Professors, students, and union leaders assembled on the steps of City Hall in New York City demanding that Governor Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio agree to a fair contract which calls for raises for all CUNY staff and raising the salary for adjunct professors from $3,500 to $7,000 per course.
The press conference and rally was led by Professor Barbara Bowen, Ph.D. and President of the 30,000 members strong Professional Staff Congress, the union representing professors, adjunct professors, and staff at the City University of New York. The members have been working without a contract for fifteen months, and the earnings of 12,000 adjunct professors are near the poverty wage.
Full-time faculty at CUNY earn a substantially lower salary compared to the salaries of professors at other institutions. Due to the high cost of living in New York City, many adjunct professors who average about $28,000 a year have to take on a second or third job to make end’s meet.
President Bowen, “We are in the fight of our lives for a fair contract. What we need in this contract is to get the resources into the City University of New York, the people’s university, so that we can serve CUNY’s 275,000 students as they should be served.”
Even though the City’s budget for next year is still in its early planning stages, the Mayor has already expressed that he will not increase the budget for CUNY senior colleges which have not had a budget increase in decades. Between 2008 and 2018, per-student State funding decreased by 18%, adjusted for inflation. For three consecutive years, CUNY colleges have had to cut an already strapped budget to fill the gap.
CUNY has been unable to provide adequate education and services to CUNY students due to the immense budget constraints. The lack of funding has led to a shortage of full-time faculty, counselors, advisors, and tutors as well as reducing library hours at some colleges leaving CUNY’s student body, mostly low-income New Yorkers, immigrants and people of color, without the assistance they need to graduate.
In support of CUNY faculty and staff, students are going to march across the Brooklyn Bridge on March 23rd at 11 a.m. demanding tuition freeze, increased public funding, and equitable contracts. #CUNYriseUP