Why “$7K or Strike”?

Adjunct faculty teach over half the courses at CUNY but make poverty wages: about $3K per course or $25K per year. That’s 54 cents for every dollar a full-time professor makes for the same courseload. The last union contract only deepened the inequality between adjuncts and full-time professors, with the biggest raises going to the highest-paid faculty.

This time around, we aren’t having it! We demand a $7K per-course minimum wage in the next contract and not a second later. $7K is a real step toward living wages for adjuncts, and it’s necessary for high-quality education at CUNY, since poverty wages force adjuncts to teach elsewhere and work other jobs, reducing the time adjuncts can spend with students individually.

Since the union’s contract expired in November 2017, the union leadership has been pleading CUNY management for a speedy contract, cozying up to Cuomo and Democratic lawmakers, and bussed some of us to Albany to lobby for $7K.

But this is not enough. The union’s lobbying efforts year after year for the CUNY Maintenance of Effort bill have shown that even if we get unanimous support from the state legislature, Cuomo will veto it, and lawmakers don’t care enough to override his veto.

No politician or boss will take our demand for $7K seriously just because we make a moral argument. Only a strike can empower us to confront our bosses – the college presidents, the Board of Trustees, and the mayor and governor – on an equal footing.