An Important Step Forward in Our Fight Against Poverty Pay: COCAL XI Demands 7K

CUNY Contingents Unite had an important impact at the eleventh conference of the international Coalition of Contingent Academic Labor, held in New York City on August 4-6. As a result of the united-front campaign initiated by the CCU, and intensive activity at the conference, the following resolution was passed overwhelmingly at the final plenary on August 6. (Note: Almost 800 signatures of CUNY faculty and staff had been gathered for the demand that “5K” be a bottom-line demand in current union contract negotiations at the City University. At COCAL, strong arguments were made for this to be changed to 7K in line with the Modern Language Association minimum figure; this is reflected in the resolution as adopted.) COCAL participants’ enthusiastic backing for this call is a significant step in our fight against poverty pay and two-tier inequality.
Whereas, the two-tier system of academic labor, in which there is a much-diminished population of tenure line (permanent) faculty and a large and growing population of long-term and shorter-term contingent faculty, is producing untenable economic hardship and intolerable working conditions that reflect escalating attacks on education, labor rights and students, andWhereas, we seek full equality and the dismantling of the tiered labor system and support real advances toward this goal (such as a significant pro rata increase in pay); seniority rights and job security, and

Whereas, the crisis of contingent labor has highlighted the need for parity, with real job security and a seniority system, and

Whereas, this crisis has brought a call in the U.S. for achieving or surpassing a MINIMUM starting salary of at least $7,000 (“7K”) per 3-credit course (or its equivalent)  (the minimum salary endorsed by the Modern Language Association [MLA]), with real job security and a seniority system, which, while still far from parity, would be a significant advance for many contingent faculty, and a call with similar intent has been endorsed by several higher education unions in New York State, the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT)*, therefore, be it

RESOLVED that COCAL XI endorses the call in the U.S. for achieving or surpassing a MINIMUM starting salary of at least $7K per 3-credit course (or its equivalent) for all contingent academic employees in the U.S., combined with real job security and a seniority system; that this objective, despite being modest, is long overdue and needs to be implemented now, and that we support the struggle for this to be achieved in current contract negotiations.
* The NEA, the AFT, and several New York State higher education unions have endorsed the Mayday $5K (or a similar) proposal.

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