New York, NY – Faculty and staff represented by the Professional Staff Congress (PSC) union held a rally on the first day of classes, January 28, 2022 at Medgar Evers College to demand that university management act to protect the health of students and workers, the jobs of adjunct faculty and the academic progress of students at The City University of New York, calling for no class cancellations or layoffs and improved health and safety protocols.
At the rally, the protesters distributed 1000 KN-95 masks as they press their demands for CUNY to:
1 Allow classes to run with small rosters and shift courses online as needed so students stay on pace to graduation and adjunct faculty remain employed.
2 Clarify and negotiate implementation of New York State’s employee vaccine mandate.
3 Expand testing and provide masks to workers that reflect the CDC’s latest guidance.
Following a 70% CUNY requirement for in-person courses, enrollments are lower than expected at many campuses due to the pandemic. Responding to union pressure, local college administrations are allowing many courses to continue despite COVID-related under enrollment. But minimum class sizes vary by campus and adjuncts are still at risk for losing income and possibly their health insurance.
At Medgar Evers, 10% of in-person classes have already been canceled, and several other colleges are enacting comparable reductions. Much of the $854 million in emergency stimulus money allocated to CUNY for pandemic relief is still unspent. CUNY is not facing the mid-year budget cuts of 2020. The resources exist to run courses with small rosters and keep adjuncts employed, and college presidents should move to stabilize the Spring schedule while the impact of COVID persists.
Since Governor Hochul’s January 5th announcement of a vaccine mandate for SUNY and CUNY, the union has yet to receive CUNY management’s proposed implementation plan or have the basic questions of union members clarified. Administrators have also failed to meet critical health and safety demands.
© Erik McGregor – firstname.lastname@example.org – 917-225-8963