BMCC Endorses 7K or Strike!

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Another PSC chapter has thrown its weight behind a strike for $7K! As Hunter College voted on its successful 7K or Strike! resolution, a similar resolution was on the floor at Borough of Manhattan Community College. The room was packed to capacity and the energy was palpable. Chair Geoffry Kurtz remarked on the rarity of debating and passing such a resolution at the chapter meeting level. Members across titles, including multiple tenured faculty, spoke about the importance of supporting $7K, not just as a moral issue, but also as a strategic one: adjunct precarity, after all, is simply the principle means of imposing austerity on the entire university system. When adjuncts lose in the short term, everybody loses in the end.

The Executive Committee at BMCC had prepared a resolution, inspired by the initiatives at the Graduate Center and Bronx Community College, calling for $7K to be won by “large-scale collective actions, up to and including some form of job action or strike if and when such an action would unite PSC members and help the PSC win $7K.” Now, we at CUNY Struggle have earned something of a reputation for intransigence bordering on impracticality. But we were happy to support this resolution in the spirit of compromise  without which a strike would be impossible. When the resolution hit the floor, however, the rank-and-file had other ideas. Multiple members unconnected to CUNY Struggle spoke up to say they were not satisfied with its indirect “waffling.” There was broad support for an amendment to state a clear commitment to striking for $7K. Therefore a motion was called and passed overwhelmingly in support of “large-scale collective actions, up to and including some form of job action or strike.” Period.

Today BMCC took a stand for CUNY’s future. Which campus is next?

7K or Strike!

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5 thoughts on “BMCC Endorses 7K or Strike!”

  1. The PSC Constitution Article IX (sections 1 to 8) establishes the framework for the procedures to be followed in chapter meetings. According to section 1, the members of the chapter who have then right to vote (assuming that there is quorum of at least 10% of the chapter members in good standing) are full-time faculty, adjunct faculty and graduate assistants who don’t belong to other chapters. HEOs, CLTs and other constituencies (like retirees) have their own chapters and they should vote in their chapters. I don’t know if constitutional procedures have been followed in the very “hybrid” meetings that passed the so-called 7K or strike resolution at BMCC and Bronx Community College. What I have heard is that everybody present in those meetings was/were allowed to vote and that may be a potential violation of Article IX. Anyway, at Hostos, we are facing the same situation and there is not consensus or “unity” at this point. I am strongly opposing that controversial resolution and I am extremely vigilant that we follow what is stated in Article IX. And let’s be crystal clear, we can support the 7K demand without endorsing the “risky” idea of a strike that at this point, the vast majority of the full-time would not support.

    Felipe Pimentel, Hostos Community College DA & EC chapter member

  2. One last item. The original resolution, titled “Resolution on $7K or Strike,” which was narrowly voted down in the EC last semester, now has more than 40 signatures of BMCC HEOs, PT, and FT faculty, all collected within the last two weeks. That’s almost as many members as were present in the chapter meeting. The final lines of that resolution read: “Therefore be it resolved that the undersigned members of the Professional Staff Congress affirm their support for all tactics, up to and including a strike, necessary to win $7K. Be it further resolved that the undersigned support bringing this resolution to the October or November meeting of the BMCC Chapter for discussion and vote.” Again, the demand clearly resonates with the rank and file and the leadership bodies need to get out of the way and provide those members with the tools and the space to organize a fighting contract struggle.

  3. Just to clarify,

    The present members of the BMCC chapter not only overwhelmingly supported the resolution, they moved to amend it, under pressing procedural time limits, in order to strengthen the language around the strike question. This amendment passed almost unanimously and the chapter chair Geoffrey Kurtz was the only person to speak against it. If there had been more time to craft the amendment, it would no doubt have even more strongly supported the strike measure as a way of winning the $7K demand. Indeed, several members spoke directly to the need to build toward the “credible threat of a strike,” and the spirit of the meeting was very much in favor of doing absolutely everything we can to win this demand including a strike if needed. The takeaway here is clear, whether its brought forward by the EC or directly from the members, the demand of “$7K or strike” resonates with the rank and file across CUNY. This resolution, and all the others, are a big step in the direction of a contract victory and everyone involved should be proud of the result.

    James Hoff
    Member of the BMCC Chapter EC

  4. Thanks for writing Geoff! Nobody on this end is opposed to a diversity of tactics to win $7K. The strike is simply the last resort. When we say $7K or Strike!, we mean we’re prepared to strike if that’s what it takes to get $7K. Sorry if you feel the post was misleading, but we think the resolution was pretty clear to that effect.

    In solidarity,
    CS

  5. Dear all,

    This post gets some things right but is wildly misleading on one very important point. It’s true that at the BMCC chapter meeting today, “[m]embers across titles, including multiple tenured faculty, spoke about the importance of supporting $7K, not just as a moral issue, but also as a strategic one.” The post’s author had the impression that a “spirit of compromise” prevailed at the meeting, and I did too (and was glad about it, as was this author). But to say that the BMCC PSC chapter has “endorse[d] $7k or strike” is simply false.

    The BMCC chapter’s statement was deeply different from the resolutions passed at the Grad Center chapter, BCC, and Hunter. To call it “similar” or “inspired by” is quite a stretch. In contrast with those resolutions, the BMCC chapter’s statement calls for a “strategic, sustained, multi-faceted campaign” for $7k, and rejects the idea of “reliance on any single form of action or pressure.” Instead, the statement calls for a variety of activities, from internal education to community coalition-building to legislative advocacy to “large-scale collective actions.” It does indeed recognize that such collective action might involve “some form of job action or strike,” but it allows for a range of possibilities rather than insisting on just one.

    Many members and leaders of the PSC are enthusiastic about the goal of $7k. We need to find ways to work together as much as we can, whatever disagreements we may also have (including disagreements about which strategies and tactics are most likely to help us win). Misleading people on matters like this doesn’t make it easier for us to do so.

    Fraternally,

    Geoff Kurtz
    (BMCC PSC Chapter Chair)

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