To the Editor: I noticed there was a glowing article in your paper about the virtues of the PSC contract (Nov. 1 issue).
Although the union leadership would like everyone to think that is the case, it just isn’t so. In fact, the adjuncts had a union meeting Oct. 25 and we voted almost unanimously to demand that the delegates not recommend this contract to the members.
Rather than providing a living wage, the highest salary for most of the adjuncts will be $5,500 by the end of 2022.
Moreover, we will have to work extra hours in order to justify our raises; that’s more work for not much more money, and while the union leadership said we are doing the work anyway so why not get paid for it, we say we are not required to spend that extra time at the schools but now we will.
To “professionalize” our jobs, we will be forced to counsel students or do whatever management requires us to do. There is no consideration for inflation either so a 2-percent raise, even compounded, which does not account for inflation does not reflect the real raise.
Some members, such as the adjunct College Lab Techs got nothing although the full-timers did.
More importantly, the budget of CUNY is being slashed everywhere. The Governor has not funded the City University adequately and so these “raises” will come either out of the students’ pockets or out of the operating budget, or both. Three hundred classes at BMCC are slated to be cut this coming semester. Ethnic studies at many of the schools have been slashed or eliminated altogether.
The buildings are in complete disrepair, there is no heat at Bronx Community College and many of the buildings have mold and asbestos, not to mention rats.
A fully funded CUNY would provide for free tuition for the students and the billions that CUNY needs to make the schools a decent environment to teach and learn. Our working conditions represent the students’ learning conditions. CUNY is the largest “public” education institution in the country, but because the students are largely black and Latinx, the conditions are inferior to an elite institution, which is mainly white.
So, in this “historic” contract, CUNY expects more for less and the union is presenting this as a win so that the membership will vote for it. A SMALL JUMP TO $5,500 IN YEAR 5 COMES AT THE COST OF ELIMINATING SALARY STEPS. By year 5, once people have reached the $5,500 limit, there will be nowhere else to go. Our salaries will be flattened out.
Despite the PSC’s claim of achieving “historic” gains, the across-the-board wage increase of 10.41 percent between April 2017 and November 2022 would simply maintain the austerity “pattern-bargaining” that Cuomo has imposed on NYS unions.
PSC executives were offered these 2 percent raises at the very beginning of bargaining; accepting only 2 percent at the end of bargaining means they failed to budge the city and state negotiators. This is nothing to brag about. The nationwide inflation rate has hovered around 2 percent the past few years, and local NYS inflation has been higher, so these raises barely keep up with inflation. They certainly do not keep pace with the cost-of-living increases in New York City—rent alone increases about 4 percent per year.
These raises fall well short of what was in the leadership’s own initial bargaining agenda: 5 percent compounded per year.
Therefore, workers in the 7K or strike movement are all calling for a rejection of this contract by the delegates, but if they vote it up, we will be organizing a no vote campaign among the workers.
The union leadership has sold us out again because President Bowen is unwilling to mount a fight that will win. Rather than relying on the power of the members—that is, organizing a strike campaign—she wanted to rely on faith-based organizations that would pressure politicians who do not care either about the members or our students. Two years have gone by and the part-timers still must cobble together a living by working 2 and 3 jobs.
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