Tuesday, December 5, 2017

"#cunyneedsaraise and not in seven years!" #7KCUNY #cuny Contract Campaign Kickoff: WE WON’T WAIT ANOTHER 6 YEARS FOR A CONTRACT! FAIR AND COMPETITIVE SALARIES FOR ALL FACULTY AND STAFF!

Many people are on their way to DC to fight this obscene tax bill. Others of us were fighting for economic justice here in NYC.  

As Barbara Bowen, of the PSC, wrote:
Colleagues and Friends:
Today is the day of the PSC march and demonstration to build power for our contract campaign. There is still time to make plans to be there. We start at 4:30 at the CUNY Grad Center and march to Baruch for a rally outside of the CUNY Board meeting from 5:30 to 6:30. Come for all of the event or the part that you can attend—but come!
The only way we win decent contracts in this austerity economy is by demonstrating our power with mass actions. Mass action requires all of us.
The demonstration has already attracted press attention from the Daily News, the Amsterdam News and Politico. How powerful a message the event itself delivers depends entirely on whether individual faculty and staff members like you make the decision to be there.
Our demand for a well-funded contract just became more urgent, as the U.S. Congress verges on passing a massive redistribution of wealth that will devastate big cities and state budgets. The time to act is now.
There will be lights and music and signs, and above all, there will be a show of our unity and power. Don’t miss what promises to be a memorable show of our determination to achieve competitive salaries for all faculty and professional staff and end the shameful underpayment of adjuncts.
4:30 PM Gather at CUNY Graduate Center, 365 5th Ave., at 34th St.
5:00 PM March to Baruch Vertical Campus, 55 Lexington Ave., at 25th St.
5:30 - 6:30 Rally Outside CUNY Board of Trustees Meeting, Baruch College President, PSC

I will look for you this afternoon!
Barbara Bowen

The struggle was everywhere. As activists were sitting in the halls of congress, calling for representatives to vote their conscience, instead of corporate backers, members of the PSC were converging at Baruch College for the CUNY Trustees meeting.
It was six years for this board to move on our last contract.  We had to get arrested to have them even put a contract offer on the table. And we're willing to do so again. 
We wanted to make the point that they should act in a timely fashion this time.
“What time is it?” Mike Fabricant asked as the board meeting began. 
“Its contract time,” we screamed.
We repeated the call and response a few times.
Leaving, I followed with the message that the board should do their job and get this done, instead of making us all wait another six years.

We passed out a flyer declaring: CUNY faculty and staff educate 500,000 New Yorkers. We need a fair contract to to endure quality education.  
A fair contract for CUNY faculty and staff means success for CUNY students. 
A good contract for PSC/CUNY is good for New York!"
As I was speaking, members of the union were marching from 34th Street to join us at Baruch.

I caught up with them on my bike, seeing activists streaming down Madison Avenue, from the Graduate Center, where I learned so much. 
A marching band was performing.
Immigrant rights activists were calling for the ICE to be out of the schools.
Adjuncts carried signs calling for $7K per class or a strike.

End cheap labor at CUNY. 
CUNY adjunct pay is essentially, "'near-poverty' wages."

Library faculty were asking for a new contract and $7K per course for adjunct professors. #7KCUNY.
Smash the Taylor Laws, another sign declared.
Activists collected donations for Puerto Rico, beating on water bottles, calling for contract justice. 
Block after block we marched, people from campuses all over the city. 

Earlier in the day, the Daily News wrote:
Colleagues from all over CUNY were there.
Our point was simple, we can't wait another six years for a contract. 


Soyeon and so many others made it out for the big rally!

As usual, Erik McGregor took the best pictures. "PSC-CUNY held its first rally in support of their new contract campaign on December 4, 2017 in Midtown Manhattan; with a press conference, rally and march from the Graduate Center to Baruch College where the Board of Trustees were meeting. Their demands include across-the-board 5% raises in each year with additional salary increases for those who are lowest-paid; an increase to $7,000 per course for adjuncts; improved job security; material support for department chairs; and improved working conditions for all faculty and staff."

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