Sami Disu, MPA
Adjunct Lecturer in Africana Department
John Jay College of Criminal Justice
Alternate Delegate to PSC Delegate Assembly
Endorsed by the $7K or Strike campaign
- End CUNY Austerity Funding
- Restoration of Tuition-Free CUNY
- $7K/course for part time faculty — or strike!
- Fund Ethnic Studies
Many of you know me through my union activism or as the adjunct liaison for the last two semesters. I am active on campus life and received the Black Student Union’s community service award last year. I am a member of the Free CUNY campaign, which is a coalition of students, faculty and staff to make CUNY tuition-free. I have participated in several labor/management meetings and I have significant experience in the workings of the chapter executive committee and administration. I am a member of the John Jay College executive committee and an alternate delegate to the union’s delegate assembly (DA). Those of you who know me well know that I am passionate about the welfare and vibrancy of our union and all its various memberships in the bargaining unit. As a first time union member in a nation whose union memberships have steadily declined over time, I take worker solidarity seriously.
I am asking for your support in becoming the next chapter chair because I believe the present course of the union in critical fights including contract negotiation is, fundamentally, flawed. We are in the midst of a crisis of leadership because we are aiming to settle a transformational labor contract with CUNY, but without a reasonable strategy to obtain it.
As someone who has been heavily involved in union activism over the last two years, it is my absolute belief that PSC-CUNY is not close to building the type of power that would compel CUNY or lawmakers to settle a fair contract that includes $7000/course for adjuncts and other important wins for CLTs, HEOs and full timers. I was one of seventeen CUNY professors who were arrested for civil disobedience at the board of trustees meeting in February along with Pres. Barbara Bowen and I have testified about CUNY underfunding at several of them. I have also participated in the union’s legislative lobbying efforts and, again, I strongly suggest our union has not built the type of power necessary to achieve the transformative contract that Pres. Bowen acknowledges it to be. And despite last week’s upbeat notes from the bargaining team, I don’t feel we are close receiving a useful contract to deliberate at the delegate assembly.
Here at John Jay College, a record turnout of union members at a special chapter meeting on April 15th approved a resolution urging the union to organize membership for strike aimed at achieving $7000/course for adjuncts. That meeting witnessed full time and adjunct professors coming together to pass a strong $7KOS resolution in honor of Adjunct Prof. Thea Hunter, who died prematurely because her course load was inadequate to qualify for health insurance. The passage of John Jay College’s resolution also precipitated the resignation of the chapter chair who had urged members to vote against it, arguing that full timers would not back strike. I believe the resolution passed because full time and adjunct professors are very motivated to end the two tiered wage system which makes a mockery of worker solidarity.
As an elected member of John Jay College’s executive chapter (EC), it is my duty to inform all members that your active participation in union chapter business is essential to ensuring your collective wishes and direction are acted upon. A case in point is the April 15th resolution which was a mandate for action to the union and our EC, but which was denounced and discounted by members of our EC at the delegate assembly (DA), after it passed. Keep in mind that the DA is where any proposed labor contract will be deliberated before sent to union members to vote upon.
I share this with you in such a candid manner because I believe it is critical for you to understand why your active participation within union business is necessary at this time. My commitment to you is a promise to continue elevating discussion of why our union should not settle for a weak labor contract. It is my hope that the John Jay College rank and file come together and participate in the union’s democracy. We are a strong fighting union which will win anything we set our minds to.
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