Demanding A Fair Contract, Funding for Quality Education
Elected leaders of the faculty and professional staff union at the City University of New York (CUNY) were arrested today while demanding a contract that will help ensure a quality education for the half-million CUNY students across the city. Sixteen protesters, including the union president, vice president and secretary, local campus leaders and members of the executive council, blocked the doors to Baruch College near the Flatiron District of Manhattan during a meeting of the CUNY Board of Trustees. Hundreds more CUNY faculty and staff chanted “CUNY Trustees, do you job! Demand the funding CUNY needs!” during the blockade.
CUNY’s 30,000 faculty and staff have been without a contract for more than a year. Their union, the Professional Staff Congress, is demanding that the University Board of Trustees use its power and press the State and City to provide the funding needed to pay competitive salaries to faculty and staff and raise the near-poverty wage currently paid to 12,000 adjunct faculty.
Albany—President Barbara Bowen urged the State to increase funding for CUNY in testimony delivered Wednesday, December 5 to the Assembly Higher Education Committee. She also called on the governor to sign legislation soon to be before him that would enhance the State’s Maintenance of Effort (MOE) for CUNY and SUNY.
“The City University of New York is reaching a breaking point—in large part because the normal costs of doing business are not covered in the State’s annual budget allocation to the University. The current funding model for CUNY, even with the present MOE in place, is unsustainable. It forces the University either to cut existing academic programs to make up for the budget shortfall or to rely on huge numbers of low-wage workers as instructors or to escalate the pace of tuition and fee increases (thereby also enlarging the unfunded TAP gap) simply to stay afloat. In the absence of a full MOE, CUNY is being forced to cannibalize its own inadequate budget to cover costs that should be automatically funded by New York State,” she testified. Read the full testimony here.
CUNY’s budget request hasn’t been released—weeks after it’s usually made public. The trustees need to know that we’re watching and ready to act. Come to demand the fully funded contract we deserve, and be prepared to support PSC’s elected leadership as they engage in a protest action. RSVP here. Download a flyer here.
Get a Contract Now! Poster for Your Office Door or Workspace
As pressure builds for an economic offer on our contract, it’s time for some graphic expression of our demands. Eleven new posters issued by the PSC call for “Contract Now!” and highlight many of the union’s major demands. Send a visual message about the demands that are important to you and show your support for demands that are important to your coworkers. Contact your chapter chair to find out how to get a poster or two, and plaster your hallways!