Two days before the unveiling of New York state’s executive budget proposal, unions and community supporters of the City University of New York urged lawmakers to restore state funding for CUNY.
In a rally in midtown Manhattan, the groups called CUNY a lifeline of opportunity for working class New Yorkers, immigrants and people of color. Yes, since the great recession of 2008, the four-year CUNY colleges have lost 14 percent of their state funding.
“CUNY should be at the center of any plan for a progressive future for New York,” said PSC President Barbara Bowen. “A movement to rebuild CUNY is rising out of New York’s most spirited groups because CUNY represents many New Yorkers’ best chance to overcome the deep racialized gaps in opportunity and income that divide our city.” The state must also recognize the value and contributions of CUNY faculty, who haven't had a raise in five years, Bowen said.
"PSC's fight is our fight. It's a fight for fairness that resonates with every single NYSUT member who has gone even one day without a new contract or feels disrespected by an employer. NYSUT's officers and every one of NYSUT's more than 600,000 members stand in solidarity with the PSC in its fight to end six years of hardship with a contract that recognizes the exceptional work they do on behalf of CUNY students," said NYSUT President Karen Magee.
Other groups who rallied for restoration of the state funding included DC-37, the other staff union at CUNY. NYSUT leaders and members also joined their PSC colleagues, as did representatives of the city Central Labor Council, the state AFL-CIO, the Working Families Party, New York Communities for Change, Citizen Action, the Greater New York Labor-Religion Coalition and others.