Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Grade-In Contract Campaign Action @BC

BC adjunct faculty, joined by full-time faculty and student supporters, conducted a public Grade-In on Dec 11, the last Tuesday of Fall '18 classes.  Nearly 60 people lined the hallway outside the college President's office, grading student papers and exams.  In a quiet but poignant spectacle, they expressed solidarity and support for the $7K demand for adjuncts and a fair contract for CUNY employees.  Reporters from the Brooklyn Eagle and the Brooklyn Paper covered the action.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Arrests made at BoT demo

BC Chapter Chair, James Davis, was among the 17 PSC elected leaders arrested outside the Dec 10 CUNY Board of Trustees meeting for civil disobedience.  They were participants in a 200-person demonstration against the Board's inaction on the State budget request and collective bargaining.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Brooklyn College Chapter Statement on “$7K or Strike”

Passed at Nov 20, 2018 PSC Chapter meeting.

Whereas adjuncts make up 61% of the faculty at CUNY and teach 53% of classes, at an average rate of $3,500 per three-credit class with no compensation for research or advising, amounting to an annual salary of $28,000 for the same courseload as full-time professors, who make $47,000 at the lowest step;

Whereas adjunct poverty is detrimental to student success since adjuncts, who teach the majority of required courses, are forced to work additional jobs and consequently do not have the time they need and want to dedicate to their students;

Whereas devaluing adjunct labor is the principal means of devaluing the labor of CUNY education workers across all titles;

Whereas the PSC has rightly put adjuncts at the center of the current contract campaign by demanding an adjunct minimum wage of $7,000 per three-credit course in the next contract;
Whereas $7K per course is still a poverty wage in New York City but is at least closer to parity with what a full-time lecturer makes at CUNY for the same work;

Whereas $7K per course is a bigger demand than what the PSC has won in past contracts, which rarely keep pace with inflation, and thus requires more than collective bargaining supplemented by occasional demonstrations to win;

Whereas the PSC leadership has admitted in the 26 March 2018 bulletin This Week in the PSC that “the campaign to more than double adjuncts’ pay will be waged not at the bargaining table”;

Whereas the inefficacy of lobbying is exemplified by the PSC’s persistent lobbying year after year for the $200m Maintenance of Effort bill, which failed to stop Cuomo from vetoing it and failed to convince state lawmakers to override the veto despite having enough votes;

Whereas educators across the country, especially in West Virginia where striking teachers won 5% raises for all state workers, have shown the power and necessity of striking as an alternative means to achieving significant victories for workers;

Whereas the acts of striking teachers in West Virginia and elsewhere have been acts of self-care, community care, and care for students, and, analogously, a strike at CUNY would also be an act of care for ourselves, our community, and our students, whose lives are deeply impacted by our viciously low pay;

Whereas striking would be a significant step toward defeating the Taylor Law and would thus further not only our interests but also those of all public-sector unions in New York State;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the PSC assembled at the November 20th, 2018 Brooklyn College chapter meeting support going on strike if CUNY management does not offer $7K per course at the bargaining table; and
that we pledge to attend next PSC Chapter meeting and bring one or more colleagues to discuss plans to prepare for a strike; and
that we will organize our colleagues to support a strike for the $7K per course demand.


Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Resources for $7K Conversations

The PSC has been organizing contingent and tenure-track faculty and professional staff around a contractual demand for $7,000 minimum per 3-credit course.  You can participate by using the resources below.

"Press the Presidents" petition to Michelle Anderson

Share your story / tell us why you support this demand

PSC Fact Sheet on 7K

CUNY Changes Lives

Some important stats:
    * In 1975, CUNY had 250,000 students and 11,500 full-time faculty. Now it has 274,000 students but only 7,500 full-time faculty.
    * NYS funding per student at CUNY senior colleges has been cut by 18 percent since 2008.
    * There are now over 12,000 adjunct faculty in the CUNY system, up from 7,000 in the year 2000. That’s a 71% increase.
    * Adjunct faculty now teach 53% of CUNY courses, and as much as 65% at campuses like Hunter and John Jay.
    * The average annual salary for a CUNY adjunct lecturer teaching 8 courses is just $28,000 per year - far below an adequate standard of living in NYC.
    * Starting pay for a CUNY adjunct is now a mere $3,222 per course - far less than adjunct faculty compensation at Barnard, Fordham, New School, NYU, Yeshiva, and neighboring public university systems, such as Rutgers and UConn.

    Saturday, October 27, 2018

    CUNY Trustees Hear from BC Faculty & Staff

    Brooklyn College Faculty & Staff Testimony
    CUNY Board of Trustees hearing
    Baruch College, October 22, 2018

    Coverage, including a photo of BC faculty holding a banner with thousands of signatures, is here.

    Heidi Diehl, Adjunct Lecturer, English Dept

    My name is Heidi Diehl, and I am an adjunct lecturer at Brooklyn College, where I have taught in the English Department since 2010. Thank you for your time today.
     I speak on behalf of the 900 adjuncts at Brooklyn College and the 12,000 adjuncts who teach across CUNY. Indeed, adjuncts teach the majority of classes at CUNY. And although a CUNY education is advertised on the subway as a ladder to the middle class, the bitter irony is that we adjuncts, the bulk of CUNY’s teaching staff, are not part of the middle class because of CUNY’s poverty wages. I urge you, the Board of Trustees, to use your power to end this crisis of austerity. Request additional funding in your budget to increase adjunct pay to 7 K per course.
    As an adjunct teaching the maximum load of classes allowed by the contract—a course load equal to a full-time professor’s—I can expect to earn at most $25,000 a year. Although I am working full-time as an adjunct, I cannot meet the cost of living in New York City on that income, and so I have a second job to subsidize CUNY’s austerity.
    Most CUNY adjuncts I know have second and third jobs. This hurts our students; we simply do not have time to give students the support and guidance they need to succeed, for their education to truly serve as that engine of opportunity advertised on the subway. Adjuncts have no choice but to cut corners—fewer written comments on papers, less time to plan lessons tailored to students’ needs. It is painful not to be able to give our students what they need and deserve. 
     As I hope you know, the work of an adjunct extends beyond the classroom hours; though CUNY pays us for only three hours of work per class per week, we devote additional hours to developing syllabi, planning lessons, and grading papers. We respond to student emails, support struggling students, and write recommendation letters—all of this is unpaid labor.
    The image of the adjunct as a moonlighter with another career outside academia, someone who is just popping in to teach a class for fun, is outdated and does not reflect the current situation at CUNY. I urge you to take a close look at the numbers—the majority of classes at CUNY are taught by adjuncts who are struggling to make a living on poverty wages.
    In this very rich city and state, CUNY is starving because of gross underfunding. Austerity is a crisis—for CUNY’s adjuncts and full-timers, and for our students. I call on you as trustees to oppose austerity for CUNY. Take a public stand for a contract that is fully funded, includes real raises for all, and increases adjunct pay to 7K per course.
                Thank you.

    Stephen Margolies, CLT, Art Dept

    My name is Stephen Margolies and I’m a Chief College Laboratory Technician in the Art Department of Brooklyn College. I probably don’t have to tell the Trustees that CLTs are the lowest-paid full-timers in all of CUNY. Many of us cannot even afford to live in the New York area on our salaries and spend hours commuting from New Jersey or Long Island. We’ve received no raises in years except the across-the-board percentage raises everyone got, which, from our low salary base, were pitiful. Part of the problem is that the CUNY administration, perhaps to rationalize our low pay in their own minds, hires us as only high-school graduates who do no teaching and nothing particularly important except wash bottles and clean rat cages. On most campuses they require us to sign demeaning time sheets designed for assembly-line factory workers that pretend we take a real lunch hour instead of gulping down a sandwich at our desks or never stay late to clean up dangerous chemical spills. In want ads I’ve seen to fill CUNY vacancies, starting with presidents and descending down through the ranks, we’re listed dead last––below janitors. Nothing could be further from the truth, as chairs and faculty of science and arts and other departments would testify, knowing they cannot run their classes, labs, studios, theaters, etc., even libraries and language labs, without us. Almost all the CLTs I know have advanced degrees––masters, and even two doctorates I know about––and the few that don’t have been here long enough to have mastered it all from experience. As you know, we live in an age of complex and rapidly advancing technology; as education utilizes more and more of it, CLTs play a major role in researching, purchasing, developing, learning, installing, maintaining, repairing, and operating it, not to mention often instructing faculty and students in its use. CLTs in fact also do much teaching (although they don’t grade); when students have questions or problems concerning what they’ve learned in class or a lab, who do you think helps them when faculty is busy elsewhere or has left? And, as full-time faculty diminishes, chairs have no choice but to transfer much of what they did to CLTs, who, with their advanced skills, take on more responsibilities and find themselves constantly working beyond title. I myself have sat on and even chaired many committees and written grants and public relations material and studio rules and alumni newsletters and much else for the department. For years I graded the graduate applicants’ French-language exams because no faculty knew French well. Once, when I authored a large part of the decennial report every department produces, my name was removed from its collective authorship because it was “unseemly” a CLT should have participated. Others have their sad stories. So our qualifications and responsibilities go far beyond high school and bottle washing, but our salaries in no way reflect this. I can tell you a certain demoralization has set in among us. Hiring CLTs with today’s necessary qualifications will become more and more difficult, and teaching and learning at CUNY will certainly suffer.

    William Hampton-Sosa, Associate Professor, Business Management Dept
    Members of the Board, thank you for the opportunity to speak to you directly today. My name is William Hampton-Sosa. I am an associate professor in the Department of Business Management at Brooklyn College.
    I was motivated and inspired to work for the City University of New York because of its mission and values. For example, I have read and heard many statements regarding the importance of maintaining a comprehensive teaching, research, and service institution dedicated to excellence in undergraduate and graduate education that is affordable and accessible to students regardless of background or means. Indeed, these ideals are reflected in the mission statements of CUNY and the various colleges in the system. (
    However, in the many years that I have been here, I have come to seriously question whether the leadership of CUNY and the State of New York is sufficiently committed to these ideals. It is very easy to say all of the right things, but it is more important to focus on the decisions that are actually made and reflected in the budget.
    Among the many problems that I see is a persistent refusal to properly compensate faculty and to maintain facilities.
    ·      Faculty salaries are unreasonably low when compared to peers in the New York Metropolitan area.
    ·      Faculty salaries are unreasonably low when compared to professionals with similar amounts of education and training in other sectors of the economy.
    ·      Faculty salaries are unreasonably low given the cost of living in New York City. When the most recent contract was settled, it included a 10.4% raise covering a seven-year period between 2009 and 2016. The Economist Magazine analyzed cost-of-living increases in cities around the world and found that it had risen 23% in New York City between 2009 and 2014, a shorter time frame. Essentially, the faculty pay raise amounted to a salary cut in real terms.
    To be clear, no one comes to CUNY to become rich. However, no one comes here to financially struggle either. My rent, which is below the median, consumes half of my take home pay.
    A second serious problem that I see is an unwillingness or inability to halt the decay of facilities around the system. I am particularly troubled by repeated statements in advertising and on the CUNY website touting the 25 modern campuses. The authors of this content must never have stepped foot on the Brooklyn College campus.
    Today, as we speak, there are holes in ceilings, exposed wiring, falling tiles, leaks, broken seats, faulty elevators, and bathrooms in various states of disrepair. We have air conditioners that run so loudly when they do work that students and professors have to raise their voices in order to be heard in the classroom. This is a shameful and embarrassing state of affairs for a world-class institution of higher education. (
    In conclusion, I call on you as trustees to oppose austerity for CUNY. Take a public stand for a contract that is fully funded, includes real raises for all, and increases adjunct pay to $7K per course. I call on you to take steps to halt and reverse the decline of facilities around the system.

    Wednesday, September 26, 2018

    Contract Demonstration Wall Street Sept 27

    Prof's Ricardo Hernandez Anzola, Alex Juhasz, Carolina Bank Muñoz, and Joseph Entin