Tag Archives: PSC


On Escalation, Dying-In and the Fight to Fund CUNY

By David Unger

“C-U-N-Y…Don’t Let CUNY Die!”

Over the past few years, we have been lying down on the pavements of New York. In Grand Central Station, in front of Barclay’s Center, in the middle of streets in Brooklyn, near Union Square, in Harlem and in the Bronx.  We have been asked to lie down — to Die In — in order to demand recognition of Black Lives, to condemn violence against and killing of people of color, many of whose names are by now familiar in a tragic way: Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, Mike Brown, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin…and on and on. 

Many times, everyone has been asked to die in, to lie down.  Other times, white allies have been asked to stand in silence.  Either way, the impacted communities have been calling the shots and leading the way. 

At times, the die-ins have been done by “other groups,” including the Fight-for-15, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ), and others, marching in solidarity with the Movement for Black Lives and calling out the intersection between racial and economic violence. Each time, no matter what intersections have been highlighted, the violence against people of color has been the primary concern of the actions. Continue reading On Escalation, Dying-In and the Fight to Fund CUNY

Gov. Cuomo Announces State Will Fully Fund CUNY Next Year

In a reversal from his recent vow to defund the CUNY system by shifting $485 million in costs onto New York City, Gov. Cuomo’s office announced yesterday that New York State would pay the full $1.6 billion CUNY budget next year, after all. This funding is contingent on the hiring of a management efficiency expert, who will identify new opportunities for cost-cutting.

While heralded as good news by some, many argue that it’s still far from enough. From Gothamist:

“Of course it’s good for CUNY not to face a reduction, but that is just the starting line,” PSC CUNY President Barbara Bowen told Gothamist. “If all that has been accomplished in this budget season is that CUNY is back to where it started in funding, that is not enough…it’s not enough just to say CUNY was saved from a gigantic, devastating cut.”

Yesterday, more than 500 people demonstrated outside Cuomo’s office in midtown Manhattan, demanding that the final state budget, due April 1st, include increased investment in CUNY and fund contracts for the 35,000 CUNY faculty and staff members who they say have worked for years without a raise.

Protestors were confined by police to pens across the street from the office, chanting “C-U-N-Y, don’t let CUNY die,” but dozens exited the pens and staged a die-in directly outside the office building. They laid down in rows, blocking the building entrance, and after police issued three warnings, 41 people were arrested, including Bowen and City Council member Inez Barron, who chairs the City Council’s committee on higher education.

Read the full post at Gothamist.

Photo by hjjanisch via flickr (CC-BY-ND).

CUNY On Strike?

By Sarah Hughes

If you’ve been around Murphy recently, you’ve probably heard rumblings about the PSC contract battle. As a labor school, Murphy Institute faculty, students and staff study and put into practice the fight for labor rights. Now, as members of the Professional Staff Congress-CUNY and AFSCME District Council 37, Murphy community members are in a fight for fair labor conditions all our own. To give a bit of context, we’ve assembled an explainer. Read on to learn how we got here — and where things might be headed.

What’s going on with CUNY?

Since 2010 CUNY workers, faculty and staff, have been without a contract. Our union, the Professional Staff Congress, has been working the regular routes to a contract: members have written countless petitions and letters, endorsed a pro-labor mayor, endorsed the governor, lobbied for a new, labor-friendly chancellor, held mass meetings and rallies, got arrested and lobbied tirelessly in Albany.

In the meantime, Gov. Cuomo and the legislature has underfunded CUNY to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars, and is threatening something much more drastic this spring. Continue reading CUNY On Strike?

Padraig O’Donoghue: Reflections on Labor

Padraig O’Donoghue & Newborn Daughter, Haviva

By Padraig O’Donogue

I am a passionate member of the PSC and will be part of the (hopefully) packed house at Cooper Union on November 19th when we continue our path to a new contract. I’ve had quite a few really positive experiences with the union that have stuck with me and make me want to fight for the contract that we deserve.

My first interaction with the PSC-CUNY was 14 years ago as a student at Hunter College when the PSC was a significant part of the NYC anti-Iraq war movement. The Union sponsored buses to go down to DC for large national marches calling on the government to reverse its momentum toward war, asking lawmakers to redirect public funds to education: “Books not bombs.”  Remembering the mass protests on the Mall, I can only echo the prophetic intention behind that chant. Now, as a PSC member, and six years into our fight for a new contract, I see that just a small fraction of those funds squandered in war would grant us the contract we deserve.  Continue reading Padraig O’Donoghue: Reflections on Labor

Irene Garcia on Civil Disobedience, Arrest & Union Solidarity

All photos by Dave Sanders and Erik McGregor via PSC-CUNY Facebook page.

Two weeks ago, PSC-CUNY members demonstrated in response to 6 years without a contract at CUNY Central Administrative offices, where about 50 people were arrested. Four Murphy Institute community members were arrested in the action. Irene Garcia, Academic Advisor for the Labor Studies Master of Arts program at the Murphy Institute, answers questions about her experience. 

Q. Why did you participate in yesterday’s CD action?

 A. Although all CUNY employees have worthy demands, the biggest motivation for me to participate in the civil disobedience action was to state my discontent with the unfair wages and job security situation that adjunct professors face. As someone who deeply cares about public higher education as the only option for lifting people out of poverty, it is unacceptable to me that thousands of highly educated and caring professionals who teach our low-income students are in poverty themselves! 

Q. What was most striking about the experience?

A. That the policemen were very supportive, to the point of cheering, and expressing that we should continue the fight for all. They are also renegotiating their contract.11028013_882735341780719_3145017127581093257_o

Q. How did you experience the PSC and CUNY community’s support (e.g. students, other unions)?

A. Everybody was really supportive! I really felt the power of the Union. I knew people were going to be out there, since we are very committed people, but it did take me by surprise receiving thank you emails from colleagues. Continue reading Irene Garcia on Civil Disobedience, Arrest & Union Solidarity

Stephanie Luce Talks Civil Disobedience, Arrest at PSC Action

All photos via PSC-CUNY.org.

On Wednesday, PSC-CUNY members demonstrated in response to 6 years without a contract at CUNY Central Administrative offices, where about 50 people were arrested. Prof. Stephanie Luce, one of many Murphy Institute community members who participated in the action, and one of four who were arrested, talks about her experience below:

Q. Why did you participate in the CD action?

A. I decided to participate in the civil disobedience action because I want to defend the idea of CUNY: a great public institution that is supported by the city and state. CUNY was created to provide a top-quality education to the people of New York City, and it is also a large employer providing good jobs to tens of thousands of people.110415rally30 Continue reading Stephanie Luce Talks Civil Disobedience, Arrest at PSC Action