Holding a huge, electrified banner reading “Resist austerity,” while chanting to the rhythm of a brass band, hundreds of members of the Professional Staff Congress marched from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York to a board of trustees’ meeting at Baruch College on Dec. 4. They were making it clear that they do not want to wait six years for a new contract to get significant pay raises.
In particular, the PSC wants adjuncts — the part-time instructors who do over 50 percent of the instruction at CUNY — to get a pay increase to a minimum of $7,000 per class. Currently, the best-paid adjuncts get about $4,500 per class.
The PSC represents about 30,000 full-time and part-time teachers, as well as professional staff — librarians, registrars and computer programmers — who educate 500,000 students at CUNY. It took six years for the board of trustees to agree to its last contract with the PSC.
Contingents from Local One, Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE); the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees DC 37; the Union of Clerical Staff (UCATS) at New York University; and the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists joined the march.
A noticeable feature of the protest was the significant support given fast food workers who are organizing a union at seven CUNY campuses with the support of the Department Store Union (RWDSU).