You were magnificent in response to the union’s call for the demonstration on September 29. Thank you! Our message was heard. The PSC leadership met with the CUNY administration days after the protest, and it was clear that the sheer size of the event has created greater urgency to resolve the contract. Now we have to keep the pressure on. The next step in the PSC’s escalating campaign for a good contract is action on each campus, leading to a mass meeting and march on Tuesday, October 21 at 5:30 PM. Let us know you are coming by responding here.
We will gather at 5:30 on Tuesday, October 21, in the Community Church of New York for a report from the PSC bargaining team on the latest developments in contract negotiations. Then we will take our message to those in power with a demand for action. The union is prepared to intensify the pressure and broaden our reach. Our success depends on the number of people who make a commitment to come. The union bargaining team and leaders are engaged in intense negotiations and political meetings, but contracts are won on the ground.
Mass pressure is the key. The PSC is 25,000 strong, and we have to make that strength visible to those in power. That means making October 21 a priority, just as nearly a thousand of you made it a priority to be at the demonstration last month. I know how overscheduled most of our lives are, but if a new contract is a priority for you, joining the PSC on the evening of October 21 must be a priority too. It’s simple: we are stronger together, and we need you.
Why is the PSC still fighting when other contracts in the city have already been settled? For two reasons. First: our contract is more complicated politically than almost any other public-sector contract in New York. Second: we refuse to settle for a contract that undermines us economically and professionally.
The PSC contract is uniquely complicated because CUNY’s public funding comes largely from the State but also includes resources from the City. Our contract must reflect agreement between State and City governments as well as between the PSC and CUNY.
An inadequate contract would have been easy to achieve. But if we want anything other than a below-inflation, concessionary settlement, we will have to expose the damage done to CUNY by years of austerity funding and demand a contract that supports our work. Doing so is not easy when contracts both nationally and locally continue to reflect austerity politics. But New York’s economy is rebounding and Wall Street is seeing record profits; there is no justification for a contract that imposes further austerity conditions on CUNY and on us. CUNY is one of the great, saving institutions in this still-unequal, still-segregated city; it should be supported by a contract that allows the faculty and staff to do our work and live our lives.
If this fight matters to you – if a new contract matters to you – we need you at the mass action on Tuesday, October 21. We are stronger together; the whole history of fights for justice tells us that.
I look forward to seeing you on the 21st.