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Against Management’s Continuing Attacks: The Union Should Call a CUNY-Wide “Day of Action” (on a Workday)
Against Management’s Continuing Attacks:The Union Should Call a CUNY-Wide “Day of Action” (on a Workday)
Facing management’s continued drumbeat of attacks, it is important that our union, the Professional Staff Congress, has organized a protest demonstration outside CUNY’s central office on Monday, February 15. CUNY Contingents Unite (CCU) says this should be a springboard for intensifying, union-wide militant action.
Specifically, we call for the union as a whole to organize a “Day of Action” against CUNY management’s anti-worker, anti-student, anti-education onslaught of layoffs, contract violations, cuts, course cancellations, growing class sizes, bursar holds and the rest of it. This Day of Action should be held on a workday, instead of classes or other work. The purpose: to help build and show our collective power against the bosses’ attack.
Such a Day of Action should involve the maximum numbers possible of faculty and staff, together with members of other unions at CUNY – and large numbers of students. Systematic work should be done to extend it to other sectors: the CUNY crisis is part of the overall capitalist devastation wreaked against the working class and oppressed. To win, we must bring our struggles together with those of the multiracial working class that keeps this city running.
This is especially crucial given threats from the anti-labor Taylor Law, which both Democrats and Republicans have wielded against public workers’ labor actions.
The Day of Action that the CCU is proposing would be an important and concrete part of the union ramping up preparation for a strike to stop and reverse management’s continuing attacks.
List Keeps Getting Longer
Sometimes it can seem overwhelming just to keep up with the list of those attacks on our jobs, our rights, our income and our students’ education. Since last spring’s mass layoff of 2,900 adjuncts, the CUNY tops have continued to test how much they can get away with. They carried out the mass layoffs while sitting on huge amounts of CARES Act money. They withheld the contractual 2% raise. Now they’ve gone after our coworkers in the Assistant to HEO title, holding back the “equity raise” they were supposed to get this week – and they plan to do the same to Lecturers.
Those adjuncts not laid off were supposed to feel lucky to have a job at all – while many have had our income brutally slashed with course cancellations. Some lost health care. With the workforce cut, management has been pushing class sizes up, skyrocketing in some cases to truly insane levels. (This despite all the evidence that “remote learning” is doubly impossible without class sizes being made much smaller.)
Advisors are placed under unbearable strain, while students suffer. Yet students are not only expected to keep paying tuition (which should be abolished completely) but in some cases are being refused registration because of bursar holds for monies owed.
Fighting to reverse all the layoffs, cuts, cancellations, bursar holds and the rest of it is part of the overall struggle for the basic interests of everyone who makes this city run and CUNY students whose families are so often workers deemed essential but disposable by the racist rulers. It is we who must wage and win this struggle (which means no illusions in capitalist politicians).We invite all who agree that the union should call a CUNY-wide Day of Action in defense of our jobs, rights and income, and our students’ education – to be held on a workday instead of classes or other work – to join in efforts for this proposal to be adopted and put into effect.
Emergency: 3,000 Layoffs at CUNY – The Union Must Prepare and Organize an All-Out Strike for the Start of School
Committee for Adjuncts and Part-Timers of the PSC calls on the union’s Delegate Assembly to vote down the proposed contract
For A Class-Struggle Strategy in the Fight to End Adjunct Poverty & Defeat CUNY’s Divide-and-Conquer Labor System
A 58-page bulletin from CUNY Contingents Unite published in April:
- The two-tier labor system,
- The fight to smash New York State’s anti-labor Taylor Law,
- Origins and perspectives of the “7K” demand,
- What’s needed to prepare and be able to win a strike at CUNY,
- & Many related issues, with extensive information and documentation.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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