PSC protestors deserve to have their needs met


Jens Schott Knudsen | Flickr

The Editorial Board

Providing City University of New York employees with adequate wages and care is essential to improving the entire school system’s conditions. If the state is committed to reversing disinvestment in CUNY and creating campuses worth attending, then an important step is assuring that faculty and staff are well-compensated.

Faculty and staff rallied in front of CUNY headquarters on Feb. 27 to demand higher salaries and flexible schedules be included in their new contract. CUNY officials should heed these pleas as an expression of continued investment in educational quality.

The Professional Staff Congress’ previous contracts expired on Feb. 28. The union, which represents 30,000 faculty and staff at CUNY, called for raises that offset inflation, stronger health and safety provisions, more remote work opportunities and more diverse faculty, among other requests.

“What we need is a fair contract, a just contract,” James Davis, PSC’s president, said during the rally. “We need CUNY to come to the bargaining table. We need a contract that supports PSC members and improves the quality of education for our students.”

This rally occurred amid Gov. Kathy Hochul’s proposal to increase tuition for CUNY by 3%. CUNY Chancellor Féliz Matos Rodríguez commended Hochul’s plan despite CUNY’s recent move to order campuses to implement a hiring freeze and cut their budgets by 5% due to an enrollment decline.

These measures, along with a historic investment of $1.5 billion in SUNY and CUNY over the next five years, were taken by the state to improve programs and services throughout the schools where funding has long been deferred.

If Hochul’s proposal were to be approved, the money gathered from tuition hikes should be used to help fund the PSC’s demands. Regardless, a good contract should be negotiated to ensure a prosperous future for CUNY faculty, staff and students.