Today was National Adjunct Walkout Day (NAWD), a first-of-its-kind grassroots action in which some adjuncts at colleges and universities across the country walked out of their classroom in protest of their—our—unfair pay and working conditions as second-tier faculty.
At CUNY, no adjuncts walked out due to New York State’s 1967 Taylor Law, which prohibits public employees from striking (though at a Professional Staff Congress Graduate Center chapter meeting over lunch today, Stanley Aronowitz made an impassioned plea to break the Taylor Law in order to break the our contract-bargaining impasse with the state, which hasn’t okayed an economic offer yet).
Instead, adjuncts, graduate employees, and other faculty taught about academic labor and adjunctification in their classes (resources to do so, anytime), tabled in common spaces on their campuses, and held meetings, departmental and otherwise, to discuss the significance of NAWD and the adjunct struggle broadly.
At the Graduate Center, the CUNY Adjunct Project collaborated with GC students to make and hold a banner in front of the GC’s entrance pointing out that, while adjuncts make up 59% of CUNY’s total faculty, they’re only paid 29%-38% of what full-time faculty are paid. In addition to the banner, we created a flyer (see it below) that provided more data and analysis, and which explained the Taylor Law and its effects, to hand out to both GC students, faculty, and visitors as well as passersby on the busy block on which the GC is located, just north of the Empire State Building. A few PSC organizers also joined us and handed out an additional flyer that amplified the message of the day.
We held the banner and flyered from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., at which point we went upstairs to the aforementioned chapter lunch meeting (an important opportunity to share news and discuss various labor matters). No doubt we would’ve reached more people if we’d stayed longer, especially given the uptick in people traffic as the lunch rush continued, but we gave out 400+ flyers in the hour we were there, a decent result. And the banner’s being used again for an action at CUNY’s Hostos Community College on Friday, as part of National Adjunct Action/Awareness Week, the longer-duration event NAWD gave rise to.
People already have been asking us what’s next. Let us know what you’d like to see happen, and if you’d like to be involved in making it happen, in the comments to this post.
Below is the flyer we handed out, as well as a short video of the action and additional photos. If you’d like to amplify the action, use the hashtags listed in the flyer and post to Facebook, Twitter, or other social media.
Adjunct faculty equal 59% of CUNY faculty but only earn 29%-38% of what full-time faculty earn per course.
The time for adjunct pay parity is now! Join us tomorrow (Wednesday, February 25), 11:30a-12:30p, in front of the Graduate Center’s entrance for a rally and banner reveal in support of National Adjunct Walkout Day.
Here’s the flyer we’ll be handing out, which you can use in your class to talk about the adjunct struggle at CUNY and the Taylor Law that prohibits public employees from striking:
Hope to see you!
As you are probably aware, there is a rule in the PSC-CUNY contract limiting adjunct faculty to teaching 9 credits at one CUNY college and 6 credits at a second CUNY college each semester. Though it has been argued that this policy protects adjuncts, it is in actuality a hardship for most part-time faculty members, as it results in additional travel time and cost and makes scheduling more difficult. More importantly, an increasing number of campuses are offering 4-credit courses, making it nearly impossible for adjuncts to get enough work to make ends meet.
Because this policy does more harm than good, it must be changed. We therefore call on full- and part-time faculty, staff, and graduate assistants to sign and circulate this petition demanding that the 9-6 rule be rescinded in ongoing contract negotiations.
As we continue the fight for a good contract, we must also . . . → Read More: Petition to End the 9-6 Rule
Listen here for the audio of today’s #altCOCAL convening at the CUNY Graduate Center. More details to come.
The two campaigns the Adjunct Project is participating in for contingent representation at CUNY’s union, the open letter calling on the union leadership to represent contingent academic laborers, and the call for $5K per adjunct per course as a bottom-line contract demand in the union’s current negotiations, have been moved to a new, independent site in deference to their broad formations. There you will also find the daily update tracking the number of days it takes the union president to respond to the open letter.
The following resolution calling on the Professional Staff Congress to include a demand for a $7000 minimum starting salary per three-credit course for adjuncts in ongoing contract negotiations—and for CUNY and the PSC to bargain the demand in good faith—passed the Doctoral Students’ Council unanimously this past Friday evening by a vote of 48-0.
The Adjunct Project, working with the DSC steering committee, wrote and introduced the resolution, and we’ll be forwarding it to the PSC leadership.
Many thanks for everyone’s support, at the DSC meeting on Friday and elsewhere, and special thanks to the National Mobilization for Equity and the folks who got COCAL to endorse the $7K figure!
Resolution Calling for a $7,000 Minimum Starting Salary for CUNY Adjuncts
WHEREAS the City University of New York (CUNY) employs some 13,000 adjuncts (according to the Professional Staff Congress [PSC], the union of CUNY faculty and staff);
WHEREAS the starting . . . → Read More: Resolution for $7K Adjunct Salary Per Course Passes DSC Unanimously!
COCAL XI, the eleventh conference of the Coalition of Contingent Academic Labor, takes place Monday, August 4, through Wednesday, August 6, at John Jay College/CUNY.
We invite all those attending COCAL XI—and all those who are not—to join us for lunch and discussion on Wednesday, August 6, to consider ways forward, both for the conference and for the movement to end the two-tier system of academic labor.
Location: Graduate Center/CUNY, room 5414.*
Lunch, 1:30p-2:30p; report-backs and discussion, 2:45-5; refreshments and merriment, 5-6
Sponsored by the Adjunct Project and Contingent Representation at CUNY’s Union.
*From COCAL XI, take the B/D at 59th St.–Columbus Circle to 34th St.–Herald Square, then walk one block east along 34th St. to 5th Ave. The Graduate Center is on the northeast corner of 34th St./5th Ave.
Tuesday at 3:40 p.m. I sent an open letter to Barbara Bowen, president of the Professional Staff Congress, CUNY’s union, with the subject line “Open letter re your De Blasio statement & your exclusion of adjuncts and graduate student workers.” I copied the union’s first vice-president, treasurer, vice-president for part-time personnel, and executive director on the email, all people we Adjunct Project coordinators have worked with, or attempted to work with, this academic year. I also copied 11 of the 12 members of the newly reconstituted (and elected) Graduate Center chapter slate, omitting one member because I couldn’t find an email for that person. Finally, I copied two higher education officers (HEOs) at the Graduate Center, one of whom is a cross-campus officer on the executive council of the union, both of whom, working together, put together the Graduate Center slate (with no input solicited from the Adjunct Project).
There . . . → Read More: Day 4–No Response from CUNY Union Pres.
To sign this letter, please visit its new site here and leave a comment with your academic affiliation (if you have one). All are welcome in this effort to hold the union leadership accountable at the largest university by enrollment in the U.S.! Real democracy now!
I write as a union member and CUNY contingent faculty member to express my great dismay at your statement of May 9th praising Mayor De Blasio for his CUNY budget and singling out “full-time faculty and student support staff” as needing “investments” while entirely omitting mention of adjuncts and graduate student workers.
In addition to the questionable negotiating strategy of such mayoral sycophancy—and your bizarre contention that CUNY is the “solution” to “inequality,” when CUNY reproduces, and contributes to, the inequality of New York City at large—I don’t understand how you could ignore the needs of adjuncts and graduate student workers, . . . → Read More: Open Letter to CUNY Union Pres. Barbara Bowen
To sign this call, please visit its new site here and leave a comment with your name and CUNY affiliation(s). Thanks!
What is needed is to take steps that concretely improve the situation of the majority of the instructional staff suffering the effects of the two-tier labor system. The Professional Staff Congress has formally endorsed the national campaign calling for a minimum starting salary of $5000 per three-credit semester course. We hereby call on the PSC leadership to make a formal commitment that the $5K demand will be a bottom-line demand in the current contract negotiations. Any proposed contract that does not include this should be rejected out of hand.
We invite all our fellow union members to sign and help circulate this call.
Makeba Lavan, Graduate Center, CUNY
Erica Chutuape, Hunter College, CUNY
Sándor John, Hunter College, CUNY
Jennifer Chancellor, Graduate Center, CUNY
Sean M. . . . → Read More: $5K Per Course Must Be Bottom-Line Contract Demand