Our professors don’t make enough money—at least that’s what they believe. And now they’re taking their demands for higher wages to the streets. On Tuesday, CUNY professors will take part in a mass rally and march in midtown Manhattan.
This isn’t the first mass protest. On September 30, about 1,000 CUNY faculty members marched in front of a meeting of the CUNY board of trustees at Baruch. One hundred faculty and staff members made it inside to interrupt the meeting.
Apparently, Professional Staff Congress (PSC/CUNY), CUNY’s faculty and staff union, is escalating the contract campaign because CUNY still hasn’t made a wage offer. Professor haven’t had a salary increase since 2009. “What’s at stake is the quality of education for 270,000 students and the well-being of 25,000 faculty and staff,” said PSC secretary Arthurine DeSola in an email. “But there’s still no money on the table.”
CUNY faculty have long complained of low salaries. Full professors start at $68,803. Nationally, full professors average $114,564 a year. CUNY assistant professors start at only $42,873 (less than most New York City grade school teachers), according to CUNY-PSC’s salary databank. Starting adjuncts make an hourly wage that adds up to only $3,000 a class per semester, not livable in New York City.
“Professors throughout CUNY are woefully underpaid,” says a tenure-track CUNY professor, who asked not to be named. “For many of us, our work is a labor of love. We teach for little money because we love our students and want them to succeed.
“No one is going to get rich as a CUNY professor and may even go broke an as an adjunct,” the professor adds.
On Tuesday, faculty will gather at the Community Church of New York (40 E. 35th Street) at 5:30 PM.
Says “PSC/CUNY president Barbara Bowen: “Our contracts are more complicated politically than almost any other public-sector contract in New York. “We refuse to settle for a contract that undermines us economically and professionally.”