PSC-CUNY Members in Support of the March 4 National Day of Action to Defend Education
We, the undersigned members of the Professional Staff Congress-CUNY, hereby declare our support for a National Day of Action to Defend Education on March 4, 2010, our opposition to attacks on the City University of New York (CUNY), its employees and its students, and our solidarity with Californian teachers and students in their struggle to defend their jobs and universities.
Higher education is being attacked on a truly massive scale in California, including budget cuts of $813 million to the University of California (UC) and $564 million to the California State University (CSU). These cuts have resulted in the elimination of nearly 4,000 jobs from the UC system, impending layoffs at CSU, and furloughs and pay cuts at both schools. Students are also under attack, with both UC and CSU instituting tuition hikes, including a massive 32 percent tuition hike at the University of California. To protest these attacks, UC faculty staged a one-day walkout in September 2009, and in October 2009 a conference of over 700 teachers, students and workers from California’s universities and K-12 public education system voted to hold a state-wide day of action on March 4, 2010. This in turn inspired calls by groups in California and around the country to make March 4 a national day of action to defend public education.
In New York City, faculty, staff and students at CUNY are facing attacks similar to those in California. In the last two years, the state has cut $172 million from CUNY's budget. Now Governor Paterson is proposing another $104 million in cuts, including $21 million in salary and benefit reductions for CUNY employees, $64 million from the senior colleges, and $19 million from the community colleges. Some adjunct instructors, who receive poverty-level wages and benefits and have little or no job security, have already lost scheduled teaching appointments for 2009-10. Governor Paterson is also attacking CUNY students with proposals to cut TAP financial aid and to let the Board of Trustees raise tuition annually, which the Board has already proposed doing starting in Fall 2010. This follows tuition hikes of $300 per semester for senior colleges and $175 per semester for community colleges that went into effect in Fall 2009.
Public school teachers and students in New York City are under attack as well. The city’s Department of Education is seeking to close 21 public schools, increase the number of non-union charter schools in the city, and attack teacher tenure, while the state’s Education Department is now seeking to close or restructure 34 schools in New York City as well. We oppose these attempts to weaken and privatize the public school system and to attack the job security, pay and right to organize of teachers.
For all of these reasons, we support the March 4 National Day of Action to Defend Education and call on the PSC to endorse and mobilize for it. We add our voices to those unions and labor organizations that have already endorsed March 4, including the California State University Employees Union, California Labor Federation, California Faculty Association, California Federation of Teachers, United Teachers of Los Angeles, United Educators of San Francisco, and AFSCME Local 444.