Close to 1,000 members came out for yesterday’s contract demonstration at the Board of Trustees. Thank you for your beautiful response to the union's call. It was a spirited, inspiring event. The huge turnout speaks for itself: our numbers are the best testimony to the intensity of our demand that the CUNY administration act now to resolve the contract.
We were so numerous that we overflowed our space on one block and encircled the entire block where the trustees were meeting. A hundred faculty and staff went inside to the meeting itself, where we disrupted business as usual with our loud demand for an economic offer. There was no possibility that the trustees, the chancellor and the college presidents could fail to hear our message.
What happens now? The PSC bargaining team will use the momentum we created yesterday to press CUNY management to put an economic offer on the table. While we turn up the heat on the administration, we will also continue to meet directly with elected officials about our contract.
And if we do not have a satisfactory offer by October 13, we will use that week to "Press the Presidents": make every college president accountable on the contract through a series of actions on your own campus. Everyone can participate in Press the Presidents Week because the actions will be varied, numerous and local. Sign up here to join.
And we will come together at full strength on Tuesday, October 21 for a mass action that will take our message to an even broader audience. Start building power for these events now; sign up here to let us know that you'll participate.
The faculty and staff work unstintingly for CUNY in conditions that often border on the intolerable. We serve the neediest communities in the city. It is unconscionable that we should be expected to work any longer without raises and other improvements.
Yesterday we took a big step in the direction of increasing the union's power to achieve a good contract. We will keep campaigning until we win.
Why Our Budget and Contract Campaigns are so Intertwined.
Contracts are negotiated at the bargaining table, but won on the ground. That means mobilizing our colleagues on every campus, in our departments and in our everyday interactions. But in an era of budget shortfalls and attacks on public workers, that ground operation, while beginning on our campuses, must extend its power to Albany and City Hall. As we come to the bargaining table to negotiate a new contract with the University, the political and economic conditions that we face will no doubt influence our demands and the demands of management. That is why PSC’s budget and contract campaigns are so intertwined.
Q and A: What’s Going On in Contract Talks?
The PSC and CUNY management have made some progress in contract talks. But CUNY has not yet put forward an economic offer, and union negotiators are pressing management to do so. President Bowen answers some frequently asked questions about the contract negotiations in this article from the Sept. Clarion.
Demands for the new contract were approved at a November 4, 2010 Delegate Assembly meeting. The full text of the demands, and coverage of the DA, are available here as a special supplement of the December 2010 Clarion.