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A Big Victory for GAs

The increased presence and power of GAs within the PSC, due to two years of chapter organizing, has scored another victory.

Contractual language previously withheld the $750 ratification bonus ($500 for GA-Ds) from any worker who was on an approved leave of absence in either the Spring 2016 or Fall 2016 semester. After months of hard work by GC Chapter officers, CUNY has agreed to pay this ratification bonus to all these affected GAs upon their return to work, no later than Feb. 1, 2018.

If you were previously denied the bonus because you were on a leave of absence, please take the agreement (below) to HR and ask them to begin processing your bonus. Of course, if you have any problems, please contact a GC union officer or shop steward for assistance.

The GC Chapter Report, September 2016 – January 2017

These are bleak times, so we wanted to take a moment to report on the huge strides our chapter has made this academic year.

On top of our regular chapter-wide meetings, we had our chapter’s first ever New Member Orientation meeting this Fall, five committees have been established (anyone can join—more info here!), and between last Spring and this Fall we signed up 402 new members creating four more representatives for our chapter at the PSC Delegate Assembly (in addition to the 300+ that we signed up the year before, which created three additional positions). We also co-hosted events like the one with CFA organizer Jonathan Karpf on adjunct issues and the recent rally to support Saira Rafiee that took place outside of the GC. There is a lot still to do in the second half of the academic year, but for a fuller synopsis of chapter activities from the first half please see the report below.

 

More Money in the Pockets of Graduate Assistants

The organizational growth of the chapter has made both CUNY and the PSC leadership more responsive to the needs of GAs working for the GC.

  • Most GAs received a $750 contract ratification bonus in the fall compared with Adjuncts with a similar workload who, unfortunately, received only $250.
  • After meeting with Chase Robinson he agreed to maintain the current level of stipends when our wages go up this month and again in April. (Compare this with most 2nd-5th year Science Fellows, now paid through four-year colleges and not in our chapter, whose contractual raise may be clawed back by a reduction in other funding.)[1] He also agreed that next year’s admissions will enter at the new GCF first year rate of $26,128.

What if you think you didn’t get the right Retroactive Pay?

  • If you feel CUNY paid you the wrong amount or are just unsure, here’s a three step process:

Building a Fight for a Strong 2017 Contract in the Context of Trump

In an effort to spearhead the next contract negotiation and have greater participation in the process, the chapter has been a leader in identifying and mobilizing for a stronger and more inclusive contract fight at the GC and in the PSC as a whole.

  • Circulated a four-point contract plan at our December Chapter meeting centered around part-timer issues, support for CUNY Rising, preparation for a potential strike, and outreach to progressive labor forces. Began discussion within the chapter of wage and non-wage demands.
  • Proposed a “First Steps” resolution to the PSC with tangible steps including an immediate one-day planning “retreat,” quick constitution of an inclusive Negotiating Committee, and contract-focused meetings in all chapters. As a result of this work, the PSC Delegate Assembly adopted the heart of our proposal, and this full day planning meeting will take place in late February or early March.
  • Chapter activists are helping to create a PSC-wide survey of working conditions to better guide the formulation of demands and negotiations.
  • The Chapter formulated a change to PSC Constitution that will allow GAs and Adjuncts who change campuses to vote and run for office in their new chapter without the current waiting periods of four and twelve months respectively. This resolution was discussed at last month’s Delegate Assembly meeting. A subcommittee will work on it and then it will be up for a vote next month.

Internal Organizing and Outreach

Neither the fights described above or below are possible without building the number and training of activists and increasing the total number of GC-PSC members. The GC chapter has worked closely with HEOs in our shared goal of signing up new PSC members at the GC, regardless of title. This cooperative work has resulted in large chapter meetings, shared mobilizing efforts for last contract, committee work, membership drive and political actions.

  • An active presence at incoming orientation days meant we signed up most incoming 1st years as members.
  • The total membership increase means we have tripled the number of our representatives at the Delegate Assembly, beginning in April.
  • Public outreach through social media – the GC has a robust presence on
    Facebook:
    The Graduate Center PSC
    Twitter: @PSCCUNYGC
    Instagram:
    @PSCCUNYGC
  • We have made moderate progress on developing a departmental shop steward structure.
  • Discussions of workload issues has been ongoing at both the Departmental and GC-wide levels, with some success. We were able to establish that, in 2017-18, GAs at Hunter will only teach two sections, but were unable to get that change for the spring semester.
  • We have taken first steps to building organization at our affiliated campuses, the School of Professional Studies and the School of Public Health and held our first Labor-Management meeting at SPS.
  • We successfully changed the three-year appointment process for adjuncts at SPS and, after months of wrangling, we procured the release of a report on water safety there.
  • Discussions of what, concretely, it would mean to be a sanctuary campus are proceeding with Chase Robinson.
  • At each chapter meeting and each labor management committee meeting HEOs have given updates and made plans to implement the new provisions of the contract that are relevant to their titles.

Adjunct/External Organizing

The chapter has been active in mobilization and solidarity work with other chapters and other unions.

  • We are building strong ties to the Baruch and Brooklyn chapters and working with them to organize adjuncts there.
  • We have been active in the union’s official adjunct organization, and have put forward proposals that we believe will soon be adopted which will concretely strengthen adjunct organizing and political power within the union.
  • We held two meetings at CCNY to begin organizing the 2nd-5th year Science Fellows there in cooperation with the union chapter there.
  • We had initial discussions with Non-Teaching Adjuncts on other campuses in an attempt to better understand the issue of “Grader Pay.” A grievance about incorrect grader pay at Baruch and CCNY has been stalled by management for most of the semester.
  • Along with several other PSC chapters and the Adjunct Project, we hosted Jonathan Karpf of the CFA for a discussion on winning pay parity for adjuncts.
  • The chapter has mobilized to defend our membership from attacks by the Trump administration, including having a robust presence at the Women’s March and co-organizing a well-attended rally for PSC member Saira Rafiee.

[1] We are seeking to work with those other chapters to organize these former chapter members.

Rally for Saira

Today at 1pm there was a rally for Saira Rafiee, of the PhD program in Political Science, who was impacted by Donald Trump’s disgusting executive order regarding movement of peoples into the U.S. Bob Nelson, recently retired from the GC, was on hand and passed on this account:

I was at the rally for Saira Rafiee at the Federal Courthouse in Brooklyn this afternoon.  About 100 were in attendance, mostly students, and lots of media, both local and national. The BP [Brooklyn Borough President], Eric Adams, MC’d. He read Saira’s Facebook post in its entirety, and expanded the issue to include K-12 students and parents who might now be separated. Hercules Reid of the USS gave a lovely speech, and Barbara [Bowen, PSC President] an impassioned one. Our own Matt Schoengood [Vice President of Student Affairs] read a statement from GC administration. The NYC Deputy Commissioner of Immigrant Affairs also spoke and reiterated the various ways in which the City would stand against Federal immigration activities. The press asked Adams for his opinion of the NYS Senate bill that would require colleges to compile lists of foreign students, and he shot that down with “Bad idea! We don’t make lists.”

 

Did you go to the event for today and have a report from the rally? Let us know! Also, please be on the lookout for more events in support of Saira in the coming days.

January 30th Chapter Meeting

GC CHAPT MEETING 130

See you on the 30th!

Check out our calendar or Facebook events.

Colin P. Ashley: A Statement

Colin P. Ashley is a Graduate Center student in Sociology. Below is his statement in response to the brutal attack this past weekend on Colin and a group of other activists by pro-Trump goons. It is republished with Colin’s permission.

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I am in good spirits. I am not detoured. I am Black, Queer and yes still fabulous! Next time I will be better equipped to whoop some fascist ass.

ON WHAT HAPPENED

Saturday was an amazing day for racial justice organizing and activism. I started the day by attending the Forward Union (FU) fair tabling for PPA. The FU event was a space that allowed artists, grassroots activists and organizers, and community organizations to meet and share what they were working on around issues of justice and equality. While there, I was invited to speak on a ‘Why we say Fuck the Police! panel’ with family from NYC Shut It Down. The panel was extremely powerful, the message well received. Despite the snow the event was well attended and quite impactful. It ended with a dance party, drag queens and a queer performance piece. I danced. I then went and joined other friends at the Decolonize This Place closing night event (many of whom were at FU and left earlier). Decolonize is a space where social justice movement folks, artists, thinkers gathered to commune, organize, celebrate, and work towards decentering whiteness. The place was packed, filled with people of color, queers, friends, family. I danced.

As the night started to wind down a large group of us stood outside chanting various movement chants—solidifying bonds and our commitment to continue forward in our fights for racial justice. A smaller group of us moved down the street heading off to grab food and continued chanting. Four men quickly approached us shouting “Trump, Trump, Trump” with one of them flashing his blue lives matter bracelet at us. We in response continued chanting, switching up our chant to the fuck trump protest song: “Ole, Ole Ole Ole…Fuck Trump, Fuck Trump.” One of the guys, RacistHomophobeDudeBroMcFuckFace pointed at me and shouted, “He’s a fucking faggot.” and I screamed back, “Yeah, I’m a fucking faggot so the fuck what!” and continued on my way crossing the street.

This moment is important…really important…because I know this guy. Guys like this have called me faggot before. Guys like this who are insanely insecure and threatened by any and all difference. He expected my shame. He expected me to be demure and weakened by his homophobic slur. His toxic masculinity is fueled by this expectation. It was a desire for power and I did not comply with this expectation. This moment is also important because it is not new. I’m a black queer man. I’ve been called faggot and been threatened before. I have known all types of violence like this. While the election of Trump may have emboldened these types they’ve always been there: threatening anything and everyone that they perceive as different. Their sense of self depends on this. I know this guy and we all must know him. Authoritarian and fascists ideas resonate with him. He knows offense and seeks power through his fists. He is probably more willing to kill for his ideas than we are.

When I turned back around, dudebro (6’2”, 220lbs) was yelling at Connor, a friend and fellow queer activist. A few folks were trying to separate them. As I approached, dudebro sucker punched Connor in the face. I stepped in to defend Connor and the brawl took off. My instinct was to grapple. This instinct failed me. I did everything in my power to bring the dude to the ground. While doing so he wailed continuously on my face. Once on the ground, he managed to get on top of me and continued wailing. I landed some body punches but couldn’t sweep him. Several friends tried to peel him off me but his friends were attacking them and preventing them from offering aide. My perspective from this point was limited. It was a perspective from the ground. They ended up taking off and I was rushed inside to get needed care. I was later told that the group of guys ran to the cops and used the cops as a shield from those of us who ran after them. I was told the cops let them go and told our people to go inside. I wish I knew more of the details around this but this does not surprise me. The police are not here to protect us. I certainly don’t remember the cops breaking anything up but again, perspective: ground

ON CIRCULATING TRAUMA

I get that these stories need to be told. Believe me I do. My face, my name, my stories have circulated rapidly through social media before, but we as organizers and activists must do better. The story that first circulated on FB and Twitter did not go through my community first. I understand that this is a communal story, but I personally felt distant from what was happening on FB and Twitter. I just felt disembodied. (Probably due to the head injury!– buh buh buh) I guess this is part and parcel to the nature of social media. But I was missing. Some of my politics were missing. So I want to share this to feel a bit more bodied. I worry that the 24 hour news cycle has taught us that we have to push out information rapidly. We don’t. We have to first center the survivors of violence, their needs, story, and politics–especially the most marginalized amongst us.

The day after the attack, I found myself constantly juggling texts, fb posts, signal threads, twitter feeds, emails, and calls. It was a lot. But I tried to dive in, frozen popsicle over my eye (I’ve since moved on to a real ice pack) and did my best. These conversations were fundamentally important. Organizers were figuring out how to respond and take action, the press (more on them later) wanted details, and most importantly my whole community wanted to make sure that I was ok. I am still slowly responding to this outpouring of love.

I did not cry after the attack. I cried because of the immense support I received. It was awe-inspiring. This is why I believe that we will win. We just need to continue to grow more organized and strategic. I have worked to cull deplorables from my social media network. Others have not. I was immediately targeted online by Pepe-meme wielding deplorables. I am not upset at anyone or asking that anything be taken down. This story should be told. These are just some ideas on how we can better protect ourselves going forward.

ON THE PRESS

The press moves fast. We must remember they want a story. In these cases the story is about the act of the harm, not necessarily the people who were harmed. Let’s slow the press down. Especially the press that is friendly to social movements. Our stories are important. Our politics are important. I point to this because the story being told over and over is too focused on Trump. Yes, since he was elected, hate crimes have gone up, but we must continue to stress that this shit is a continuation of this country’s racist, sexist, homophobic history. This shit is instilled in our very structures and institutions. A bunch of fagotts being beat up by some hateful racist homophobic pigs isn’t new. Our enemies are bigger than this group of assholes. We have to dismantle entire structures. We have to live in alternative ways. We have so much work to do.

ON NEEDING SELF DEFENSE

Yep! Check! Wish I knew some sweeps and I need to get my jab on point. But, to be clear…many of us are working tirelessly on trying to organize these classes and much much more. What we need is you. We need more people joining us, organizing with us, volunteering their skills. Many folks organizing around racial justice are exhausted and burnt out. We have already lost too many of our strongest organizers because of this. Since the election we have many new faces in our organizations. People are growing fast politically, but those of us who have been in this for a while now are still being told love and peace when we say militancy, strategy, and resistance. We are not anti-love. Love just isn’t a political strategy. These sentiments must be channeled into forms of resistance and this resistance must be both strategic and militant. We need all hands on deck.

Many people are too invested in non-profit organizations. The work that many of them do is important but their role is by nature limited. Many people still hold to a faith in the Democratic party and their elected officials. They have failed us time and time again. Malcolm X’s speech about the fox and the wolf rings loudly in this moment. Others still cling to the idea that racial capitalism can be reformed. This is the biggest lie. We must let it go.

Come. Join us in the grassroots organizations working on these very issues. We are not paid. We do this work out of love and survival. We need you. If you have ever said on social media that we need to take self defense classes and are not part of an organization or community group: join one. Help us organize these classes. If you can teach self defense: volunteer. Here are NYC groups that you can plug into:

People’s Power Assemblies (PPA)
NYC Shut It Down
Millions March
Why Accountability
ICE-Free NYC.

PPA has just formed several borough based community defense committees… two in Brooklyn and one in queens have grown the fastest so far.

There are many ways to plug in and offer support…just jump in.

LASTLY

This was a hate crime…but the whole damn country is a hate crime on top of a hate crime on top of a bunch of hate crimes. Assholes like the ones that attacked us need to be stopped but the whole damn country needs to be transformed. Racial capitalism must be destroyed and I am still dedicated to working toward its destruction. Again, I am not detoured. I have lost loved ones to police brutality. I have lost loved ones to homophobia and transphobia. I have seen friends attacked by the police. I have seen a friend nearly lose her arm because of the militarized police at Standing Rock. This moment isn’t about our current political reality. Our political system was designed to uphold racial capitalism and to condense power and wealth into the hands of fewer and fewer people. Trump is a continuation of this, not its exception. This system is clearly collapsing under its own contradictions. We must help that collapse along while building alternative ways to exist. We must take seriously the racial justice movements that have worked towards the destruction of racism, hetero-patriarchy, and capitalism. The moment is upon us.

Black Lives Matter

Notes From the Last Two Chapter Meetings

Below you will find notes from our previous two chapter meetings (on October 24th and December 1st). The notes from the October meeting are specifically on the take-aways from the small group breakout session where members talked about what they hope to see in the next CUNY/PSC contract; the notes from December are a summary of meeting in its entirety, and the discussion of several documents discussed.

A big thank you to Chloe Asselin (Urban Education) for both!

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Graduate Center PSC chapter member Contract Demands (October 24th meeting)

  • Free tuition as part of contract
  • Tuition remission for kids of PSC members
  • Disclosure of administrative pay
  • Cap number of online courses
    • make sure professors teaching online get same pay, benefits, etc.
  • Adjuncts
    • $7000/class
    • Paid office hours
    • Lecture salaries as comparable rate- proportional pay to time worked
    • Multiyear contracts
    • Fixed ratio of adjuncts to full-time faculty/cap number of adjuncts
    • Flat sum raise as non-negotiable
  • Graduate Assistants
    • Fluid transitions between graduate assistants and adjuncts in salary steps. GA work should count as adjunct step increases starting at step 2
    • Graduate students have a promotional option to get full-time jobs
    • Cap on class size
    • Language needed around TAships- “excessive workload” is vague
    • Formalize preservation of raises for GAs so that stipends are included in bargaining
    • Pedagogy skills before entering classroom
  • HEOs
    • Transparency in the reclassification process
    • Equal pay for equal jobs for HEOs when new contract negotiated
    • Possibility to work from home under certain circumstances such as medical ones
    • Authority in shaping funding, awards, recognition, representation in different kinds of decision-making
    • Replenish center lines with full-time staff
  • Full-time
    • Increase number of full-time faculty lines
    • Diversity requirements
    • Course credit for teaching in summer
    • Fair share of external research grants
    • Make refusal to fill open lines from retirement, etc. grievable
    • Protect tenure

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Meeting notes from December 1st

We focused on the urgency of fighting back against the attack on labor of a Trump administration. A Trump Supreme Court will most likely vote in favor of a court case similar to “Friedrichs” making the entire country “right to work.” We presented three documents we hope the EC will endorse/pass tomorrow: CUNY as a sanctuary campus, labor against Trump, and a resolution centering adjuncts. We discussed a four-point plan that includes 1. Center the PSC’s work on CUNY Rising and on broad social and economic justice issues; 2. Place part-timer demands front and center in our contract negotiations; 3. Be prepared to strike; 4. Deepen relationships with the most progressive and powerful elements of the NYC labor movement.

Action steps for PSC based on group discussions from today’s chapter meeting:

  • Get a large group to go present adjunct resolution at the Delegate Assembly on December 15
  • Mobilize base with TWU contract fight in January. We have time in January since CUNY is on vacation. Opportunity to get GTF’s involved
  • Get members to DC for Inauguration Day protests
  • Prioritizing adjuncts in contract campaign should not just be a strategic issue about next “Friedrichs”. Should happen no matter what
    • Urgency of signing up adjuncts right now to build adjunct power. Need more adjunct members
  • We need clearer vision and concrete steps
    • Create Strike Committee now
  • Leverage of public campaign.
    • Part of public campaign power was SAV
    • Connect civil rights with labor rights
    • Public campaign about how CUNY provides for NYC. We train police, teachers, fire fighters
  • Internal educational work to build participation and engagement
    • Meetings between full-timers and part-timers. Meetings with students and faculty on different campuses
    • Commitment to organize adjuncts on each campus and provide educational resources to build solidarity
    • Use issues to do more one-on-one organizing similar to SAV. Train members to talk to other members and make connections between issues. Fight for contract is tied to broader issues around CUNY
    • Because we have many new members, we need more information provided to members on CUNY Rising, on last contract- what was successful or not, and explain acronyms
    • Highlight places of success for adjuncts and full-time faculty. Bring activists from locations to GC to discuss goals and how they achieved them. Adjust for CUNY and NY
  • Create meaningful solidarity between different tiers of the workforce and with our students
  • Stronger language in Sanctuary statement. Ban ICE, surveillance, police on CUNY campuses
    • PSC commitment to action if CUNY doesn’t respect sanctuary
  • CUNY Rising- build committees on each campus to have more conversations
    • More about CUNY Rising and fact that it is student centered. How does union respond to student movements? How does union contribute to student movements?
  • Larger labor movement in city. What are they doing and how is PSC participating?
  • Use PSC meetings to make concrete demands.
  • Language of 4-point plan should include race and inclusivity and include sanctuary campus language
  • Academic freedom needs to be part of the discussion
  • Build coalitions with K-12 teachers across states (PA and NJ)
  • Reach out to alumni. Alumni support CUNY and the union.
  • Litigation
  • Have members participate as much as possible in next contract fight. Have members participate in creation and prioritization of demands

Double Down

Dear PSCers –

This is a really rough day. I cried, walking around my neighborhood. I found it hard to make eye contact. I am sad, and like many, I feel fear. There is just no way to sugarcoat the presidency of a billionaire real estate parasite who ran a campaign based on racism and sexism.

But whatever draining feelings you have this morning, please don’t succumb to them. This is a moment when we can decide – not on who our president will be for the next four years (that decision has been made), but whether we will start today, now to build the power we need to make a different future.

We need a fully funded CUNY more than ever. We need to engage our co-workers and our working class students, most of whom are students of color, in this process of building power. Maybe you’ve thought of getting more involved, but felt too busy. Maybe you woke up this morning with the feeling of wanting to do something. Maybe this is the moment to make space for the work necessary to create a different future – for our union, for CUNY, for our city, for our society.

Come to a CUNY Rising town hall meeting. Join a chapter committee. Or just give me a call and let me know how you want to get active. Let’s get organized.

Solidarity & power,

Luke Elliott-Negri

PSC Chapter Chair, CUNY Graduate Center

718-710-0020

#CUNYRising

This month CUNY Rising is kicking off their demand for a Students’ Bill of Rights (see below). This means advocating for, among other things, free tuition and adjunct parity. The PSC is proud to be one of the members of this alliance, and our chapter will hopefully have a strong showing at each of the three kick-off meetings. Please consider attending or or more of them (and RSVP to Sam)!

cunyrising-flyer-town-hall_all-meetings_page_1cunyrising-flyer-town-hall_all-meetings_page_2

PSC 2017/ CUNY 2017: Five Steps Toward Being Ready for the Next Contract Fight

PSC 2017/ CUNY 2017

Five Steps Toward Being Ready for the Next Contract Fight

Luke Elliott-Negri

 

 

When you organize in the PSC, you eventually hear these two statements: “PSC is an adjunct union.” And: “PSC doesn’t do anything for adjuncts.” The new contract is settled and depending on your perspective it has “unprecedented” gains for adjuncts (in the form of 3-year appointments for those who are long-serving), or it is so bad that the PSC should be decertified and replaced with an adjunct-only organization (a stance that I can only characterize as either conservative or outright anti-union, however valid the substantive concerns may be). You can look elsewhere for assessments of the contract. And whatever you may think of the new contract, the next year will involve fights around implementation, for full-time faculty, part-time faculty and HEOs. But here, I am focused on 2017.

Whether you’re in a tenured post or you’re struggling to pay rent as an adjunct, “the future of CUNY” and “the future of the tenure system” are abstract concepts. Let’s make them concrete. The School of Professional Studies—part of the GC chapter where I am Chair—in the words of one Dean, “heavily utilizes adjunct labor.” In practical terms, this means that a student can earn a CUNY degree never having met a tenured professor. Think about this for a moment. The future of the tenure system is here—or at least one possible version of that future, in which the tenure system has been profoundly undermined. It is here, I hope, to motivate us to organize—to build a different future.

One way to understand the PSC contract is that there is one pot of money and for every dime one group gets, a dime is taken away from another. In this view, the fight to end adjunctification would be a hit to the tenured professor, higher education officers, the college laboratory technicians & the other series in our bargaining unit. But if we are serious about preserving the tenure system – or put differently, if we want to assure security for all academic laborers – than there is a collective interest in all of us working together to end the two-tier labor system at CUNY. There is simply no way of fighting for the future of job security—and in my view, for free, high quality education at CUNY—without also fighting to end the two-tiered labor system.

Our strike authorization vote last semester was powerful, but frankly, we were not ready for such an action. 10,000 members participated, but our unit covers more than 20,000. We must start a virtuous cycle, whereby increasing unity leads to more power to improve our contract for the most vulnerable, and those improvements lead to more unity. And then, if we are able to make serious steps toward adjunct job security and pay parity, our leverage with respect to CUNY Management, the City and the State, will grow. This was one lesson from Jonathan Karpf of the California Faculty Association when he visited us recently. If we are able to erode and ultimately break the two-tier labor system, we will be a truly unified bargaining unit. Our next strike authorization vote will be a more sincere threat and will – if we position ourselves well politically & ally with students and their families – bring in much more money to the CUNY system. If we truly want to fight for free, high quality public education, we need a unified bargaining unit, without radical disparities in pay or job protections.

The devil is in the details when we talk about “parity” or “ending the two-tiered labor system.” (I can imagine some combination of seniority, conversion lines for adjuncts and negotiated caps on the number of adjunct classes/campus—but this is a plan that we need to think through collectively.) That the devil is in the details, however, is all the more reason why our union needs to face this question squarely and directly. Here are five things we can do to move forward this conversation in advance of the 2017 contract fight.

  1. Fight like hell to defend the contract we do have. We need a much stronger contract for adjuncts and lecturers. But we have a contract in front of us, and we must defend its provisions. Let’s be sure that all eligible adjuncts receive 3-year appointments. Let’s be sure that no one is getting hired “off contract” (We’ve found members at Baruch getting hired to grade at a pitiful $10/hour.). Let’s vigorously implement the HEO assignment differentials. Let’s get teaching hours reduced without increased class size or deeper adjunctification. In short, let’s be sure that the contract we do have is enforced, even as we work to make the next one better.
  1. Talk about preserving tenure and achieving parity publicly in every chapter. Most chapters will be hosting chapter meetings this fall. Preserving tenure through achieving parity must be on the agenda – 2017 is around the corner, and we must start having these conversations collectively, now.
  1. Build adjunct committees on every campus. We must talk about parity and security in chapter meetings and other public settings, but part-timers also need to meet as a group, campus by campus, to think through the details of what they want to see in 2017. Campus-based committees are essential to this process, and will ideally get linked together in a cross-campus adjunct council (presumably through First Fridays). At the same time we must be sure that all Agency Fee payers become members. At the Graduate Center, we have nearly tripled our membership numbers in the past two years. We can get to 90% adjunct membership, but we have to do the work!
  1. Full-timers (faculty and cross-campus members) should have their own conversations about parity, and how such a demand meshes with their more immediate priorities. We must not kid ourselves that making serious steps toward pay parity is a huge, collective decision for our union. Though it is in the long-term interests of many full-timers to break the two-tier system, it may not be perceived as being in their short-term interests. And more importantly, we must develop the conviction as a union that we need to preserve and expand job security in higher education, even if as individuals, some of us already have it. How does this long-term need mesh or fail to mesh with the short-term priorities of full-timers? Full-time members must have these conversations together. What is the future of the tenure system?
  1. Keep our eyes on the prize. Whether full or part-time, with job security or without, all PSC members want to see CUNY fully funded. There has been a decades-long disinvestment in CUNY that we, as yet, have not been able to reverse. If want to see free, high quality public education for all of New York City’s working class, then we must work together to end the erosion of pay and job security for all CUNY jobs. Our moral claim about adjunct parity is resonant, and is inextricably linked to our moral claim about a free and fully funded CUNY. When we as PSC members act as champions of the CUNY system and of those in our ranks who are underpaid and lack meaningful job security, then we are both doing what is right, and we are positioning ourselves politically to make broadly resonant moral claims in the city and the state.

Luke Elliott-Negri, Chapter Chair

lukeelliottnegri@gmail.com

Contingent Labor in a Time of Austerity

Contingent Labor in a Time of Austerity: A Discussion with California Adjunct Organizer Jonathan Karpf and PSC Adjunct Leaders

What can we learn from other academic unions about transforming the conditions of contingent workers? Following the PSC’s hard-fought struggle after six years to secure a contract, the question of our next steps looms large. In this time of austerity, when academic workers face an administration and government intent on making cuts to public education, it is especially important for workers across the country and beyond to share their knowledge and experiences of both victories and setbacks.

Lecturer Jonathan Karpf of the California Faculty Association (CFA) will join graduate employee and adjunct activists from CUNY to discuss his experience organizing part-time, contingent labor and the CFA’s efforts to win pay parity for adjuncts in their contract bargaining. The event is sponsored by the PSC chapters at: City College, LaGuardia Community College, Brooklyn College, College of Staten Island, Bronx Community College, and the Graduate Center; plus the CUNY Adjunct Project and the PSC First Friday Committee.

This event is open to all who are interested in fighting to improve the conditions of the most vulnerable and exploited segment of the academic labor force. It will be hosted in at the Graduate Center, room 5414.

You can see and share our Facebook event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/572285172958110/

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