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PSC-CUNY hold work-in demonstration on its contract expiration anniversary 

Mia Euceda

The Professional Staff Congress demonstrated in the lobby of Baruch College’s William and Anita Newman Vertical Campus to advocate for fair pay and more full-time faculty hires. It was held on Feb. 29, the union’s anniversary of working without a labor contract from CUNY.

The demonstration consisted of PSC members and CUNY students speaking on how CUNY’s staffing shortages, budget cuts and rising tuitions affected them. It was followed by a work-in, where adjuncts and students sat on the floor to continue grading assignments, catching up on course work and talking with each other. 

“Now we are forced to decide whether to stay here and do this job when the cost of living keeps going up and our wages keep going down,” PSC-CUNY member and Student Academic Counseling Center director Michele Doney said in an opening speech. “In the 10-year period from 2012 to 2022, adjusted for inflation, the real pay of the people in upper management has gone up more than 13%. And in the same period of time the salaries of the people who teach your classes and put together your financial aid packages and provide you with counseling, advising, tutoring and all the other things you actually need have gone down more than 5%. They pay us less so they can pay themselves more, and that does not make sense.” 

The work-in was part of the union’s continued efforts to obtain a new contract. On Feb. 24, PSC-CUNY, along with the New York Public Interest Research Group Queens College chapter, among others, lobbied for increased funding and on-campus advisors. 

PSC-CUNY graduate center delegate Nicholas Delvin said he has been an adjunct English lecturer for three years and has taught at numerous colleges. He added that he was overworked and constantly grading papers and emailing students on the subway. 

The Taylor Law makes it illegal for New York public sector employees to strike, though it did not discourage the union from demonstrating. 

Leo, a journalism major who redacted his surname for privacy, said he resonated with the union’s mission and has struggled with living and tuition costs. 

“I have attempted to reach out to the student emergency fund just to help pay for like a lot of medical bills,” Leo said. “And I know that if we did have a contract for this, a lot of these issues can be alleviated. I’m struggling with finding advisors, especially being a transfer student. It’s really hard to kind of just know where I am on track in terms of graduation in terms of my academic career.” 

Leo is a member of the CUNY Rising Alliance, a coalition that is also advocating for the New Deal for CUNY bill – ries for adjunct educators and improving the universities’ infrastructure. 

The New York City Council passed a resolution to support the bill in March 2022, but it has yet to be approved by Gov. Kathy Hochul and the state legislature. 

Editor’s Note: Sonia Kalo, The Ticker’s news editor, was present at the work-in. She had no involvement in the editorial process.

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About the Contributors
Mia Euceda
Mia Euceda, Arts & Culture Editor
Mia Euceda is the Arts and Culture Editor of The Ticker.
Jahlil Rush
Jahlil Rush, Production Assistant
Jahlil Rush is a Production Assistant for The Ticker.
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