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Home » Clarion » 2024 » June 2024 » Demanding job security for adjuncts

Demanding job security for adjuncts

Restoring a hard-fought union victoryBy ARI PAUL

In front of a lectern that has a poster on Protect Jobs a person speaks

American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten calls on CUNY to do the right thing. (Photo Credit: Erik McGregor)

When 1,000 adjunct instructors at CUNY received three-year appointments in May of 2017, the situation was game-changing, not just for the University, but for academia nationally. The PSC had fought for and secured a pilot agreement for three-year appointments for part-time faculty.

Many more adjuncts would go on to enjoy this benefit, but this groundbreaking job protection provision is now under attack. With the pilot program winding down, the PSC is negotiating with CUNY over a new contract.

“The gig economy is not sustainable for workers,” said PSC President James Davis during a May 2 press conference outside CUNY’s Midtown headquarters. “CUNY has a gig economy. We have a gig academia.”


Joined by dozens of education union leaders and members from around the city and state, Davis demanded that the University agree to reinstate the multiyear appointment provision from 2017 in the next contract. Lynne Turner, the PSC vice president for part-time personnel, said that, at present, adjuncts are vulnerable to layoffs without the multiyear appointments, because administrations find that it’s easier to lay off part-time faculty than to demand more funding for their campuses.

Larry Bosket, the PSC vice president for cross-campus units, said that the University was also attempting to weaken job protections for professional staff titles, something that he and the rest of the union were “vehemently opposed” to.

Rather than roll back these protections, CUNY management could be taking the high road on job security for adjuncts, said Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, the PSC’s national affiliate.

“How do we go from a pilot to the norm? That’s what they should be doing,” Weingarten said of the CUNY administration. “No more precarity.”


Jessica Ramos, the chair of New York State Senate Labor Committee, added, “We need the chancellor to put it in ink.”

Melinda Person, the president of the New York State United Teachers (the PSC’s state-level affiliate), told the crowd that it was important for all educational unionists that the PSC win this fight and send a message about ending precarity in the teaching profession. “We are not gig workers,” Person said.

Mario Cilento, the president of the New York State AFL-CIO, said that the PSC’s push for adjunct job security had the support of the rest of the state’s labor movement.

“You are not alone in this fight,” he said.

Published: May 19, 2024

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