November 05, 2015

Activists take to the streets for CUNY contract fairness

Author: Clarisse Banks
Source: NYSUT Communications
PSC CUNY protest
Caption: Professional Staff Congress President Barbara Bowen was taken into custody Wednesday night. Photo via Twitter user @eric_a_paul.

Dozens of Professional Staff Congress members, including President Barbara Bowen, were arrested this week when they refused to leave CUNY's midtown offices in a planned action to escalate their push for a contract.

“Working people, people of color, the poor of New York City - these are our students,” Bowen said. “Professors and academic staff are essential for a first-rate education, and CUNY needs to offer a contract that allows the University to retain outstanding faculty and staff. Chancellor Milliken’s inadequate offer will sabotage the quality of a CUNY education.”

NYSUT Secretary-Treasurer Martin Messner, who spoke at the rally in support of a fair contract for PSC members, was among those arrested in solidarity with the PSC leadership.

"I went to jail for a couple of hours, our members have been without a contract for years," Messner said after he and others were released.

The PSC has been working without a contract for five years - and salary rates haven't increased in six years. Bowen and colleagues had come from the bargaining table where, she said, the administration had made an insufficient offer.

Hundreds of pro-union demonstrators gathered in the street in a show of support.

PSC Protest

About 55 members of the Professional Staff Congress were arrested this afternoon for blocking the doorway of CUNY offices on 42nd St. Though the university put out an economic offer, PSC president Barbara Bowen said it was inadequate.

Posted by The Chief-Leader on Wednesday, November 4, 2015