Over the past several weeks, The Adjunct Project circulated a survey regarding three demands for contract negotiations slated to resume between the Professional Staff Congress and the City once Bill de Blasio takes office as Mayor in 2014. These demands were written in response to issues that have repeatedly been raised by Graduate Center students and include parental and medical leave, penalties for colleges who fail to pay their employees on time, and benefit transfers for those transitioning from Graduate Assistant to Adjunct titles. The three proposed demands were overwhelming approved by the hundreds of students who responded to the poll, and based on respondents’ comments, a fourth demand was added to remove restrictions on the number of credits an Adjunct may work in a semester.
The revised demands were submitted December 11 to PSC President Barbara Bowen, in hopes that they will be adopted by the union. We will provide an update once we receive a response.
On December 10 at 4 pm, members of The Adjunct Project met with representatives from the Graduate Center’s Offices of the Provost, Human Resources, Payroll, and Student Affairs to brainstorm and discuss ways to implement measures that could ensure on-time payment of Graduate Assistants and Adjuncts throughout CUNY and mitigate the impact of late pay in situations where it is unavoidable, as in the case of a late hire. The meeting was chaired by Louise Lennihan and yielded a number of valuable insights and suggestions. What follows is a brief summary of the group’s findings and actions to be taken.
Within the GC:
- Interim Provost Lennihan is going to request more money (amount to be determined) from the CUNY Foundation board to provide more full advances for those who are to be paid late via Financial Aid, and that the advances would be provided regardless of reason–i.e., even in cases where students failed to accept their awards in a timely fashion, etc.
- The payroll office is willing to issue larger advances (70% instead of 60%) for those who are to be paid late via payroll; they stated that though 100% net pay advances are not possible because payroll cannot accurately calculate taxes, health insurance premiums, and union dues prior to the actual check being issued (meaning that if they got it wrong, students could wind up having to repay more than one check), 70% of gross would roughly approximate 100% of net.
- It recently came to our attention that community college adjuncts who are paid late through the GC are not receiving late pay in a lump sum as they have in the past, but rather, the money owed is being divided into equal parts and distributed in each subsequent check, meaning that the person is not “made whole” until the end of the semester. The representative from payroll was unsure whether this was an internal decision or an external directive but is going to find out and attempt to rectify the situation.
- The Provost’s Office is going to request that several of the meeting’s attendees, including representatives of The Adjunct Project, get “invited” to meetings of HR staff from other CUNY colleges at the Central Office in early 2014. The goal would be to impress upon them the urgency of submitting Adjunct paperwork on time and work with them to identify and prevent potential hindrances to doing so. We will also discuss with them the importance of GC students using the title Doctoral Student Adjunct, particularly in the case of community college adjuncts, who need to be identified so that they can be transferred to the GC payroll.
We will continue to provide updates on these measures as they develop. Thanks again to all of those who have participated in the effort to end late pay!
Take Back CUNY!
Join students, faculty, staff, and community in a strategic dialogue to resist:
- militarization of CUNY with Petraeus, ROTC, research, and recruitment
- theft of student & community spaces
- turning colleges into corporations
- repression of activism and dissent
- labor exploitation
Friday, November 15th, 4pm-7pm
CUNY Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue at 34th St. Room C201/C202 (basement level) light refreshments
co-sponsored by Free University – NYC, PSC-CUNY International Committee and union members, New
York Students Rising, Students for Educational Rights, the Adjunct Project, RSCC, Ya-Ya Network.
Contact FreeUniversityNYC@gmail.com for more info.
In Memory of Jean Anyon, 1941 – 2013, Scholar of Radical Possibilities
On Wednesday, October 30 at 4 pm, a delegation of Graduate Center students, including members of the The Adjunct Project and The Doctoral Students’ Council, met with Interim President Chase Robinson during his office hours to discuss the problems of late and missing pay that have plagued the CUNY system for years. The goals of the delegation were to bring the scope and severity of the problem to the President’s attention, request swift action on behalf of student workers who are missing pay for services rendered during the Fall 2013 semester, and devise a solution to ensure that student workers and all contingent academic laborers are paid on time every semester.
The delegation first presented President Robinson with three polls taken by The Adjunct Project regarding late pay: one for Graduate Assistants, one for students working in Adjunct titles who are paid directly by the CUNY colleges where they teach, . . . → Read More: Meeting with the President on Late Pay
Campus Equity Week is a nationwide event to raise awareness of the inequitable state of academic labor, as well as related issues, such as the student debt crisis and the corporatization of the university.
This week, please consider teaching one of our lesson plans or assigning an article about adjuncting to your students. Also, pick up a button bearing one of the two logos shown here from your program lounge, the office of the Doctoral Students’ Council (room 5495), or our office door (room 5498) at the Graduate Center. When your students ask what the scarlet “A” stands for, tell them what it means to be an adjunct. The article about Margaret Mary Vojtko, “Death of an Adjunct,” can be found here.
As part of our efforts, we are also assembling a delegation to speak to Interim President Robinson about late pay during his office hours on Wed., Oct. 30, . . . → Read More: Campus Equity Week, Oct. 28-Nov. 2
Please join us for our first event of the semester when we welcome Stephanie Luce, associate professor of labor studies at CUNY’s Murphy Institute for Worker Education and Labor Studies, on Thursday, September 12th, 5 p.m., in 5409 of the CUNY Graduate Center. Luce (pictured), a sociologist by training, researches living-wage movements—she’ll be speaking on that topic as well as on her experiences in adjunct and higher-ed organizing. She’s the author of Fighting for a Living Wage (ILR Press, 2004), a critical history of various living-wage campaigns across the U.S., and the co-author of A Measure of Fairness: The Economics of Living Wages and Minimum Wages in the United States (ILR Press, 2008) and The Living Wage: Building a Fair Economy (The New Press, 1998). The talk will be followed by a Q&A/discussion and reception.
. . . → Read More: Stephanie Luce on Living-Wage and Adjunct Organizing
As the new co-coordinators of the CUNY Adjunct Project, we’d like to offer a few remarks on our appointments and the state of the AP.
First, we’d like to express how honored we are to serve an organization that has worked committedly on behalf of graduate employees and all contingent academic workers over the last many years.
Second, we acknowledge the regrettable circumstances of the former coordinators’ departure, and we recognize that they’ve given rise to some concern, confusion, and other feelings about the Adjunct Project and its relationship to the Doctoral Students Council, especially on the part of many who have been active in the AP. We understand that the DSC will be re-evaluating its protocols for oversight of the AP and other affiliates this year, and we hope to contribute to improving these processes with the benefit of hindsight. We also hope to build on the organizing track . . . → Read More: An Update From the New Coordinators
Hey folks! If you have questions about how to use your NYSHIP health insurance, please come to this informal, student-run workshop. And if you’re interested in sharing anecdotes about your own experience dealing with NYSHIP, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or just come to the workshop.
NYSHIP Student-Led Workshop Tuesday, April 16th, 4:00-5:00 PM, Room 5409, CUNY Graduate Center Qualifying for and Retaining Enrollment in NYSHIP Status of Free Contraception Through the Affordable Care Act Basic Fact and Contact Sheet Student-Recommended In-Network Providers Billing, Benefits, and Copays Common Problems/Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them Food and drinks will be served. Please register here. This Workshop is co-organized by the Adjunct Project and the CUNY Health and Wellness Committee. Please contact email@example.com with any questions. ALSO: The student Health and Wellness Festival offering free health services will be held on Monday, April 15th on the C level of the Grad Center. . . . → Read More: NYSHIP Student-Led Workshop: Tues 4/16 @ 4pm!!!
You Wanna Restructure What?!?!
by Zoltán Glück, Conor Tomás Reed, and Alyson Spurgas
What is the Graduate Center’s “Restructuring Plan” that you’ve been hearing so much about recently? Beginning in the fall of 2012, the GC’s administration began to publicize a plan to implement a new funding and admissions scheme for incoming students. According to the GC’s website, “starting in Fall 2013 the Graduate Center will make new five-year recruitment fellowships and awards to a high percentage of the students admitted to the doctoral programs in the Humanities, Social Sciences, and Sciences. The individual doctoral programs in these disciplines will award two hundred new Graduate Center Fellowships (GCFs) and approximately one hundred new five-year Tuition Fellowships. Students in Computer Science, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Psychology, and Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences are also eligible for five-year Science Fellowships.”
Sounds pretty good, right? In short, the GC administration will grant many (but, importantly, not . . . → Read More: You Wanna Restructure What?!?!