Victory at LIU

photo credit: Miami Gator

By John Ehrenberg

The lockout at LIU is over. The following message was posted by John Ehrenberg, chair of the Political Science department, to the mailing list of the New Political Science Section of the American Political Science Association. John has graciously given us permission to reprint his statement.

—Editors

The students and faculty at Long Island University’s Brooklyn campus have won a clear, unambiguous and historic victory against the forces threatening our livelihoods and our profession. In a brutal act that is without precedent, President Kimberly Cline locked out the faculty in the midst of negotiations for a new contract. She went all in with her nuclear option, and her reckless cruelty ignited a firestorm that buried her. The faculty refused to yield, the students were with us every step of the way, the press was friendly, local politicians supportive, fellow unionists in solidarity. We organized a ferocious counterattack that threatened the University’s accreditation, worked with sympathetic members of the City Council to deny millions of dollars in funding, had the Mayor on the verge of intervening directly and personally, contacted State Ed in Albany who wrote Cline a threatening letter. None of this, as important as it was, would have been possible without the alliance with the students, who boycotted, walked out, protested, petitioned, complained to the Department of Consumer Affairs, confronted, sat in. LIU’s Brooklyn Campus is an urban, working class institution filled with students of color, women, immigrant kids and first-generation college students. They work hard, juggle several balls at the same time, and rose to the occasion with historic acts of rebellion and defiance.

This is a very important victory. The lockout was the first one affecting college and university faculty in the history of the United States. Like it or not, we were in the front lines. This wonderful victory will make University Boards and Presidents think twice about trying this again.

There’s a lesson for all of us: Ronald Reagan is no longer President. This is the United States of Occupy, of Black Lives Matter, of Bernie Sanders, of the Standing Rock Sioux, and a hundred other democratic initiatives that are developing. No matter what happens in the election, the lesson is that courage, resistance, and principle can win in a struggle against a brutal, dishonest enemy.

VICTORY!!!!!

CUNY at the Crossroads: CUNY Struggle’s 2016 Back to School Guide

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As the Fall Semester kicks into high gear, we are happy to announce the release of our back to school guide, entitled “CUNY at the Crossroads: A History of the Mess We’re in and How to Get out of It”.

This guide is meant as an organizing tool with which to engage our students, classmates, colleagues, and friends. Read or download it here!

We have also printed hard copies for distribution on campuses. If you would like a high volume of copies to distribute contact cunystruggleinfo@gmail.com.

The Contract Debate is Dead, Long Live the Contract Debate

The PSC-CUNY contract has been ratified by 94% of 72% of the union’s eligible voters, in a deal Governor Andrew Cuomo called “truly equitable for everyone involved”. While this victory for the status quo saddens us, it comes as no surprise. The PSC leadership did not campaign for a yes vote based on the strengths of the contract. Instead they played on the fear of what would happen were the contract not accepted, and the temptation to simply vote yes and receive a one-time signing bonus and back pay.

Fear mongering mass-emails from the PSC leadership admitted as much, flatly stating that this contract was the best possible deal and that subsequent offers would only be worse. PSC members, many of whom live paycheck to paycheck, were asked to abandon till next time their hopes that the two-tier system would be addressed, and asked instead to calculate the cash the contract would bring them, with a reminder that these funds would only be delivered upon the passage of the contract.

Continue reading “The Contract Debate is Dead, Long Live the Contract Debate”

We Need to Break Some Rules

By Andy Battle

Professional Staff Congress leadership, feeling the heat in the midst of a sustained outbreak of critical thinking on the latest status-quo contract they are trying to slide by the membership, have sent out one of their most reliable adjunct allies, College of Staten Island instructor Michael Batson, who has taken to the pages of Alternet (several weeks after we did) to urge adjuncts to rein in their anger and their strategic imagination and admit, as the leadership does and as CUNY management desperately needs us to do, that There Is No Alternative to the present status quo, whereby the college teaching workforce is composed of a shrinking tier of relatively privileged full-time faculty protected from the worst ravages of the anti-teacher, anti-student agenda of right-wing politicians like New York Governor Andrew Cuomo while they are gradually replaced by a new kind of teacher—the permanently poor, permanently cowed, permanently disposable worker known as the adjunct.

Continue reading “We Need to Break Some Rules”

A Message for CUNY Members: Don’t Take the Money

by Sigmund Shen

This fantastic essay originally appeared in In These Times

I recently attended a memorial service for James Haughton, an alumnus of the City University of New York (CUNY). As founder of a group called Harlem Fight Back, Haughton was a central figure in the fight against racist hiring in the construction industry. One of the eulogists spoke about the first time he joined a Harlem Fight Back “shaping” crew, walking onto a job site to demand work for people of color from the community. The contractor claimed not to be hiring and quickly offered the delegation a payoff of $35,000, in cash, to go away. Shaken, crew members went asking for guidance from Haughton, who said simply, “Don’t. Take. The Money.”

Continue reading “A Message for CUNY Members: Don’t Take the Money”

Faces of the No! Campaign

These are only a few of the countless PSC rank-and-filers who have come out of the woodwork to denounce this rotten contract and the failed strategy it represents. Update: We’ve received and posted two submissions, from Daniel and Rachel, since we originally made this post. Send your own to CUNYStruggleInfo@gmail.com! And follow us on Facebook and Twitter: @cunystruggle

Ruth Wangerin is voting NO!

Andy Battle is voting NO!

Yvonne Groseil supports a vote NO!

Michelle Thompson is voting NO!

Jarrod Shanahan is voting NO!

Alan Trevithick is voting NO!

Rachel Chapman is voting NO!

Daniel Tehrani is voting NO!

PSC President Barbara Bowen Responds to the NO campaign

no_CUNY_pay_cut.jpgIn the midst of a spirited NO campaign, PSC leaders are showing signs of  feeling the heat. President Barbara Bowen took time out from attending the American Federation of Teachers convention in Minneapolis to submit a reply, posted by PSC Secretary Nivedita Majumdar, to Rita Tobin’s compelling Huffington Post piece explaining why she opposes the tentative agreement with CUNY that PSC leaders submitted to the membership on July 11. We reprint below Bowen’s sharp-elbowed but ultimately unconvincing reply, as well as responses to Bowen from several PSC members. Read Tobin’s piece first to get the context and then follow the debate below.

—Editors

Continue reading “PSC President Barbara Bowen Responds to the NO campaign”