moment of relief,” Harding said. 

After Thanksgiving break, many of the college’s 221 full-time faculty, who are not unionized, picked up the classes of their striking part-time colleagues to help students finish the fall semester, which ended on Saturday, Dec. 16.

By then, nearly half of the college’s part-time instructors were teaching and not honoring the strike.

The college and the union agreed to bring in a federal mediator to aid with bargaining sessions in late November, after initially disagreeing on how to pursue mediation. 

Because of the strike, students were allowed to choose pass/fail for their courses. The grading window for faculty also was extended until Jan. 3.

This story has been updated. 


Spanish Digest

​​El colegio llegó a un acuerdo tentativo con el sindicato de profesores a tiempo parcial (CFAC) que podría poner fin a la huelga de profesores adjuntos más larga de la historia de los Estados Unidos. 

Se envió un correo electrónico, anunciando este acuerdo, el domingo 17 de diciembre, “Nos complace anunciar que la universidad y CFAC, el sindicato de profesores a tiempo parcial de Columbia, llegaron a un acuerdo tentativo hoy.” 

El correo electrónico fue firmado por la presidenta del sindicato de profesores a tiempo parcial de Columbia, Diana Vallera y la vicepresidenta del sindicato, Lisa Formasa-Parmigiano. Junto con el jefe de personal Laurent Pernot y el asesor especial de relaciones laborales, Terence Smith. 

El acuerdo sera presentado para una votación de ratificación esta semana por el sindicato, segun el correo electrónico. 

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About the Contributors
Olivia Cohen
Olivia Cohen, Former Editor-in-Chief
ocohen@columbiachronicle.com   Olivia Cohen is a senior journalism major, minoring in Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies. She primarily reports on Columbia's financial health, administration and unions, but has also written about personnel and department changes, COVID-19 policies and abortion. She joined the Chronicle in August 2021.   Hometown: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Miranda Bucio
Miranda Bucio, Former Campus Editor
mbucio@columbiachronicle.com   Miranda Bucio is a senior journalism major and reports primarily on Columbia's Latino Student Alliance. She has also reported on city film festivals, Student Government Elections and metro restaurants. Bucio worked for the Chronicle from August 2023 through May 2024.   Hometown: Riverside, Illinois
Addison Annis
Addison Annis, Director of Photography
aannis@columbiachronicle.com   Addison Annis is a junior photojournalism major, minoring in video production. She has covered politics, cultural events and Chicago protests. Annis joined the Chronicle in August 2022.   Hometown: Plymouth, Minn.