reposted from our comrades at Queens Adjuncts Unite
At the Queens College chapter meeting of the Professional Staff Congress (PSC) on Wednesday, March 20, 2019, a vote was held on a resolution in support of going on strike if CUNY does not agree at the bargaining table to pay adjunct faculty $7k per course minimum. Current starting pay is less than half of that amount, with many adjuncts teaching a full-time load for poverty wages of roughly $20k a year. Annual percentage raises won in prior contracts have only increased the salary gap between the lowest- and highest-paid faculty members.
The resolution sparked a lively discussion after PSC Vice President for Senior Colleges Penny Lewis reported on the state of the contract bargaining process and the union’s lobbying efforts to fund CUNY. At its peak, the March 20 meeting was attended by about 34 PSC members who work at Queens College. Of approximately 25 who were still there when the vote took place, 14 voted for the resolution, four voted against, and three abstained. Several people did not vote.
The same resolution was previously discussed but not voted on at a QC chapter meeting in late November 2018. While resolutions passed at chapter meetings are not considered binding, the March 20 vote indicates support among PSC members at Queens College for building toward a possible strike in order to make significant gains in this contract including a living wage of $7k per course for adjuncts.
A significant number of the full-time faculty members present at the March 20 meeting at QC voted for the resolution, and full-time faculty made up more than half of the 14 people who signed pledge cards at the meeting affirming their intention to vote yes when and if the union calls a strike authorization vote. The last union contract was only won after a strike authorization vote was approved by an overwhelming majority of PSC members.
The pledge cards are being gathered across CUNY by rank-and-file activists involved in the $7k or Strike campaign. A day after the vote at Queens College, the four principal officers of the PSC, including union president and QC English professor Barbara Bowen, issued a statement condemning the rank-and-file campaign. The $7k or Strike campaign issued a response calling on PSC members to work together to strengthen the union.
At Queens College, pledge cards are being collected by QC Adjuncts Unite, an autonomous group of rank-and-file adjuncts supporting the $7k or Strike campaign as well as many PSC-sponsored efforts.
Since it began in the fall 2018 semester, QC Adjuncts Unite has:
· Gathered 950 signatures from faculty, staff, and students on the Press the Presidents petition demanding a fair contract including 7K for adjuncts.
· Mobilized 20 people to a November meeting with QC President Félix V. Matos Rodríguez, who will take over as CUNY chancellor on May 1, to demand 7K for adjuncts.
· Gathered over fifty “7K or Strike” pledge forms signed by adjuncts, HEOs, and full-time faculty members at QC.
· Organized dozens of adjuncts to staff a “public office hours” table all day Monday through Thursday, every week since February 4, to make our labor visible and promote 7K or Strike pledge cards, union membership cards, posters, buttons, and more.
· Collected signup information for well over 100 QC students expressing solidarity with the fight for $7k for adjuncts.
· Sent adjuncts to testify at CUNY Board of Trustees meetings, and meetings with legislators in Albany and Queens, to demand more funding for CUNY and a living wage for adjuncts.
How to support QC adjuncts fighting for a living wage:
· JOIN our adjunct public office hours for $7K: Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday at the SA Diner in the Student Union building at the southeast corner of the QC campus.
· JOIN our Wednesday work-in actions for a fair contract in the main first-floor lobby of Kiely Hall, every Wednesday 10am-5pm.
· POSTERS: We have union contract posters as well as 7K or Strike posters at our action tables. Pick some up and post them in your office and around campus.· SIGN a $7K or Strike pledge card (for all PSC members; you can drop your signed form at the office-hours table in the SA Diner or Kiely or email it to email@example.com).
· SIGN a solidarity letter (for CUNY full-time faculty).· SIGN a student-adjunct solidarity letter (for CUNY students).
· INVITE an adjunct to a department meeting to discuss the fight for 7K with faculty.· INVITE an adjunct to your classroom to talk to students about the fight for 7K.
For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org. March 22, 2019