MAY DAY 2014
New York City unions joined with immigrant and community organizations on Thurs, May 1 for an energetic May Day rally at City Hall. CUNY Professional Staff Congress (PSC) members were there on the international workers’ holiday to demand a new contract with the City and better pay and working conditions for academia’s low-wage workers, adjunct faculty. As part of a national mobilization called May Day $5K, adjuncts represented by the PSC met up with adjuncts from SUNY and Pace University at the May Day rally to demanded a minimum starting salary of $5,000 per course for adjuncts. MORE
May 1, 2014 UPDATE
Today several United University Professions (UUP) chapters are taking part in May Day events, including a rally at SUNY New Paltz to support the Mayday 5K Campaign, a push to set a $5,000 minimum starting salary for adjuncts for each three-credit course they teach.
New Paltz Chapter President Peter D.G. Brown will join labor and student leaders as speakers at the noontime campus rally. Speakers will also address adjunct job security and workload issues. UUP has endorsed the Mayday $5K Campaign.
In Manhattan, Empire State Chapter members and more than 100 students from the college’s Harry Van Arsdale Jr. Center for Labor Studies will participate in a rally for labor and workers rights, immigrant rights and jobs at City Hall. Hundreds of unionists from dozens of labor organizations will also take part.
“We see participation in the rally as an extension of our labor studies program,” said chapter delegate Sharon Szymanski. “The issues highlighted at the rally are the same issues we talk about in our classes—fair wages, immigrant and worker’s rights, and safe workplaces, to name a few.”
At SUNY Cortland, chapter members will distribute copies of the Mayday Declaration to campus mailboxes. The Declaration calls for improving wages and working conditions of contingent faculty to ensure educational quality. Chapter members will also place posters calling for fair pay for adjuncts on community bulletin boards.
The Oswego Chapter will have materials about the plight of contingents and the National Mobilization for Equity available at the Campus Center.
The Oneonta Chapter will hold a May 1 campus meeting for contingents and their supporters. Members will affirm the purpose of the day, share experiences, and discuss long-term strategy.
About the Mayday $5K Campaign
Last spring, activists at SUNY New Paltz launched a Mayday $5K Campaign. This calls for a minimum starting salary of $5,000 for a three-credit course, halfway between the current average compensation and the $7K recommended by the Modern Language Association as a minimum starting salary. The Mayday $5K Campaign calls for a number of important measures:
1. Increase the starting salary for a three-credit semester course to a minimum of $5,000 for all instructors in higher education.
2. Ensure academic freedom by providing progressively longer contracts for all contingent instructors who have proven themselves during an initial probationary period.
3. Provide health insurance for all instructors, either through their college’s health insurance system or through the Affordable Care Act.
4. Support the quality education of our students by providing their instructors with necessary office space, individual development support, telephones, email accounts and mail boxes.
5. Guarantee fair and equitable access to unemployment benefits when college instructors are not working.
6. Guarantee eligibility for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program to all college instructors who have taught for ten years, during which they were repaying their student loans.
7. With or without a time-in service requirement, allow all college teachers to vote and hold office in institutional governance, including faculty senates and academic departments.
This $5K Campaign has been endorsed by nearly a thousand individuals, the New Faculty Majority and the statewide Executive Board and Delegate Assembly of the UUP, the nation’s largest higher education union. The $5K figure is not set in stone. Depending on the locale, it can be adjusted up or down, according to specific circumstances.