New Development in Contract Negotiations — 2/22/19
Yesterday afternoon, after my update on bargaining was sent out, CUNY management made an economic offer to the union. The PSC bargaining team has not yet had a technical meeting with management on the numbers, and we did not receive the offer in writing, so this will be a preliminary report.
It’s thanks to union members’ relentless pressure that management put an offer on the table. The PSC bargaining team acknowledged to management that making an offer is an important step in progress toward a settlement, and that we welcomed economic discussion. But the offer we received yesterday does not meet members’ needs.
The main challenge of this round of bargaining is to secure the additional funding necessary to raise CUNY’s disgraceful adjunct pay while also providing acceptable annual salary increases for all. Management’s offer fails to rise to the challenge. Their offer does include a higher proposed increase for teaching adjuncts than we have seen in the past—and that is a breakthrough. Our message has been heard. But the increase for teaching adjuncts falls thousands of dollars short of $7,000 per course, and the money to pay for it appears to come from reducing the anticipated increases for all other full-time and part-time employees.
It’s the same zero-sum-game approach we have seen too many times at CUNY. Instead of expanding the University’s funding so that everyone could have a decent raise and the urgent need of higher adjunct pay could be addressed, management proposes further austerity. The offer appears to propose that most PSC members take below-inflation “increases” in order to make up for historic underfunding of CUNY by the City and State. That is not an acceptable solution for teaching adjuncts or for full-time faculty, professional staff and other part-timers.
Our response as a union must be to demand the funding CUNY needs. We need to stand together and insist that a problem resulting from decades of underfunding cannot be solved by more underfunding. Unity is the key. Without it, austerity wins and we all end up with less.
In the coming weeks, the bargaining team will meet with management to discuss the details of the economic offer, and we also plan to provide a formal response to their offer at the next bargaining session. Most important, members across the university are taking action on their own campuses to increase the pressure for increased funding for our contract. Click here to contact your chapter chair and join actions on your campus, and watch for updates about how to join the campaign for the contract we all need.