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LIU-Brooklyn lockout ends amid contract negotiations with faculty

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — Faculty at Long Island University's Brooklyn campus will return to their jobs Thursday after reaching a contract deal with the university.

"We have won a victory," a statement from the Long Island University Faculty Federation read Wednesday. "The administration will end their unprecedented lockout effective 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, September 14."

The fall semester began Sept. 6 without more than 600 members of the unionized faculty due to a contract dispute.

"It's heartbreaking we were locked out and all we want to do is be in front of our students teaching them," accounting professor Michelle Horne-Findley told PIX11 News when the lockout began.

The contract with union members expired August 31st. After failing to reach an agreement on a new deal. In anticipation of a strike, the university locked the faculty members out by shutting off their email accounts and canceling their health insurance.

Hundreds of students and faculty members picketed outside of the main building carrying signs reading "let us teach" and "we're fighting for faculty voice."

The collective bargaining agreement is extended until May 31, 2017. The university agreed to using a professional mediator to facilitate a fair contract going forward.

The union says the time frame gives them "the opportunity to negotiate in good faith while preserving LIU Brooklyn."

LIU released a statement Wednesday evening regarding the lockout ending.

"The union’s commitment not to strike during this academic year provides us enough runway to reach a reasonable and fair agreement, while providing our students the ability to continue their studies uninterrupted," said Gayle Haynes, Vice President, Chief Operating Officer and University Counsel. "That has always been our intention. Mediation is a positive step to that end.”

The LIU administration will also make the faculty whole for health care costs that may have incurred during the lockout.

"The union’s unfair labor practice complaints relating to the lockout and our arbitration on pay parity remain active and will be vigorously pursued," the statement read.

Students should plan on returning to classes Thursday.  LIUFF says students may see some "remaining issues" related to classes that were canceled or combined during the lockout.

"The University is committed to continuing its upward trajectory, which includes student success, academic success and improved operations," said Haynes.