Why We’re Running
To challenge the status quo. Since the New Caucus, the union’s main political party, came to power in 2000, the gap between adjunct and full-time pay has widened; class sizes, tuition, and the proportion of adjunct labor have increased; and there have been no meaningful improvements in job security for anyone who doesn’t already have tenure. At the same time, the New Caucus has failed to organize and empower rank-and-file members, democratize the union, or mount a militant fight against CUNY management and New York state. Voting for the CUNY Struggle Caucus this April is a powerful first step in turning the tide of this inaction.
To democratize the union. The CUNY Struggle Caucus is committed to increasing the participation of all members of the union in all union matters. This should be accomplished through the enactment of concrete democratic reforms, such as proportional representation in the governing bodies of the union; an open, transparent, democratically controlled bargaining process; and term limits on principal officers of the union. This also means a withdrawal of funds from the failed strategy of lobbying Democratic politicians in Albany and investing those resources in building the grassroots power of our union.
To prioritize the needs of adjuncts and graduate assistants. The CUNY Struggle Caucus, in coalition with the Adjunct Project and the adjunct committee of the GC chapter, is committed to ending the multi-tier system of faculty labor at CUNY, and we will center adjunct and graduate worker demands in the next contract, including tuition remission and fully funded graduate assistant positions for all GC students and $7,000 minimum per course for adjuncts.
To fight for a broad social-justice-based union and bargaining agenda for the next contract. Unions can and should fight for more than wages and job security. Our contract should include provisions for affordable housing; the protection of immigrant and undocumented students and faculty; stronger mechanisms to address sexual harassment; accountable measures to diversify the faculty across CUNY and the GC student body; and non-cooperation with NYPD, ICE, and other law-enforcement agencies, among other needs. Moreover, our union should actively participate in organizing across a broad range of social-justice and labor issues facing our communities and other NYC unions.
To build a militant movement to transform CUNY. CUNY Struggle came together to support a renewed CUNY movement, and we will continue to push for uniting our workplace efforts with the perennial student-led struggles for free tuition, based on a strategy of direct action, including preparing this semester for a strike by students, faculty, and staff.
Primary Contract Demands
Graduate Center Student Workers/Adjuncts
- A pro-rata salary schedule for all part-time faculty in proportion to the full-time lecturer salary schedules, with a minimum salary of $7,000 per three-credit course.
- Genuine job security in the form of a seniority system based on date of original appointment and the number of credits taught over time.
- Tuition remission and minimum funding of $25,000 per year for all GC students for the duration of their studies.
- Adoption of all suggestions in Recommendation II of the 2015 Graduate Center Diversity Task Force, with accountability mechanisms in place.
- Subsidized housing for all GC students at a maximum cost of 30% of their total annual funding (for example, $625 per month for a student with total funding of $25,000 a year).
- Contractual provisions to preserve the admission and fellowship status of students targeted by changes in immigration law.
- The demands crowdsourced and submitted to the union president by the Adjunct Project for the last contract.
- Contractual provisions to reverse the downward trend in the number of graduate students admitted in each successive cohort of each program.
- Paid pedagogical training for all students in their first year.
- Limits on and standardization of graduate-assistant workloads.
- Contractual provisions for the grievance of all forms of harassment and discrimination.
- Department-by-department labor-management committees to support GC student workers negotiating directly with Executive Officers on departmental issues.
- Adoption of all suggestions in Recommendation I of the 2015 Graduate Center Diversity Task Force, with accountability mechanisms in place.
- Full accessibility to GC facilities for people with mobility issues and visual disabilities to be developed based on the participation of those directly impacted, and fought for by the union at the bargaining table.
- Close consultation with HEOs and other titles to formulate demands and maximize both participation and cross-title solidarity.
Primary Union Reforms
- Proportional representation of adjuncts, full-time faculty, HEOs, graduate assistants, and other titles on the PSC Executive Council, Delegate Assembly, chapter executive committees, and bargaining team.
- A transparent, democratically controlled contract-bargaining process with bargaining sessions open to all.
- A two-term limit for the PSC president and all principal officers, and a reduction of the total salary of the PSC president to the mean salary of the bargaining unit, with any extra income donated to the PSC.
- All union elections and votes conducted electronically to ensure maximum democratic participation.
- An end to the four-month window between when a member joins the union and can vote, and an end to the one-year window between joining and running for office
- A shift in funds and strategy from electoral politics and legislative lobbying to a strategy of grassroots organizing and developing member power that includes release time for rank-and-file organizers, more paid full-time organizers, more member education and outreach from the union about the political situation at CUNY, and an overall more substantial presence on CUNY campuses.
For more info on CUNY Struggle and our campaign, go here: https://cunystruggle.org/category/slate/