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National and State Labor Leaders Join Faculty and Staff at Protest to Demand ‘Hands Off CUNY Job Security!’

May 2, 2024 at CUNY Central

Manhattan–Presidents of the American Federation of Teachers, New York State AFL-CIO, New York State United Teachers, and United University Professions joined New York State Senate Labor Chair Jessica Ramos today organized by unionized faculty and staff of the City University of New York to call out CUNY management for their attempts to weaken the job security of thousands of faculty and staff. 

Videos from the protest held outside CUNY’s Midtown headquarters are posted here and embedded below.

Contract negotiations between the CUNY and the Professional Staff Congress (PSC), the union of faculty and staff, are progressing, but management wants to eviscerate one of the nation’s first job security provisions for adjunct faculty. The bosses are also calling for other unacceptable concessions that would make it easier to fire full-time professional staff and Lecturers. But job security is a bedrock principle of the labor movement, and union leaders and activists are standing in solidarity with their fellow workers at CUNY.

 

May 2, 2024 Protest at CUNY Central to call out CUNY management for their attempts to weaken the job security of thousands of faculty and staff. Photo by Erik McGregor May 2, 2024 Protest at CUNY Central to call out CUNY management for their attempts to weaken the job security of thousands of faculty and staff. Photo by Erik McGregor May 2, 2024 Protest at CUNY Central to call out CUNY management for their attempts to weaken the job security of thousands of faculty and staff. Photo by Erik McGregor May 2, 2024 Protest at CUNY Central to call out CUNY management for their attempts to weaken the job security of thousands of faculty and staff. Photo by Erik McGregor May 2, 2024 Protest at CUNY Central to call out CUNY management for their attempts to weaken the job security of thousands of faculty and staff. Photo by Erik McGregor May 2, 2024 Protest at CUNY Central to call out CUNY management for their attempts to weaken the job security of thousands of faculty and staff. Photo by Erik McGregor May 2, 2024 Protest at CUNY Central to call out CUNY management for their attempts to weaken the job security of thousands of faculty and staff. Photo by Erik McGregor May 2, 2024 Protest at CUNY Central to call out CUNY management for their attempts to weaken the job security of thousands of faculty and staff. Photo by Erik McGregor

Union officers representing millions of workers are here with us to demand a Contract for a People’s CUNY, a contract that supports quality education for students and a stable, healthy livelihood for faculty and staff. When a collective voice this loud calls out ‘Hands off CUNY job security!’ Chancellor Rodriguez and Chairperson Thompson had better listen.

James Davis, PSC President

Ten prominent union presidents, including those at the protest, signed a letter released by the PSC today that urges CUNY Chancellor Felix Matos Rodriguez and CUNY Board Chairperson William Thompson to expand–not abandon–job security for CUNY adjuncts.

“It would be disastrous for CUNY, whose mission has been to serve the working people of New York, to reverse the progress made for thousands of contingent employees,” the letter said.

Our members and their families who rely on CUNY for a quality higher education will not stand by silently as the very core of the university’s success – its union workers – are under attack. Ensuring a quality education for CUNY students starts with treating unionized CUNY workers fairly. These dedicated individuals are pivotal in serving their students' needs. Accordingly, their pay, benefits, and working conditions should reflect that.

Mario Cilento, President of the New York State AFL-CIO

The attack on adjuncts would change a three-year appointment to two years and more than double the time to qualify from five years to twelve, reducing the number of workers who benefit from around 3,000 to just a few hundred. The attacks on staff and Lecturers would weaken long-established contract provisions that ensure continuity, quality education and robust student services.

The 11,000 adjuncts at CUNY teach the classes and do the research to help the next generation of working New Yorkers thrive. The last contract took big strides to treat them more fairly. But, sadly, CUNY has made a U-turn when it comes to job security—a galling move given how hard PSC worked to inject stability and predictability into adjunct appointments in years past. Students’ learning conditions are PSC members’ working conditions, and job security, fair wages, benefits, and respect mean a better institution for all. It’s time Chancellor Rodríguez recognized that—and acted on it.

Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers

As New York State invests in its institutions of higher education, CUNY management must invest in protections for all of its workers, including job security for the educators who make world-class education at CUNY possible. Fair contracts are vital to the success of our colleges and universities across this city and state; our educators and students are owed nothing less.

Melinda Person, President of the New York State United Teachers

It’s so important that labor stand together, because if they’re coming after the job security provision in in your contract, you can be sure they’re going to be coming after the provision in our contract.

Fred Kowal, President of United University Professions

United University Professions (UUP), the union of SUNY faculty and staff, won a similar job security provision for adjuncts modeled after the PSC/CUNY provision.

May 2, 2024 Protest at CUNY Central to call out CUNY management for their attempts to weaken the job security of thousands of faculty and staff. Photo by Erik McGregor May 2, 2024 Protest at CUNY Central to call out CUNY management for their attempts to weaken the job security of thousands of faculty and staff. Photo by Erik McGregor May 2, 2024 Protest at CUNY Central to call out CUNY management for their attempts to weaken the job security of thousands of faculty and staff. Photo by Erik McGregor May 2, 2024 Protest at CUNY Central to call out CUNY management for their attempts to weaken the job security of thousands of faculty and staff. Photo by Erik McGregor May 2, 2024 Protest at CUNY Central to call out CUNY management for their attempts to weaken the job security of thousands of faculty and staff. Photo by Erik McGregor May 2, 2024 Protest at CUNY Central to call out CUNY management for their attempts to weaken the job security of thousands of faculty and staff. Photo by Erik McGregor May 2, 2024 Protest at CUNY Central to call out CUNY management for their attempts to weaken the job security of thousands of faculty and staff. Photo by Erik McGregor May 2, 2024 Protest at CUNY Central to call out CUNY management for their attempts to weaken the job security of thousands of faculty and staff. Photo by Erik McGregor

State Senator Jessica Ramos and Council Member Carmen De La Rosa, the respective chairs of the NYS Senate and NYC Council labor committees, also sent letters defending job security at CUNY to the Chancellor and Board Chair in April.

CUNY is one of the two most effective tools of economic mobility in our society. The other is organized labor. In this case, we are standing to vigorously defend the integrity of both institutions. The historic job security measure PSC-CUNY negotiated for adjuncts is a policy CUNY should be proud of, and it should not be used as a bargaining chip.

Senator Jessica Ramos, Chair of the Senate Committee on Labor

It is unconscionable that the 30,000 CUNY faculty and staff represented by the Professional Staff Congress have been working for more than a year with an expired contract. As the Chair of the Civil Service and Labor Committee, I am proud to stand in solidarity with all the faculty and staff fighting for a fair contract. The attempts by CUNY management to weaken the job security of thousands of faculty and staff, in particular adjuncts, HEOs and lecturers, would weaken existing contract provisions that ensure high-quality education, and vital student services.

Council Member Carmen De La Rosa

University negotiators also put forward demands that would make it easier to fire professional staff who have achieved  job security in Higher Education Officer (HEO) series titles and full-time faculty in Lecturer titles.  5,600 HEOs and 1400 Lecturers work at CUNY colleges.

This attack on our job security would decimate what we have gained and reflects a university mindset wedded to fiscal austerity and extreme contingency rather than the blossoming of teaching and learning. Our union stands together to say “Hands off adjunct job security! Hands off lecturer job security! Hands off HEO job security! Hands off CUNY job security!

Lynne Turner, PSC Vice President for Part-time Personnel

There are already adequate disciplinary procedures and due process provisions in our contract. This is about asserting more management control over our work lives! Job security for the staff, who often deal directly with students, is critical to the operation of this university, necessary to providing continuity of student services, and a show of respect that every worker deserves!

Lawrence Bosket, a HEO working in admissions at Brooklyn College

The Professional Staff Congress represents 30,000 CUNY faculty and professional staff at the City University of New York and the CUNY Research Foundation.  PSC members have worked 14 months with an expired contract. www.psc-cuny.org

Video

May 2, 2024 at CUNY Central

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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