Chancellor Félix Matos Rodríguez took office on May 1st--May Day--the international day of workers action and solidarity. And 3,000 of us wore REDforED that day to welcome him and deliver a call to action. We wish the chancellor much success, but in order to be successful, he must negotiate a contract that provides educational justice for CUNY students and wage justice for CUNY faculty and staff. To be successful—to protect the mission and the legacy of CUNY—the Chancellor must fight to end the funding crisis at CUNY, and not just preside over further austerity.
News & Events
PSC recently reached agreement with the CUNY administration to settle two class action grievances concerning implementation of the three-year adjunct appointments. Both are victories for the union. The settlement on jumbo courses applies only to colleges that have an existing practice of paying and awarding workload credit to adjuncts who teach unusually large courses, typically called "jumbo courses." Starting with three-year appointments to be made this May for the 2019-2020 academic year, colleges that normally pay adjuncts for additional hours for teaching extra-large or jumbo courses will now be required to count the additional hours when calculating eligibility for consideration for a three-year appointment. (See paragraph 3 in the settlement agreement.) The settlement on courses offered by programs affects every college. It answers the question of whether a course taught by an adjunct in a program will be counted toward eligibility for consideration for a three-year appointment by a department.
Faculty, staff and students from throughout the borough of Queens testified Wednesday, April 17 at a hearing organized by the Queens College PSC chapter. State Senators Toby Ann Stavisky and John Liu were there to hear about the union's contract struggle and the impact of underfunding on the quality of education at the City University of New York. At the hearing, Senator Liu publicly criticized the CUNY administration for not fighting hard enough during the budget process and urged the incoming chancellor, Félix Matos Rodríguez, to speak up more.
The Professional Staff Congress has endorsed Farah Louis for NYC Council District, and urges PSC members in Council District 45 to vote for her in the special election on May 14, 2019.
Farah Louis was Councilmember Jumaane Williams’ deputy chief of staff and budget director until stepping down to run for his office. The Council seat became open when Williams was elected to the office of NYC Public Advocate in February. Farah Louis is the daughter of Haitian immigrants who grew up in Flatbush and attended public schools. She is a graduate of Long Island University and has a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the NYU Wagner School of Public Service. Her priorities for CUNY are to remove financial barriers to low-income students’ ability to attend college and to increase CUNY funding to hire more faculty and compensate adjunct faculty fairly. She told the Gotham Gazette that she is proudest of her work on Williams’ staff to pass the Community Safety Act, which created the Inspector General office of the NYPD.
The U.S. Treasury Department says sanctions “accomplish foreign policy and national security goals,” such as the overthrow of the government of Venezuela. A roundtable discussion sponsored by the PSC International Committee will address the questions: Are sanctions a weapon of modern “hybrid war” or a diplomatic tool? Are they non-violent persuasion or a medieval siege? If we oppose U.S. endless wars, should we also oppose U.S. sanctions? The discussion, featuring experts on U.S.
Labor and immigrant rights groups, along with many other allied organizations, will come together on Wednesday, May 1st in a strong show of force against the anti-worker and anti-immigrant policies coming from this White House. PSC members will march in solidarity with our immigrant co-workers, students and neighbors, and to demand respect and fair pay for all workers, including the full-time faculty and staff and adjunct instructors of CUNY. The event will begin with a rally at 5:30 PM in Columbus Circle. That will be followed by a march to Trump Tower on 5th Avenue.
The April 8 article, “The Death of an Adjunct,” tells the story of Dr. Thea Hunter, who had been an adjunct at City College until she died last December. The article shows how racism and the conditions of academic labor converged to sabotage the career of a promising scholar and celebrated teacher. Dr. Hunter’s death was the subject of testimony before the CUNY Board of Trustees January by a PSC activist, and many PSC colleagues have expressed their profound sorrow—and anger—at her loss. PSC president Barbara Bowen commented: “The punishing conditions of academic labor and adjunct work must be changed. Dr. Hunter’s story is a reminder of the toll they take on individual lives and how lethal they are when combined with racism and sexism. Reading her story has inspired many of us to redouble our efforts to end the exploitation of academic labor.”
It’s April, the weather’s turning warm, but the Governor is keeping us out in the cold as CUNY’s senior college students, faculty, and staff see little good news in the State budget. Feeling frustrated? Take your frustration out the old-fashioned way! With kickball on the East Quad in solidarity with your colleagues and students. It’s time to pivot the contract campaign to getting new funding before the State legislative session ends in June, and getting the attention of the City Council and Mayor, whose budget arrives next.