The Taylor Law and the outrageous censorship of “7K or Strike” posters at John Jay

The Taylor Law and the outrageous

censorship of “7K or Strike” posters at John Jay

Since its foundation, CUNY Contingents Unite has called for defeating and ripping up New York State’s Taylor Law, through effective class-struggle action bringing in key sectors of NYC’s powerful working class.

This viciously anti-labor law bans strikes and job actions by public employees, including the workforce of the City University of New York. Not only that, the law says we are banned from things that would “cause, instigate, encourage, or condone such a strike” – something we advocate all time, in virtually every issue of the CCU newsletter, in CCU fliers, placards at marches and rallies, speeches, etc. (See “The Taylor Law: What It Is and How to Smash It“.)

The law’s grotesquely anti-democratic ban on strike advocacy was invoked back in September 2005, in the midst of the years-long union contract battle going on at that time, when CUNY’s General Counsel Frederick P. Shaffer sent out an email message to all of us stressing: “The Taylor Law provides sanctions against public employees who engage in a strike and against employee organizations that cause, instigate, encourage and/or condone a strike against a public employer.” He added: “The public employer [CUNY] may take disciplinary action, including termination of employment, against striking employees.” (Three months later, the law was used against striking MTA workers.)

Frederick “Strike Ban” Schaffer retired from CUNY in December 2016. In yet another example of the thoroughly bipartisan nature of anti-labor repression, he was thereupon appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio as chairman of the city’s Campaign Finance Board.

Now, John Jay College has literally banned signs advocating that a strike be organized if the vital 7K demand is not met.

How is the administration “justifying” this ban? By citing the Taylor Law’s blatantly unconstitutional prohibition on advocating public-employee strikes.

After campus security at John Jay recently tore down a bunch of signs on 7K, the campus Director of Public Safety sent out an email on March 20 about the incident.

The key part of that email states that the administration’s “labor designee” told campus security that because a sign posted on campus had “advocated for a strike by faculty members, he advised all of those signs should be removed as they were in violation of the ‘Taylor Law.’ As such, the officers were told that if they were to come across these signs during their routine patrols, they should be removed.” (An excerpt from the law was attached to the memo, which also stated that signs not calling for a strike would not be torn down; went on about how “we are strong advocates for Freedom of Speech,” etc.)

This is a fresh and vivid example of why the Taylor Law must be smashed. John Jay’s anti-labor, anti-democratic and unconstitutional censorship, banning material that “advocates for a strike by faculty members,” is an attack on the rights of us all. It must be denounced, opposed, challenged and reversed!

To contact the CCU, write:

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“7K OR STRIKE”●Next Steps ●What It Means (and Doesn’t)

Advance Sept-Oct 2018 - final-1Advance Sept-Oct 2018 - final-2

For PDF version. (Click Here)

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The Taylor Law: What It Is and How To Smash It!

Advance – April 2018

Advance - April 2018 - current-page-001Advance - April 2018 - current-page-002Advance - April 2018 - current-page-003Advance - April 2018 - current-page-004

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Fighting to Win the Struggle for $7K: Two-Tier Labor Must Go!

Oct 2017 Advance V2-1Oct 2017 Advance V2-2Oct 2017 Advance V2-3

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VOTE NO! Proposed PSC Contract Deepens Inequality – Yet Again

CCU Advance June 2016 p1 CCU Advance June 2016 p2

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$15 Minimum Must Be Applied at CUNY Now!

15dollar min wage flier 1 15dollar min wage flier 2

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Speech by CUNY Contingents Unite and Class Struggle Education Workers activist

The following is a speech by CUNY Contingents Unite and Class Struggle Education Workers activist Portia Seddon at the November 19 mass meeting of the Professional Staff Congress (CUNY faculty/staff union). The meeting was held at Cooper Union, whose Great Hall was packed with what the union estimates at 900 people.

While the meeting was carefully stage-managed by the union bureaucracy, there was loud and genuine enthusiasm from the audience for the strike authorization vote that the PSC leadership has announced will be held in the spring.

CUNY Contingents Unite activists distributed a special issue of the CCU newsletter, The Advance (see below), to the entire audience. The discussion period was a scant 30 minutes, with an farcical 1-minute limit per speaker, very strictly enforced. The CCU had two speakers from the floor, the first of whom called not only for a massive “yes” vote on strike authorization but actually preparing a strike, and mobilizing the power of the NYC labor movement, together with large numbers of students, to rip up the Taylor Law (which declares job actions by public employees in new York State to be “illegal”). He made a motion (blithely ignored by the chair) that a strike preparation committee be elected then and there.

The second CCU speaker highlighted the stakes for adjuncts, and the call for “a real strike.” We need to “organize to actually go on strike,” she emphasized, “and we’re not going to be able to do that without organizing adjuncts…the basis of CUNY labor.” Denouncing the fact that the last contract “deepened the inequalities between ‘full-timers’ and adjuncts,” she emphasized our demands for an end to adjunct poverty, for real job security and health insurance for all. Her call to smash the Taylor Law, and to “win a contract that doesn’t sell out adjuncts,” was met with widespread cheers and enthusiastic applause.

Her speech can be seen here:

 CCU-Advance-Nov-2015 copy CCU-Advance-Nov-2015 copy2

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