Friday, April 22, 2016

Why I Signed the Strike Authorization #CUNYNeedsARaise @NYGovCuomo @deBlasioNYC @jbmilliken

There are any number of reasons I support the strike authorization vote.    

First and foremost, nothing else has worked to move this campaign.  Our last contract ended October 10th, 2010.  And our last raise was in 2009, during the first year of the Obama administration.  And we did not get an economic offer from the university until of November of 2015, when a group of us were arrested outside of one of the negotiating sessions.  Seven years later, in the waning months of the Obama administration, we are still without a new contract.  Why was it that CUNY waited so many years to offer us a contract?  Perhaps we did not use direct action fast enough?

By authorizing a strike, we are re embracing our collective power.  Sure we all want to teach and come to work.  I want to.  I love teaching at City Tech.  Hopefully, this strike authorization vote compels management to move toward a fair contract as a similar authorization did in California.

The PSC negotiating team has been through hundreds of hours meetings and bargaining sessions; we’re marched, signed petitions, and made calls.  But CUNY management has failed to budge.   When is it that we can say someone is negotiating in bad faith?  I would say seven years.  Since our last raise, the rent has gone up in New York, costs of living have increased, and few of us go a pay cycle without running out of money to pay the bills or going into overdraft just to get the groceries.   One rarely encounters a landlord who says you have not gotten a raise, so I will not raise your rent.  This does not happen. 

After hundreds of hours of meetings and negotiating sessions, is it time to
let CUNY management know they may not be serious about our economic needs, but
we are.  

And we are willing to use direct action to compel the university to act.

“Direct action is part of the process of creating direct democracy,” notes the anarchist studies network.  “It produces results by raising the profile of causes and often halting practices many object to. As well as a tactic, direct action is also a means for self-empowerment. It is a component of the society we hope to create, where people take control of their lives into their own hands and confront the root causes of injustices directly.”

Direct action gets the goods.  In “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” MLK suggested that nonviolent civil disobedience fosters the sort of creative tension that moves bodies to re imagine situations, breaking impasses. 

There are those who would suggest the PSC  should wait out the crisis.  The question of patience with the status quo permeates through the "Letter from a Birmingham Jail.”  MLK states, " My friends, I must say to you that we have not made a single gain in civil rights without determined legal and nonviolent pressure. Lamentably, it is a historical fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily… We know painfully through experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed… For years now I have heard "wait."    This "Wait" has almost always meant 'Never."  We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that "justice too long delayed is justice denied."

With tuition rising steadily and salaries failing to keep up with costs of living, we have to acknowledge that "justice too long delayed is justice denied."

CUNY needs a raise.  The time for waiting is over.

Stop the War on CUNY and other photos by Erik McGregor

No comments:

Post a Comment