Please let your students know about the following event THIS WEEK: Thursday, 3/21, Patio Room, 1 PM, Higher Education Forum with Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, who both represents Queens College AND is the chairperson of Senate Higher Education Committee. This is THE opportunity for OUR students to give testimony to the senator as negotiations with Governor Andrew Cuomo over financing for CUNY and Queens College take place during the next two weeks.
News & Events
Protesters at Double-Header Events Demand Contract Funding, Fair Raises and Equity Pay for Adjuncts
New York, NY—Faculty and professional staff of the City University of New York escalated their fight for a fully funded union contract today with double-header rallies outside the Governor’s NYC office and City Hall as City and State elected officials negotiate their budgets. Thirty thousand CUNY academic staff have been working without a new contract for fifteen months; 12,000 are adjunct instructors, who teach the majority of courses but earn a near-poverty wage.
“We’re here to tell Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio that CUNY students deserve better than exploited, underpaid workers in understaffed departments and offices. Albany and City Hall must provide the funding for a fair contract with decent raises for all CUNY workers and $7,000 per course for CUNY adjuncts,” said Barbara Bowen, Ph.D., president of the Professional Staff Congress, the union representing faculty and staff at CUNY.
The PSC is proud to endorse Jumaane Williams for Public Advocate in the February 26, 2019 special election. Jumaane is a graduate of NYC public schools and CUNY He graduated from Brooklyn College with a BA in political science and Masters in urban policy. He was first elected to represent City Council District 45 in Brooklyn in 2009 and was re-elected in 2013 and 2017. Prior to his election, Jumaane served as director of Tenants & Neighbors, a statewide tenants’ rights organization.
PSC To Legislators: Fully Fund CUNY, Fund Competitive Salaries and 7K for Adjuncts
PSC officers were in Albany Monday, January 28 to testify before a joint hearing of the State Senate and Assembly finance committees on the Executive Budget for higher education. PSC President Barbara Bowen, in her testimony, said, “Despite the claims that State funding for higher education has increased, real per-student spending at CUNY senior colleges has gone down...CUNY needs funding to support its current collective bargaining agreement without cannibalizing itself, and it needs funding to support wage justice and educational justice in the next contract.”
To the newly elected legislators, the new Senate majority members, and the long-time supporters of public higher education in the Legislature, Bowen urged: “Make funding for quality public higher education a top priority. Make class size, course availability, teaching conditions and learning conditions as much an issue of economic and racial justice as financial aid…Put your energy, your imaginations, your power behind CUNY’s ability to transform individual lives and lift communities out of poverty.”
The Legislature has achieved an historic victory for higher education students this session, one that has been a longstanding priority for the PSC. As college faculty and staff, PSC members have been proud to teach and mentor—and learn from—the thousands of Dreamers at CUNY. We have seen their courage, their passion for education, their determination to open doors for the next generation that were closed to them. Thank you to the Senate and Assembly majorities for never giving up, for enabling thousands of courageous students, brought to the United States as infants or children, to have a meaningful opportunity for a college education.
Passage of the José Peralta NYS DREAM Act, at the same moment when the administration in Washington is doing its utmost to criminalize young immigrants and violate international law on asylum, sends a strong message about how New York values immigrants and public higher education. We call on New York State to send an equally strong message on New York’s commitment to public higher education through this year’s budget.
The Professional Staff Congress (PSC), the trade union of 30,000 faculty and professional staff at the nation’s largest public urban university, City University of New York, stand in support of our colleagues in the AAUP Wright State University faculty union in their decision to strike to defend union rights and working conditions.
After two years at the bargaining table, The United Teachers LA has gone on strike.
Teachers in Los Angeles are demanding wage increases and, just as important, funding for community schools and other crucial services for their students such as counselors, nurses, smaller classes and less testing. They have gone on strike, and although they do not face the same legal restrictions and penalties of NY State's Taylor Law, they need the support and solidarity of union locals from across the country!
The CUNY Board of Trustees finally released CUNY’s draft budget request for State and City funding last week, only days before Governor Cuomo is expected to announce his executive budget for next year. The trustees’ request does not call for full funding for our contract by New York State, does not name an acceptable level of funding for the new teaching load reduction, and never mentions the word “adjunct.” Instead, it boasts about programs whose success is entirely dependent on our labor but makes only vague references to how the funding for our contract will be resolved (see pages 5 and 17).
The CUNY Board must hear from us about why their request is unacceptable. They are holding a last-minute hearing this Wednesday, January 9, at the Manhattan campus of BMCC, starting at 4:30. I am asking you to change your plans for Wednesday afternoon and be there to speak. There is no need for elaborate testimony; just speak from your experience about what CUNY needs and what you need to do your job.
The union will be taking our campaign directly to Albany in February and March, but the start of that campaign is here at CUNY this Wednesday. We cannot let up on the pressure now; January 9 is also the first day of the legislative session in Albany, and the message we send by testifying will reach far beyond the hearing room. We will also be issuing a collective message to Albany, City Hall and any potential candidates for the CUNY chancellor position.
The Maintenance of Effort bill has been vetoed, despite having passed both houses of the Legislature with overwhelming bipartisan support. The bill won widespread support because it would have ensured that the state’s public universities, CUNY and SUNY, receive funding to cover mandatory costs such as rent and electricity increases, negotiated salary agreements, and the difference between the highest TAP award and the actual cost of tuition.
Without such funding in place, CUNY has been forced to cannibalize its own inadequate budget and increase the amount students pay in tuition and fees in order to cover costs that should be publicly funded. CUNY colleges have cut back on academic courses and computer support, reduced library hours, shortchanged student services and increased their reliance on adjunct faculty, who are paid a near-poverty wage.
A progressive state should provide the funding necessary to maintain high-quality college education at its public universities. The PSC is grateful to the legislators who championed the bill, and we will work with the Legislature and the Governor during the budget process to make 2019 the year in which CUNY is fully funded.