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Howard University and faculty reach a tentative labor deal, ending strike threat

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 25: A view of the Howard University campus October 25, 2021 in Washington, DC. Students have complained about mold and poor conditions in some dorm rooms and over 100 students have been staging a weeks-long protest to highlight the issues. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Howard University's administration reached a tentative agreement with the union that represents faculty members, who are fighting for better pay. A strike that was set to take place is now called off.

Howard University administrators and the union that represents faculty members have reached a tentative three-year agreementto negotiate fairer working conditions, averting a strike.

After the early Wednesday deal, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 500, agreed to call off the planned three-day walkout, the university said.

The tentative pact still needs a vote of ratification by union membership, which is set to take place in the coming weeks.

Faculty members in the union had been fighting for an agreement for about three years. Adjunct professors and full-time non-tenured professors were seeking better pay, the ability to teach enough courses to access Howard's health insurance and ending a rule under which non-tenure track faculty are let go after seven years.

The union had originally planned to strike from Wednesday to Friday if an agreement had not been reached. Faculty in the union would have not held their classes or taken part in other academic responsibilities.

"We successfully doubled down on our promise to bargain in good faith with the SEIU and deliver a fair labor contract for faculty, the University and our community," Howard Provost Anthony Wutoh said.

On Wednesday morning, faculty and the union were set to meet to discuss "this historic achievement for improving the lives of teaching faculty, and strengthening the Howard community as a whole," they said on social media.

A celebration rally also took place on campus. Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.