The Professional Staff Congress Delegate Assembly voted Thursday night to go forward with a contract that, if ratified by union members, will increase minimum adjunct pay to $5500 per course by 2022.
CUNY and the PSC, the union that represents full- and part-time workers at CUNY, released the proposed contract on Oct 23. If ratified, it will increase adjunct lecturers’ minimum pay per 3-credit course from $3222 to $5500 by 2022 and pay them to hold required on-campus office hours.
Thursday night’s resolution passed by a large margin amid shouting and booing from union members involved with the 7K or Strike campaign. The students and professors involved in 7K or Strike believe that $5500 is “nowhere near a living wage” and that adjuncts should be paid a minimum of $7000 per course, or strike.
“The energy was very tense,” said Travis Sweatte, an adjunct professor at City College and Medgar Evers who supports 7K or Strike, “but for me, that’s just the stakes of where we’re at, that people are literally trying to live in New York City on poverty wages.”
“Does it solve the problem? No,” said PSC President Barbara Bowen, who says that the contract, though imperfect, is still a step forward.
[Adjuncts Dissatisfied With PSC-CUNY Contract Nov. 3, 2019]
During the discussion, protesters called for Bowen to step down from her role, saying that she violated Robert’s Rules of Order by not acting as an impartial officer.
Speaking to The Envoy, Bowen would not comment on this allegation, except to say that she addressed it in the meeting and that she didn’t break any rules.
An activist also requested a roll call vote, in which each delegate’s vote would be recorded, but the motion was voted down.
“To me, the fact that [the delegates] voted against [the roll call] suggested that they’re afraid of the membership,” said full-time professor and 7K or Strike supporter Boyda Johnstone, “that they felt pressured and didn’t want to be held accountable for their actions.”
“I think [the delegates] represent the membership very well,” said Bowen, describing last night’s vote as “a great affirmation of what our union stands for.”
Voting on whether to ratify the contract will begin next week and end on November 26, according to PSC Communications Coordinator Fran Clark. Union members can vote online or by phone.