Author: Sean Kennedy (Page 2 of 3)

First-year student in the PhD program in English.

National Adjunct Walkout Day (#NAWD) at the GC!

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:

CUNYAdjunctProject NAWD flyer

Hope to see you!

Resolution for $7K Adjunct Salary Per Course Passes DSC Unanimously!

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 salary for CUNY adjuncts for a three-credit course is approximately $2,700, and the average is about $3,000;

WHEREAS the Modern Language Association, as a general example, recommends a minimum starting salary of $7,000 per three-credit course for adjuncts;

WHEREAS the National Mobilization for Equity campaign this year called for a minimum starting salary of $5,000 per three-credit course for adjuncts;

WHEREAS the CUNY Adjunct Project and CUNY Contingents Unite jointly called for a minimum starting salary of $5,000 per three-credit course;

WHEREAS the above call garnered more than 800 signatures from CUNY faculty, graduate assistants, and staff;

WHEREAS the American Federation of Teachers, the parent union of the PSC, and the PSC itself have both passed resolutions in support of the May Day $5K campaign to fight for a minimum starting salary of $5,000 per three-credit course;

WHEREAS the Coalition of Contingent Academic Labor (COCAL) conference this summer endorsed a minimum starting salary of $7,000;

Whereas the PSC’s current contract demands do not include a minimum salary of $7,000 or $5,000 for adjuncts, nor do the demands include any concrete measures that would significantly move adjunct salaries toward parity with full-time faculty;

WHEREAS a minimum starting salary of $7,000—$42,000 for a 3/3 course load—would significantly close the salary gap between adjunct faculty and full-time faculty;

WHEREAS a significant number of Graduate Center (GC) students adjunct to help subsidize their graduate studies and living expenses, whether solely or in addition to graduate assistantships, especially those students who entered the GC prior to 2013;

WHEREAS this increase in adjunct salaries will substantially help those students;

WHEREAS increasing adjunct salaries would inhibit CUNY from relying on adjuncts as cheap labor;

WHEREAS the PSC leadership has not responded to the call for $5,000 or $7,000 issued by the CUNY Adjunct Project, CUNY Contingents Unite, and COCAL respectively;

WHEREAS contract bargaining between the PSC and CUNY is ongoing;

Be it RESOLVED that the Doctoral Students’ Council calls on the PSC to include a demand for a $7,000 minimum starting salary per three-credit course for CUNY adjuncts in current and ongoing contract bargaining;

And be it further RESOLVED that CUNY bargain this demand in good faith, since higher, more equitable salaries for CUNY adjunct faculty benefit all, especially CUNY undergraduate students, whose learning conditions are their faculty’s working conditions.

#altCOCAL: A Debriefing & Discussion of COCAL XI

#altCOCAL flyer jpgCOCAL 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.

 

Contingent Representation and $5K Contract Demand

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.

Day 4–No Response from CUNY Union Pres.

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 were two responses from these 18 people by 3:30 p.m. today, one yesterday from Andrea A. Vazquez, the aforementioned cross-campus officer (you can see her response, and my reply on behalf of the letter signers, here), and one today from Marcia Newfield, the vice-president for part-time personnel (you can see here response, and my reply on behalf of the letter signers, here).

Also, a member of the Graduate Center chapter slate, who was not one of the recipients of the letter because I couldn’t find her email address), has signed the letter.

I am now sending the letter again to the aforementioned recipients, plus the Graduate Center chapter slate member who signed the letter (as I now have her email address), along with the names and affiliations of the 132 signers.

The union leaders and chapter leaders are supposed to represent us. It’s not the other way around.

To sign the letter, leave a comment here (with your affiliation) or email me at kennedy [dot] sean [at] gmail [dot] com.

There are now 132 of us.

Open Letter to CUNY Union Pres. Barbara Bowen

Adjunct Project logo

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!

Dear Barbara—

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, who teach the vast majority of classes at CUNY and are the majority of union members and agency-fee payers. Furthermore, I don’t understand how full-time faculty need “investments” more than adjuncts and graduate student workers, who make a pittance compared to full-time faculty, work under worse conditions, and lack job security. What kind of message does this send at negotiating time?

Indeed, it seems to me that any “investments” in faculty the union wins from the city should go to adjuncts and graduate student workers and not to full-time faculty, given the extreme inequality between contingent faculty and full-time—inequality that has occurred in large part because of the priority full-time faculty have received by union leadership since the beginning of the Professional Staff Congress and which, quite evidently, continues under your leadership.

I wish I could say your out-of-touch statement is an aberration, but unfortunately it conforms to the sense so many of us adjuncts and graduate student workers at CUNY have about the union’s neglect of us and our issues. It’s certainly been clear to me in my tenure this academic year as an Adjunct Project coordinator, in which you and your leadership team have either ignored or outright stymied our efforts for greater union representation of adjuncts and graduate student workers and our issues.

Union leadership has been unable to respond to or move forward our simple request from December that adjuncts and graduate student workers have a choice of which chapter to affiliate with; our demands for the bargaining agenda were sat on by you, also since December, until a meeting with my colleagues on April 10th, and we’ve received no follow-up from you, including on your promise to include adjuncts and graduate student workers in the bargaining meetings; and our newly reconstituted Graduate Center chapter—an initiative the Adjunct Project proposed at its October 2013 organizing meeting—contains only two student workers on its slate of 12.

Meanwhile, the UFT deal, which will set a precedent for the rest of the city’s bargaining units, including our own, has been heavily critiqued by the Movement for Rank and File Educators caucus, which is waging a struggle against an entrenched, monopolistic party much like the New Caucus, which commands every (or nearly every) chapter of the PSC. At the moment, I feel more allegiance to MORE than I do to our union, given your De Blasio statement and inaction on the above issues.

I am hoping you will find this letter jarring enough to immediately redress these issues, at least the ones you have full control over: namely, the addition of our demands to the bargaining agenda, the inclusion of adjuncts and graduate student workers in the bargaining meetings, and the change in chapter-affiliation policy.

Furthermore, to enable the participation of CUNY adjuncts and graduate student workers in this summer’s COCAL conference, which is being organized by the PSC and taking place at CUNY’s John Jay College, I ask that the union cover the $250 registration fee for 30 adjuncts and graduate student workers at CUNY.

I look forward to your response, Barbara. If you don’t respond, however, I will not write again, as it shouldn’t be my job to convince you of the merits, ethics, and fairness of genuine union democracy and the concomitant representation of adjuncts and graduate student workers and our needs.

Very sincerely,

Sean M. Kennedy, Graduate Center, CUNY

Elizabeth Sibilia, Graduate Center, CUNY

Wendy Tronrud, Graduate Center, CUNY

Dadland Maye, Graduate Center, CUNY

Öykü Tekten, Graduate Center, CUNY

Erica Kaufman, Institute for Writing & Thinking, Bard College

R. Josh Scannell, Graduate Center, CUNY

Preeti Sampat, Graduate Center, CUNY

Peter Matt, Brooklyn College, CUNY

Margaret Hanzimanolis, City College of San Francisco, De Anza College, Cañada College, California Part-Time Faculty Association

Debangshu Roychoudhury, Graduate Center, CUNY

Jack Longmate, Olympic College

Monique Whitaker, Hunter College, CUNY

Anna Spiro, retired CUNY adjunct

Rafael A. Mutis, Hostos Community College and Graduate Center, CUNY

Jennifer Prince, Graduate Center, CUNY

Esther Bernstein, Graduate Center, CUNY

Héctor Agredano, City College, Bronx Community College, and Graduate Center, CUNY

Collette Sosnowy, JustPublics@365, Graduate Center, CUNY

Megan Paslawski, Graduate Center, CUNY

Kristen Hackett, Graduate Center, CUNY

Fang Xu, Lehman College and Graduate Center, CUNY

Christina Nadler, Graduate Center, CUNY

Kristin Moriah, Graduate Center, CUNY

James Anthony Phillips, Kingsborough Community College, CUNY

Ana M. Fores Tamayo, Adjunct Justice

Tristan K. Husby, City College and Graduate Center, CUNY

Erin Michaels, Graduate Center, CUNY

Cameron Pearson, Queens College, CUNY

David Tillyer, City College, CUNY

Amy Martin, Graduate Center, CUNY

Colin P. Ashley, Doctoral Students’ Council Co-Chair for Business, Graduate Center, CUNY

Ian Foster, Graduate Center, CUNY

Derrick Gentry, alumnus, Graduate Center, CUNY

Melissa Phruksachart, Graduate Center, CUNY

Maureen E. Fadem, Kingsborough Community College, CUNY

Alec Magnet, Graduate Center, CUNY

Erin M. Andersen, Graduate Center, CUNY

Ashna Ali, Graduate Center, CUNY

Jerry Levinsky, Member UALE, COCAL Coalition of Contingent Academic Labor

Michael A. Rumore, Graduate Center, CUNY

Makeba Lavan, Graduate Center, CUNY

Conor Tomás Reed, Medgar Evers College and Graduate Center, CUNY; Free University-NYC

Kathryn Moss, Graduate Center, CUNY

David Spataro, Graduate Center, CUNY

Kenneth H. Ryesky, Queens College, CUNY

Betsy Smith, Cape Cod Community College; member of MCCC, MTA, and NEA

Isabel Cuervo, alumna, Graduate Center, CUNY

Jennifer Chancellor, Graduate Center, CUNY

Luke Elliott, Graduate Center, CUNY

CUNY Adjunct Project

Alan Trevithick, La Guardia Community College, CUNY

Ann Kottner, York College, CUNY

Vanessa Vaile, Precarious Faculty Network

Mary Carroll, Lehman College, CUNY

Linda Neiberg, Baruch College, CUNY

Brian Unger, Graduate Center, CUNY

Ian Green, Graduate Center, CUNY

Eric Lott, Graduate Center, CUNY

John Sorrentino, John Jay College, CUNY

Hulya Sakarya, Mercy College

Allison E. Brown, Graduate Center, CUNY

Rayya El Zein, Medgar Evers College and Graduate Center, CUNY

Melissa K. Marturano, Brooklyn College and Graduate Center, CUNY

Ross Borden, SUNY–Cortland

Frank Reiser, Nassau Community College

Dominique Nisperos, Graduate Center, CUNY

Amanda Matles, Graduate Center, CUNY

Lavelle Porter, City Tech and Graduate Center, CUNY

Lauren Tenley, College of Staten Island and alumna, Graduate Center, CUNY

Mary N. Taylor, Graduate Center, CUNY

Edwin Mayorga, Graduate Center, CUNY

Charlotte Thurston, Graduate Center, CUNY

Robin Hizme, Queens College, CUNY

Sue Clark-Wittenberg, Director, International Campaign to Ban Electroshock

Wilson Sherwin, Brooklyn College and Graduate Center, CUNY

James D. Hoff, Borough of Manhattan Community College, CUNY

Mark Drury, Graduate Center, CUNY

Anton Borst, Hunter College, Graduate Center, CUNY

Jason Schulman, Lehman College, CUNY

Wilma Borelli, Lehman College, CUNY

Daniel Nieves, City College and Lehman College, CUNY

Elizabeth Bidwell Goetz, Hunter College and Graduate Center, CUNY

Maria L. Plochocki, Baruch and College Now, CUNY

Sara Jane Stoner, Graduate Center, CUNY

Anna Gjika, Graduate Center, CUNY

Alicia Andrzejewski, Graduate Center, CUNY

Paul Hebert, Queens College and Graduate Center, CUNY

Patrick Reilly, Baruch College and Graduate Center, CUNY

Kara Van Cleaf, Graduate Center, CUNY

Harry T. Cason, College of Staten Island, CUNY

Kylah Torre, Graduate Center, CUNY

Kate O’Donoghue, Queens College, CUNY

Keith Hoeller, editor, Equality for Contingent Faculty; co-founder, Washington Part-Time Faculty Association

Karen Gregory, City College and Center for Worker Education, CUNY

Michael Friedman, Queens College, CUNY

Heather Heim, Lehman College, CUNY

Marnie Weigle, San Diego City College

Austin Bailey, Hunter College, CUNY

Leigh Somerville, Queens College, CUNY

Lindsey Freer, Macaulay Honors College and Graduate Center, CUNY

Lydia Pelot-Hobbs, Graduate Center, CUNY

Nathaniel Sheets, CUNY Graduate Center, Hunter College

Brianne Bolin, Columbia College Chicago

Sean Collins, trustee, Troy Area Labor Council

Meyer A. Rothberg, alumnus (1958), City College, CUNY

John Martin, chair, California Part-time Faculty Association

Jonathan R. Davis, Hunter College and Graduate Center, CUNY

Marga Ryersbach, Queensborough Community College, CUNY

Andrew Akinmoladun, Bronx Community College, CUNY

Thomas Smith, Borough of Manhattan Community College, CUNY

Tyler T. Schmidt, Lehman College, CUNY

Sarah Davis, Hunter College and Graduate Center, CUNY

Reid Friedson, Adjunct Faculty Union

Emily Nell, Graduate Center, CUNY

Jack Henning

Vakhtang Gomelauri, Global Center for Advanced Studies

Brenden Beck, Hunter College and Graduate Center, CUNY

Brandon Kreitler, Borough of Manhattan Community College, CUNY

Alex Kudera, author, Fight for Your Long Day, Clemson University

Aysenur Ataman, College of Staten Island and Graduate Center, CUNY

Anthony Galluzzo, Queens College, CUNY

Jenna Gibbs, Florida International University

Ryan Daley, former NYCCT adjunct; Red Hook Initiative

David Parsons, Baruch College

Rebecca Schuman, all-purpose higher-ed loudmouth

Daniel Levine, alumnus (2013), Baruch College; writer

Stanley W. Rogouski

Kelly Eckenrode, Lehman College and Graduate Center, CUNY

Danny Sanchez, Queens College, CUNY; member, Revolutionary Student Coordinating Committee

Michelle Chen, Graduate Center, CUNY

Carol Lipton

Michael Pollak

Aaron Botwick, Graduate Center, CUNY

Naja Berg Hougaard, Graduate Center, CUNY

Gerhard Joseph, Lehman College, CUNY

Catherine Liu, alumna, Graduate Center, CUNY; University of California–Irvine

Emma Myers, Borough of Manhattan Community College and City Tech, CUNY

Marimer Berberena, Hostos Community College and Graduate Center, CUNY

Seth Sanders, Trinity College

Evgeniya Koroleva, Graduate Center, CUNY

Johannes Burgers, Queensborough Community College, CUNY

Angelina Tallaj-Garcia, Graduate Center, CUNY

Alexander Chee

Sansanee Sermprungsuk

$5K Per Course Must Be Bottom-Line Contract Demand

Adjunct Project logo

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.

Signed by:

Makeba Lavan, Graduate Center, CUNY

Erica Chutuape, Hunter College, CUNY

Sándor John, Hunter College, CUNY

Jennifer Chancellor, Graduate Center, CUNY

Sean M. Kennedy, Graduate Center, CUNY

Luke Elliott, Graduate Center, CUNY

Cindy Gorn, CUNY

James D. Hoff, Borough of Manhattan Community College, CUNY

Elizabeth Bidwell Goetz, Hunter College and Graduate Center, CUNY

Rafael A. Mutis​, Hostos Community College and Graduate Center, CUNY

Velina Manolova, Graduate Center, CUNY

Elizabeth Sibilia, Graduate Center, CUNY

Wendy Tronrud, Graduate Center, CUNY

Dadland Maye, Graduate Center, CUNY

Öykü Tekten, Graduate Center, CUNY

R. Josh Scannell, Graduate Center, CUNY

Preeti Sampat, Graduate Center, CUNY

Peter Matt, Brooklyn College, CUNY

Debangshu Roychoudhury, Graduate Center, CUNY

Monique Whitaker, Hunter College, CUNY

Jennifer Prince, Graduate Center, CUNY

Esther Bernstein, Graduate Center, CUNY

Héctor Agredano, City College, Bronx Community College, and Graduate Center, CUNY

Collette Sosnowy, JustPublics@365, Graduate Center, CUNY

Megan Paslawski, Graduate Center, CUNY

Kristen Hackett, Graduate Center, CUNY

Fang Xu, Lehman College and Graduate Center, CUNY

Christina Nadler, Graduate Center, CUNY

Kristin Moriah, Graduate Center, CUNY

James Anthony Phillips, Kingsborough Community College, CUNY

Tristan K. Husby, City College and Graduate Center, CUNY

Erin Michaels, Graduate Center, CUNY

Cameron Pearson, Queens College, CUNY

David Tillyer, City College, CUNY

Amy Martin, Graduate Center, CUNY

Colin P. Ashley, Doctoral Students’ Council Co-Chair for Business, Graduate Center, CUNY

Ian Foster, Graduate Center, CUNY

Melissa Phruksachart, Graduate Center, CUNY

Maureen E. Fadem, Kingsborough Community College, CUNY

Alec Magnet, Graduate Center, CUNY

Erin M. Andersen, Graduate Center, CUNY

Ashna Ali, Graduate Center, CUNY

Michael A. Rumore, Graduate Center, CUNY

Conor Tomás Reed, Medgar Evers College and Graduate Center, CUNY; Free University-NYC

Kathryn Moss, Graduate Center, CUNY

David Spataro, Graduate Center, CUNY

Kenneth H. Ryesky, Queens College, CUNY

Alan Trevithick, La Guardia Community College, CUNY

Ann Kottner, York College, CUNY

Mary Carroll, Lehman College, CUNY

Linda Neiberg, Baruch College, CUNY

Brian Unger, Graduate Center, CUNY

Ian Green, Graduate Center, CUNY

Eric Lott, Graduate Center, CUNY

John Sorrentino, John Jay College, CUNY

Allison E. Brown, Graduate Center, CUNY

Rayya El Zein, Medgar Evers College and Graduate Center, CUNY

Melissa K. Marturano, Brooklyn College and Graduate Center, CUNY

Dominique Nisperos, Graduate Center, CUNY

Amanda Matles, Graduate Center, CUNY

Lavelle Porter, City Tech and  Graduate Center, CUNY

Lauren Tenley, College of Staten Island, CUNY

Mary N. Taylor, Graduate Center, CUNY

Edwin Mayorga, Graduate Center, CUNY

Charlotte Thurston, Graduate Center, CUNY

Robin Hizme, Queens College, CUNY

Wilson Sherwin, Brooklyn College and Graduate Center, CUNY

Mark Drury, Graduate Center, CUNY

Anton Borst, Hunter College, Graduate Center, CUNY

Jason Schulman, Lehman College, CUNY

Wilma Borrelli, Lehman College, CUNY

Daniel Nieves, City College and Lehman College, CUNY

Maria L. Plochocki, Baruch and College Now, CUNY

Sara Jane Stoner, Graduate Center, CUNY

Anna Gjika, Graduate Center, CUNY

Alicia Andrzejewski, Graduate Center, CUNY

Paul Hebert, Queens College and Graduate Center, CUNY

Patrick Reilly, Baruch College and Graduate Center, CUNY

Kara Van Cleaf, Graduate Center, CUNY

Harry T. Cason, College of Staten Island, CUNY

Kylah Torre, Graduate Center, CUNY

Kate O’Donoghue, Queens College, CUNY

Karen Gregory, City College and Center for Worker Education, CUNY

Michael Friedman, Queens College, CUNY

Heather Heim, Lehman College, CUNY

Austin Bailey, Hunter College, CUNY

Leigh Somerville, Queens College, CUNY

Lindsey Freer, Macaulay Honors College and Graduate Center, CUNY

Lydia Pelot-Hobbs, Graduate Center, CUNY

Nathaniel Sheets,  Hunter College and Graduate Center, CUNY

Jonathan R. Davis, Hunter College and Graduate Center, CUNY

Marga Ryersbach, Queensborough Community College, CUNY

Andrew Akinmoladun, Bronx Community College, CUNY

Thomas Smith, Borough of Manhattan Community College, CUNY

Tyler T. Schmidt, Lehman College, CUNY

Sarah Davis, Hunter College and Graduate Center, CUNY

Emily Nell, Graduate Center, CUNY

Brenden Beck, Hunter College and Graduate Center, CUNY

Brandon Kreitler, Borough of Manhattan Community College, CUNY

Aysenur Ataman, College of Staten Island and Graduate Center, CUNY

Anthony Galluzzo, Queens College, CUNY

David Parsons, Baruch College, CUNY

Kelly Eckenrode, Lehman College and Graduate Center, CUNY

Danny Sanchez, Queens College, CUNY

Michelle Chen, Graduate Center, CUNY

Jennifer Hayashida, Hunter College, CUNY

Hayley Figueroa, Brooklyn College,  CUNY

Arto Artinian, Borough of Manhattan Community College, CUNY

Rebecca Fullan, Graduate Center, CUNY

Aaron Botwick, Graduate Center, CUNY

Gerhard Joseph, Lehman College, CUNY

A.W. Strouse, Hunter College and Graduate Center, CUNY

Casandra Murray, Hunter College, CUNY

Luis H. Francia, Hunter College, CUNY

Noé Dinnerstein, John Jay College, CUNY

Douglas A. Medina, Baruch College and Graduate Center, CUNY

Peter Ranis, Graduate Center, CUNY

Jacquelyn Libby, Baruch College and Graduate Center, CUNY

Saadia Toor, College of Staten Island, CUNY

Howard Pflanzer, Bronx Community College, CUNY

Yvonne Groseil, Hunter College, CUNY

Union VP for Part-Time Personnel Responds; Our Reply

Yesterday at 6:32 p.m., the CUNY union’s vice-president for part-time personnel, Marcia Newfield, responded to the 121 of us (and counting–read and sign the letter here!) calling for the union to represent adjuncts and graduate student workers. She sent her response to a group of organizers of the COCAL conference this August, of which the Adjunct Project coordinators are a part.

My response to Marcia, on behalf of the 121 of us, follows her statement.

It’s day for since we sent the letter to the union president, Barbara Bowen, and she still hasn’t responded.

Dear Colleagues,

I encourage you not to sign it. Not only is [the] letter full of untruthful statements, but it is unfairly critical of Barbara’s efforts to support a fight for increased funding for CUNY. The PSC’s proposal for increased investment in CUNY as delivered to the City Council by Bowen on May 7th, specifies that “a substantial number of the new positions be designated for existing part-time faculty.” The 5,000K campaign came after the contract demands were ratified by the DA. Right now, I am too busy handling adjunct grievances and trying to help in the fasting adjunct’s plight to go into a point-by- point refutation. I understand the frustration that all underpaid workers feel since I am one, but in order to productively engage in a dialogue I think we need to come from a place of trust.

Marcia

Thank you for this response, Marcia.

There are now 121 of us from across CUNY and the U.S. calling for representation of adjuncts and graduate student workers at the Professional Staff Congress. Join us:

http://bit.ly/RWbXaa

One of the asks in the letter is that the union cover the registration costs of 30 CUNY adjuncts and graduate student workers to attend COCAL.

It’s been four days since Barbara first received the letter and she has yet to respond.

Rank-and-file union democracy now!

Statement by Long-Term CUNY Adjunct Re Open Letter

As a long-term adjunct at the College of Staten Island, I too am aware of the needs of adjuncts and graduate assistants.

While I would have written [the open] letter with a few different words, I agree with the sentiment.

I too have written about the union’s lack of democratic qualities, and for sometime now.

Specifically, an organized click runs the union and they demonstrate a total lack of imagination in how democracy can empower virtually the entire community.

For example, the executive committee runs our union, not the designated power of our union, the Delegate Assembly. In other words, they worship centralized power.

Consequently, the union leadership operates under the same principles as the right-wingers: they believe that power is all that matters; ethics and right/wrong are for thinkers, not doers.

The PSC union leadership is truly out of touch when the President of the union can say that the problem of inequality can be addressed (in NYC) at CUNY, or more broadly (in the U.S.) through the U.S. university system. Both are a good place to start, but radically more would be needed in either case.

However, this matter is symptomatic of a much larger problem.

The PSC leadership, as you know, claims or intimates that it is on the left of the political spectrum. But unfortunately, our union leadership does as the left so often assumes: we must mimic the right in order to win.

Accordingly, the strategy is not to bring all of us in the union together, but typically to divide and conquer, while throwing a few bones to the crowds (formally known as tokenism in Political Science). Andrea mentioned the bones.

Unfortunately, the PSC’s leadership demonstrates once more (as in countless other cases) the failure of the left to live up to its ideals. I understand that this is not a simple matter, but it needed to be said nevertheless.

Finally, stressing $5K per course really does not get to the heart of the matter. Job security does.

Harry T. Cason,

Adjunct, College of Staten Island, CUNY

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