Dear PSC Members,
With thanks to the formidable PSC membership, I am pleased to announce that the PSC has reached an agreement with CUNY management to extend the deadline for notification of adjunct appointments for the fall semester to June 30, 2020. The agreement applies to non-teaching adjuncts and adjunct CLTs as well as to adjunct faculty.
The agreement also creates a process to enable the PSC and the University to meet before the June 30 deadline and seek to address any instances of adjuncts who have been on health insurance through their CUNY employment in the current academic year and stand to lose eligibility for health insurance for the fall. The union will do everything we can to ensure that no adjunct loses health insurance eligibility during a pandemic. That has been—and remains—one of the PSC’s primary goals.
CUNY also agrees to provide “detailed college budget information, information about proposed cuts . . . and enrollment projections.” Many campus activists have fought hard for budget transparency all spring. Now we have a commitment that detailed college budget information will be provided. Having the information will put us in a stronger position to challenge proposed budget cuts.
In addition, the agreement states that the chancellor will direct colleges to make every effort to make adjunct appointments so that health insurance for those who have been on health insurance this year will be maintained, and to make every effort to ensure that those eligible to receive three-year adjunct appointments receive them. It also stipulates that no adjunct appointments already made will be rescinded.
Finally, the agreement sets a date, June 30, by which CUNY and the PSC aim to finalize an urgent agreement on provision of health insurance for doctoral students who are enrolled at the Graduate Center without fellowship awards.
The PSC is more committed than ever to the position that there must be no cuts and no layoffs at CUNY. In the coming month, we will ask members to organize even more intensely behind the demand that CUNY become a public priority and receive increased public funding—enough to protect all jobs, expand course offerings and provide all students a full, rich, challenging education. Adjunct faculty and staff are not peripheral; they are a core academic workforce. If CUNY allows mass layoffs and cuts, New York will have no hope of an economic recovery that does anything but deepen the horrible inequalities exposed by the pandemic.
CUNY management came to the union with a proposal for an agreement because PSC members have organized and built relentless pressure this spring. We created the need for the University to hold off on devastating layoffs. But the fight is far from over. The union will continue to fight for every job. The additional month gives us precious time to build a movement to save jobs and save CUNY.
All of us in the PSC leadership, however, are aware that the extension to June 30 means a longer period of uncertainty for adjuncts awaiting notice. We don’t underestimate that hardship and anxiety—especially now. But the June 30 date is the final deadline for notification; as always, notices may be sent before that date. Union activists and staff plan to be in contact with every adjunct this summer and make sure you receive all the benefits and rights you are entitled to. And we salute the department chairs, who have worked with courage and compassion during this crisis.
Averting layoffs of potentially thousands of adjuncts scheduled to occur today and creating a process that will help the union to protect health insurance was a major step. Now we must use the coming month and the summer to support each other and amplify our demand for the fundamental economic change that will stop all cuts and all layoffs at CUNY.