Queen sacrifice as bargaining strategy

Rider University logoRider University avoided having a queen sacrifice after all.  Its administration announced serious cuts to academic programs and faculty earlier this month. Now Rider faculty decided to make their own sacrifices rather than see some of their number laid off and their programs closed.

Instead of losing full-time professors, Rider will freeze faculty salaries for two years. The campus may also see faculty leave in a different way: “The university will also extend its early retirement incentives to more full-time faculty members and have more flexibility in replacing them with adjunct professors…”  “‘It was a pretty bitter pill,’ Jeff Halpern, contract administrator for the Rider chapter of the American Association of University Professors, said Friday…”

Let’s look at the timeline of how this queen sacrifice proposal played out:

With talks about concessions at a standstill, the school announced the cuts on Oct. 29, two days before the contractual Oct.

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31 deadline to notify the union of layoffs, he said.

That kicked off a 21-day window for the union to come back with its own proposal for cutting costs, according to the university.

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The two sides agreed to the deal Thursday and the board of trustees approved it on Friday.

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Lest you suspect anything, the president will explain:

Dell’Omo said his original decision to cut majors and layoff professors was not a ploy to get concessions from the union.

“It would be way too risky to employ a strategy just out of gamesmanship,” he said. “This was a serious issue that we had to address.”

In other words, the queen sacrifice is not just a bluff, but a serious strategic option.

I wonder how many other campuses are making choices like this.

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 Perhaps there’s a hidden layer of queen sacrifices being quietly discussed, just under the radar, concealed by alternative cuts.

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