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Resolution on Strike Authorization Campaign Now! (amended and approved)

Adopted at the chapter meeting on 9/11/19

STRIKE AUTHORIZATION CAMPAIGN NOW! 

Whereas: the PSC’s contract campaign has so far failed to yield positive results, and CUNY’s Board of Trustees has used our bargaining demands as a pretext for approving a $200/year tuition increase for CUNY undergraduate students at the four-year colleges; 

Whereas: without a credible threat of a strike, PSC members have no power to win our contract demands and especially the demand for $7K per course as the adjunct starting pay, or to demand sufficient funding from New York State to pay for our contract without raising tuition; 

Whereas: the PSC carried out a strike authorization campaign for the last contract and did not incur Taylor Law penalties; 

Therefore be it resolved that: the members of the Graduate Center chapter of the PSC assembled today urges the PSC Executive Council and Delegate Assembly to immediately:

  • Launch and publicize a CUNY-wide strike authorization campaign, using the Proposed Strike Authorization Campaign Plan appended below as a guide;
  • Double the number of paid part-time liaisons at each campus; 
  • Task all PSC organizing staff and part-time liaisons with developing and supporting mobilization teams on every campus to build toward a strike; 

Be it further resolved that: effective immediately, the members of the Graduate Center chapter of the PSC assembled: 

  • Pledges available chapter resources toward a serious strike mobilization campaign on our campus, as detailed in the Proposed Strike Authorization Campaign; 
  • Commits to hiring a chapter member as a strike authorization organizer who is paid the same rate as a part-time liaison out of the chapter’s funds and who is tasked with mobilizing the chapter membership, as detailed in the Proposed Strike Authorization Campaign Plan; 
  • Convenes a strike committee as a standing committee of the chapter, composed of the elected chapter leadership and rank-and-file PSC members from all job titles and chaired by someone not in the chapter Executive Committee, to lead this campaign at the Graduate Center and report on its progress at chapter meetings. 

*** Proposed Strike Authorization Campaign Plan 

  • Strike authorization pledge:
    • Assign campus organizers to reach out to all members with a strike pledge card affirming they will vote yes to a strike authorization vote on the current contract; that they will respect the picket line if and when we strike; and that in the event that the union’s dues checkoff rights are revoked under the Taylor Law, they will sign up for automatic monthly payment of dues directly to the PSC; with the costs of printing these pledge cards paid by chapter funds
  • Membership mobilization: develop and support teams of rank and file members on each campus to:
    • Work with organizing staff to get strike pledge cards signed.
    • Work with members, students, and other supporters on campus to build the campaign and organize escalating militant actions leading toward a strike.
    • Educate members about the importance of a strike and how effective strikes can win important gains, with food for educational meetings provided through chapter funds
    • Organize picket schedules and train picket volunteers, including in how to respond to potential picket-crossers, with food for training meetings provided through chapter funds
    • Organize drives for food, clothes, books, and other items that might be needed during strike.
    • Begin outreach to collect information about which members will need financial assistance during a potential strike.
    • Coordinate with the PSC central office regarding strike funds and CUNY-wide logistics.
  • Building mobilization capacity:
    • Double the number of part-time liaisons.
    • Hire more organizers.
    • Task all organizing staff and part-time liaisons with developing and supporting the mobilization teams on every campus to get pledge cards signed and build strike support.
    • Eliminate unrealistic membership card quotas for liaisons and retroactively consider all efforts to build power toward a fair contract as legitimate paid work.
    • Include rank-and-file activists and organizers in every aspect of this campaign.
    • Hire student organizers on each campus and/or pay stipends to students to build solidarity.
    • Hire community organizers to mobilize CUNY community members including alumni, families of CUNY students, and parents of NYC public high school students.
  • Financial resources:
    • Set up an online fundraising platform for a “militancy” fund to provide support in case of a strike.
  • Publicity:
    • Launch a broad public campaign designed to maximize and mobilize the support of students, other unions and their members, and the wider NYC community for a possible strike.
    • Encourage the meaningful participation in public relations work of all rank-and-file member-activists who bring skills and experience into the campaign, including with social media.
  • Coordination:
    • Create a CUNY-wide strike authorization coordinating committee of active rank-and-file campus leaders and organizers from every campus that reports regularly to the PSC Delegate Assembly and Executive Council but is independent of both bodies.
    • Empower this committee to make adjustments to plans and procedures in consultation with PSC staff and in keeping with the spirit of this proposal.

Resolution on Strike Authorization Campaign Now!

STRIKE AUTHORIZATION CAMPAIGN NOW! 

Whereas: the PSC’s contract campaign has so far failed to yield positive results, and CUNY’s Board of Trustees has used our bargaining demands as a pretext for approving a $200/year tuition increase for CUNY undergraduate students at the four-year colleges; 

Whereas: without a credible threat of a strike, PSC members have no power to win our contract demands and especially the demand for $7K per course as the adjunct starting pay, or to demand sufficient funding from New York State to pay for our contract without raising tuition; 

Whereas: the PSC carried out a strike authorization campaign for the last contract and did not incur Taylor Law penalties; 

Therefore be it resolved that: the Graduate Center chapter of the PSC urges the PSC Executive Council and Delegate Assembly to immediately:

  • Launch and publicize a CUNY-wide strike authorization campaign, using the Proposed Strike Authorization Campaign Plan appended below as a guide;
  • Double the number of paid part-time liaisons at each campus; 
  • Task all PSC organizing staff and part-time liaisons with developing and supporting mobilization teams on every campus to build toward a strike; 
  • Raise dues to 2% for all members earning more than $70K/year gross pay; and 

Be it further resolved that: effective immediately, the Graduate Center chapter of the PSC: 

  • Pledges available chapter resources toward a serious strike mobilization campaign on our campus, as detailed in the Proposed Strike Authorization Campaign; 
  • Commits to hiring a chapter member as a strike authorization organizer, chosen by an in-person election at the following chapter meeting, who is paid the same rate as a part-time liaison out of the chapter’s funds and who is tasked with mobilizing the chapter membership, as detailed in the Proposed Strike Authorization Campaign Plan; 
  • Convenes a strike committee as a standing committee of the chapter, composed of the elected chapter leadership and rank-and-file PSC members from all job titles and chaired by someone not in the chapter Executive Committee, to lead this campaign at the Graduate Center and report on its progress at chapter meetings. 

*** Proposed Strike Authorization Campaign Plan 

  • Strike authorization pledge:
    • Assign campus organizers to reach out to all members with a strike pledge card affirming they will vote yes to a strike authorization vote on the current contract; that they will respect the picket line if and when we strike; and that in the event that the union’s dues checkoff rights are revoked under the Taylor Law, they will sign up for automatic monthly payment of dues directly to the PSC; with the costs of printing these pledge cards paid by chapter funds
  • Membership mobilization: develop and support teams of rank and file members on each campus to:
    • Work with organizing staff to get strike pledge cards signed.
    • Work with members, students, and other supporters on campus to build the campaign and organize escalating militant actions leading toward a strike.
    • Educate members about the importance of a strike and how effective strikes can win important gains, with food for educational meetings provided through chapter funds
    • Organize picket schedules and train picket volunteers, including in how to respond to potential picket-crossers, with food for training meetings provided through chapter funds
    • Organize drives for food, clothes, books, and other items that might be needed during strike.
    • Begin outreach to collect information about which members will need financial assistance during a potential strike.
    • Coordinate with the PSC central office regarding strike funds and CUNY-wide logistics.
  • Building mobilization capacity:
    • Double the number of part-time liaisons.
    • Hire more organizers.
    • Task all organizing staff and part-time liaisons with developing and supporting the mobilization teams on every campus to get pledge cards signed and build strike support.
    • Eliminate unrealistic membership card quotas for liaisons and retroactively consider all efforts to build power toward a fair contract as legitimate paid work.
    • Include rank-and-file “$7K or Strike” activists and organizers in every aspect of this campaign.
    • Hire student organizers on each campus and/or pay stipends to students to build solidarity.
    • Hire community organizers to mobilize CUNY community members including alumni, families of CUNY students, and parents of NYC public high school students.
  • Financial resources:
    • Raise dues to 2% for all members earning more than $70K/year.
    • Set up an online fundraising platform for a “militancy” fund to provide support in case of a strike.
  • Publicity:
    • Launch a broad public campaign designed to maximize and mobilize the support of students, other unions and their members, and the wider NYC community for a possible strike.
    • Encourage the meaningful participation in public relations work of all rank-and-file member-activists who bring skills and experience into the campaign, including with social media.
  • Coordination:
    • Create a CUNY-wide strike authorization coordinating committee of active rank-and-file campus leaders and organizers from every campus that reports regularly to the PSC Delegate Assembly and Executive Council but is independent of both bodies.
    • Empower this committee to make adjustments to plans and procedures in consultation with PSC staff and in keeping with the spirit of this proposal.

Resolution on White Supremacists (approved)

Adopted 9/24/18

Whereas white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and fascists have no place in the PSC, or the labor movement more generally;

Whereas the PSC is an organization that fights for all members, regardless of race, and denounces racial chauvinism;

Be it resolved that the GC chapter calls on the PSC—through the Delegate Assembly—to amend the PSC Constitution to ban any member of a white nationalist, neo-Nazi, or fascist organization from holding office in the PSC, using similar language as our brothers and sisters of the Sioux Falls AFL-CIO.*

 

*Language from the Sioux Falls AFL-CIO:

“No individual shall be eligible to serve as an Officer, member of The Executive Board or Committee, or other governing body, or any committee of, or as a delegate from, or as a representative, agent, or employee of this body who is a member of any Fascist or White Supremacist organization. Or who consistently pursues policies and/or activites [sic] directed toward the purposes of any Fascist or otherwise White Supremacist Ideology.”

https://sd.aflcio.org/sftrades/news/no-union-fascists-why-sioux-falls-afl-cio-banned-white-supremacists

Resolution on the Democratic Selection of Officers (amended and approved)

Adopted 9/24/18

WHEREAS positions on the Graduate Center (GC) Chapter Executive Committee (EC) of the Professional Staff Congress (PSC) should be democratically elected by chapter members;

WHEREAS the PSC Election Rules (VI.C.5) state that vacant offices in the chapter, other than chapter chair, delegates, and alternate delegates, are filled by an election only by the chapter EC;

BE IT RESOLVED that the GC Chapter adopt the following as a “best practice” for filling such vacancies: whenever a position in the GC EC is made vacant between elections, a special ballot election will be held through digital ballot, in which any PSC member who works at a PSC-GC campus and the GC affiliated campuses, regardless of title, can vote, and the winner of said election will then be appointed by the GC EC in an election by the EC;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this special election will take place following a 15 day nomination period and a subsequent 30 day campaigning period;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that all candidates will be profiled in an official communication from the GC Chapter sent to all members via email;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the usual rules pertaining to who can run in chapter elections apply to this special election;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this resolution applies to all vacancies in the GC EC, effective September 1, 2018.

Resolution on Democratic Selection of Officers

WHEREAS positions on the Graduate Center (GC) Chapter Executive Committee (EC) of the Professional Staff Congress (PSC) should be democratically elected by chapter members;

WHEREAS the PSC Election Rules (VI.C.5) state that vacant offices in the chapter, other than chapter chair, delegates, and alternate delegates, are filled by an election only by the chapter EC;

BE IT RESOLVED that the GC Chapter adopt the following as a “best practice” for filling such vacancies: whenever a position in the GC EC is made vacant between elections, a special ballot election will be held at a GC chapter meeting, in which all (and only) members of the GC chapter can vote, and the winner of said election will then be appointed by the GC EC in an election by the EC;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this special election will take place at the first chapter meeting following a 15 day nomination period and a subsequent 30 day campaigning period;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that all candidates will be profiled in an official communication from the GC Chapter sent to all members via email;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the usual rules pertaining to who can run in chapter elections apply to this special election;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this resolution applies to all vacancies in the GC EC, effective September 1, 2018.

Resolution on White Supremacists

Whereas white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and fascists have no place in the PSC, or the labor movement more generally;

Whereas the PSC is an organization that fights for all members, regardless of race, and denounces racial chauvinism;

Be it resolved that the GC chapter calls on the PSC—through the Delegate Assembly—to amend the PSC Constitution to ban any member of a white nationalist, neo-Nazi, or fascist organization from holding office in the PSC, using similar language as our brothers and sisters of the Sioux Falls AFL-CIO.*

 

*Language from the Sioux Falls AFL-CIO:

“No individual shall be eligible to serve as an Officer, member of The Executive Board or Committee, or other governing body, or any committee of, or as a delegate from, or as a representative, agent, or employee of this body who is a member of any Fascist or White Supremacist organization. Or who consistently pursues policies and/or activites [sic] directed toward the purposes of any Fascist or otherwise White Supremacist Ideology.”

https://sd.aflcio.org/sftrades/news/no-union-fascists-why-sioux-falls-afl-cio-banned-white-supremacists

Resolution on $7k or Strike (amended and approved)

Adopted at the chapter meeting on 4/26/18

 

Whereas adjuncts make up 57% of the faculty at CUNY and teach 53% of classes, at an average rate of $3,500 per three-credit class with no compensation for research or advising, amounting to an annual salary of $28,000 for the same courseload as full-time professors, who make $47,000 at the lowest step;

Whereas adjunct poverty is detrimental to student success since adjuncts, who teach the majority of required courses, are forced to work additional jobs and consequently do not have the time they need and want to dedicate their students;

Whereas devaluing adjunct labor is the principal means of devaluing the labor of CUNY education workers across all titles;

Whereas the PSC has rightly put adjuncts at the center of the current contract campaign by demanding an adjunct minimum wage of $7,000 per three-credit course in the next contract;

Whereas $7k per course amounts to a living wage in New York City and is parity with what a full-time lecturer makes at CUNY for the same work;

Whereas $7k per course is a bigger demand than what the PSC has won in past contracts, which rarely keep pace with inflation, and thus requires more than collective bargaining supplemented by occasional demonstrations to win;

Whereas the PSC leadership has admitted in the 26 March 2018 bulletin This Week in the PSC that “the campaign to more than double adjuncts’ pay will be waged not at the bargaining table”;

Whereas the inefficacy of lobbying is exemplified by the PSC’s persistent lobbying year after year for the $200m Maintenance of Effort bill, which failed to stop Cuomo from vetoing it and failed to convince state lawmakers to override the veto despite having enough votes;

Whereas educators across the country, especially in West Virginia where striking teachers won 5% raises for all state workers, have shown the power and necessity of striking as an alternative means to achieving significant victories for workers;

Whereas the acts of striking teachers in West Virginia and elsewhere have been acts of self-care, community care, and care for students, and, analogously, a strike at CUNY would also be an act of care for ourselves, our community, and our students, whose lives are deeply impacted by our viciously low pay;

Whereas striking would be a significant step toward defeating the Taylor Law and would thus further not only our interests but also those of all public-sector unions in New York State;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the PSC assembled at the 26 April 2018 Graduate Center chapter meeting support going on strike if CUNY management does not offer $7k per course at the bargaining table.

Suggested Amendments to $7k or Strike

Whereas adjuncts make up a majority of the faculty at CUNY and also teach a majority of the classes, at a starting rate of $3,200 per three-credit class with no compensation for research or advising, with average annual compensation for an adjunct lecturer teaching a full load of 8 courses of just $28,000 compared with an average annual pay of $74,000 for a full-time lecturer with the same course load;

Whereas adjunct poverty is detrimental to student success since adjuncts, who teach the majority of lower-level courses, are forced to work additional jobs and consequently do not have the time they need and want to dedicate to their students;      

Whereas devaluing adjunct labor is the principal means of devaluing the labor of CUNY education workers across all titles;

Whereas the PSC has rightly put adjuncts at the center of the current contract campaign by demanding an adjunct minimum wage of $7,000 per three-credit course in the next contract;

Whereas $7k per course amounts to a living wage in New York City and is parity with what a full-time lecturer makes at CUNY for the same work;

Whereas $7k per course is a radically larger demand than what the PSC has won in past contracts, and thus requires more than typical collective bargaining  to win;

Whereas the PSC leadership stated in the 26 March 2018 bulletin This Week in the PSC that “the campaign to more than double adjuncts’ pay will be waged not exclusively at the bargaining table”;

Whereas the limitations of lobbying are exemplified by Cuomo’s annual veto of the Maintenance of Effort bill and the failure of state lawmakers to override the veto despite having more than enough votes;

Whereas educators across the country, especially in West Virginia where striking teachers won 5% raises for all state workers, have shown the power and necessity of militant direct action as a foundational tool for achieving significant victories for workers;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the Graduate Center of the PSC assembled at the 25 April 2018 chapter meeting support escalating militant activity, up to and including a strike, if CUNY management does not offer $7k per course at the bargaining table.

Resolution on $7k or Strike

Edit: This is the text of the original proposal. For the amended and approved (at the April 24th chapter meeting) version you can click here.

Whereas adjuncts make up 57% of the faculty at CUNY and teach 53% of classes, at an average rate of $3,500 per three-credit class with no compensation for research or advising, amounting to an annual salary of $28,000 for the same courseload as full-time professors, who make $76,000 at the lowest step;

Whereas adjunct poverty is detrimental to student success since adjuncts, who teach the majority of lower-level courses, are forced to work additional jobs and consequently do not have the time they need and want to dedicate their students;

Whereas devaluing adjunct labor is the principal means of devaluing the labor of CUNY education workers across all titles;

Whereas the PSC has rightly put adjuncts at the center of the current contract campaign by demanding an adjunct minimum wage of $7,000 per three-credit course in the next contract;

Whereas $7k per course amounts to a living wage in New York City and is parity with what a full-time lecturer makes at CUNY for the same work;

Whereas $7k per course is a bigger demand than what the PSC has won in past contracts, which rarely keep pace with inflation, and thus requires more than collective bargaining supplemented by occasional demonstrations to win;

Whereas the PSC leadership has admitted in the 26 March 2018 bulletin This Week in the PSC that “the campaign to more than double adjuncts’ pay will be waged not at the bargaining table”;

Whereas the inefficacy of lobbying is exemplified by the PSC’s persistent lobbying year after year for the $200m Maintenance of Effort bill, which failed to stop Cuomo from vetoing it and failed to convince state lawmakers from overriding the veto despite having enough votes;

Whereas educators across the country, especially in West Virginia where striking teachers won 5% raises for all state workers, have shown the power and necessity of striking as an alternative means to achieving significant victories for workers;

Therefore be it resolved that the {Graduate Center Chapter of the PSC}/{members of the Graduate Center of the PSC assembled at the 25 April 2018 chapter meeting} supports going on strike if CUNY management does not offer $7k per course at the bargaining table.

Resolution Against the Proposed Plan to Implement an ‘Excellency Fee’ for Masters’ Students

Adopted 11/13/17

 

WHEREAS, President Chase Robinson and Provost Joy Connolly have proposed a plan to effectively increase the tuition for Masters’ students at the Graduate Center by proposing a $100/credit ‘excellency fee’; and

WHEREAS, Masters’ students are required to take 6-12 credits for full-time status, and most Masters’ students take at least 6 credits per semester, which would amount to $600-$1,200 per semester effective increase in tuition; and

WHEREAS, because the GC’s budgeting process is not transparent or democratic, there is no evidence that the money from the proposed fee would go directly to benefit Masters’ students; and

WHEREAS, on October 23rd, the CUNY Board of Trustees voted to increase tuition, by up to $200 /yr for full-time master’s resident students; and

WHEREAS, the total cost of attending an institution of higher learning is more than just tuition and fees; and

WHEREAS, the cost of living in New York City has risen about 23% from 2009 to 2014; and

WHEREAS, in the 2015-2016 academic year, CUNY estimated that students living at home would spend approximately $9,592 in books, transportation, and living expenses, while students not living at home would spend approximately $20,295 on such expenses; and

WHEREAS, instead of demanding funding from the state for increasing services, President Robinson and Provost Connolly are shifting the cost for needed services down to already cash-strapped students; and

WHEREAS, the rising tuition and expenses, stagnant financial aid assistance, insufficient state funding, and the prevalence of low-wage jobs undermine the affordability and stymies the accessibility to higher education and the advancement of a highly-educated and skilled workforce; therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the GC chapter of the Professional Staff Congress hereby expressly rejects the plan to levy an ‘excellency fee’ on Masters’ students; and, be it further

RESOLVED, that the GC chapter of the Professional Staff Congress rejects any and all future plans to implement tuition increases under the guise of additional fees; and, be it

RESOLVED, that the GC chapter of the Professional Staff Congress urges management to deploy its ample resources to lead a public campaign and lobbying effort for the full funding of the Graduate Center, and, be it

FINALLY RESOLVED, that the GC chapter of the Professional Staff Congress demands that President Chase Robinson and Provost Joy Connolly release a plan to fund services for Masters’ students without increasing tuition or fees.

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