Thursday, October 23, 2014

Open Letter to President Gould Regarding Contract Negotiations

Dear President Gould:

We write to ask for your help – your vigorous advocacy in support of the Brooklyn College community.

As of Monday, October 20, CUNY faculty and professional staff have been without a new contract for four years. Our work at the University shows our commitment to quality public education: in fact, it is our academic work that makes the University run. We deserve fair remuneration for the jobs we do; we have been denied that for four long years.

Enrollment at CUNY is at an all-time high, yet we, who are daily in the classroom, are expected to work without reasonable raises and just benefits. Faculty and staff wellbeing is put at risk as we have faced the rising cost of living. We are full-time faculty, CLTs and HEOs struggling to pay rent; we are adjuncts forced to work at multiple institutions just to buy groceries. Our diminished living conditions have a direct impact on our students’ learning conditions.

Exhausted, anxious faculty and staff cannot give 100% to their students when their minds are on their own survival.  This problem has been exacerbated by the fact that CUNY is having a difficult time hiring new faculty and retaining recent hires, putting more pressure on the limited and overworked resources we already have.  Not only has the lack of a contract affected the hiring and retention of faculty, it has also been a blow to the morale of current faculty. The lack of a contract is, therefore, endangering the growth of CUNY, the University’s future aspirations, and the quality of CUNY public higher education. It is both irrational and unconscionable that we still do not have a contract. 

The PSC is eager to settle the contract and has been negotiating with CUNY in good faith. But CUNY has still not presented us with an economic offer, which is the essential foundation for any detailed bargaining.  Without an economic offer, we cannot begin to bargain about salary increases, much less retroactive pay. Nor can we truly address the Chancellor’s stated goal of lowering the CUNY teaching load. CUNY trustees and administrators must make it their first priority to get an economic offer on the table so that bargaining in earnest can begin.

President Gould, we call on you to do what you can to impress upon the Chancellor and Trustees that we need an economic offer now. We ask that you speak up for the faculty, professional staff, and the students we serve at Brooklyn College by urging the Chancellery to immediately make an offer and thus open serious contract negotiations. We urge you to publicly advocate for justice for the Brooklyn College community, for CUNY faculty and staff, and for public higher education.


Executive Committee

Brooklyn College Chapter, PSC CUNY

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