It’s February 27th, the contract is up, everyone knew this was coming, and yet the leadership has been missing in action.  This is the first demonstration called by our leadership to demand a decent contract for the workers.  We don’t even know what the demands are, let alone what our part is in fighting for them.  There have been no meetings to discuss demands or strategy. We need mass assemblies to prepare for this contract fight and not surprisingly, there have been none. Workers are kept out of the picture, since the leadership does not want our input. The union bureaucrats fear that if we had the right to strike, they would lose control, hence, it is illegal, but not just because the city wants it that way, but because the union leadership needs it that way. There have been offers by past city administrations to the union that striking be made legal, but the union turned that down since if we did have the right to strike, we would lose the Triboro amendment which keeps all of our “gains” in place until a new contract is settled, but without the right to strike, negotiations can go on interminably. On the City’s side, there is no need to negotiate because the unions have been made impotent and the unions say, at least we still have our past gains in place. It’s a win-win for both the bosses and for the union bureaucrats alike. It is only the workers who are losing big time.   

 CUNY has suffered severe cutbacks, and thus we have lost thousands of students, giving CUNY the opportunity to cut even more. The answer to this lack of funding to make the students pay. Up until 1976 CUNY was completely free, but it was also largely white.  Now that the student body is made up of Black and Brown students, CUNY is trying to squeeze every cent it can out of the mos impoverished sections of the working class.  In the meantime the buildings are not safe, they are literally falling apart. At Bronx Community College a hot water pipe burst. Thankfully, the faculty member was not in his office, but this will happen again since the money  that was given to the administration for rebuilding the infrastructure mysteriously disappeared and the union has not held the administration accountable. Even though the situation at BCC has been remediated, there are still more pipes which are likely to blow, and regarding the contract,  there is no telling whether we will be receiving one any time soon.  WHAT’S THE PLAN?

DC 37’s contract has already expired and although the union has negotiated a contract that the rest of the city workers will be forced to follow, it is less than adequate.  They received 16.25% over a period of 65 months and 12 days. This is less than 3% a year. The UFT’s contract is up as well and rather than all unions striking together, we are divided and weak. The inflation rate is over 7% and unemployment is over 5%. Even if we did receive the same increases as DC 37, that would effectively be a pay cut. Inflation is projected to continue given the Fed’s penchant for raising the interest rates.  There is a class war on the NYC working class, but our side is not fighting back.What is most disturbing is the fact that CUNY has announced that it wants to cut deep, thus all the adjuncts will be retrenched, either now or not too long into the future, and the full timers will have to pick up the slack and yet there is no fightback; the union has not responded to these threats. Adjuncts are the most poorly paid workers in the union, and have been teaching 60% of the classes, but will have absolutely nothing to fall back on since our salary is so low there is no opportunity to save for a rainy day, and unfortunately, a major storm is brewing. . We must form committees to deal with these very real threats

As for the retirees, the unions have made deals behind our backs to slash Medicare.  Attached is a flier about the inferior healthcare that the Mayor and the insurance companies are trying to impose on NYC retirees.  WE SAY NO TO PRIVATIZATION OF OUR HEALTHCARE! According to the website Statista, “There have been almost 60 thousand COVID-19 deaths in New York State as of December 16, 2022. A majority of those deaths have been recorded in New York City: Staten Island, Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx, and Manhattan,” and yet healthcare is not considered a right and since the bureaucrats’ first priority is to get raises for its members, they have made deals with the city to cut retirees healthcare to the bone so that the workers who remain on the payroll will be offered some miserable wage increase, and although James Davis voted against the sell-out, he has not called for socialized healthcare, but has put forward some crazy scheme to raise money so that the city would not have to bear the brunt of the added expense. How Cowardly!

No one is being fooled by these misleaders. Adjunct wages are reduced to poverty levels so people are taking on jobs wherever they can find them. Evictions are at an all time high and police brutality, encouraged by our cop mayor, is also at an all time high. And yet, no matter how many times this strategy of relying on the Democrats has failed, the bureaucrats keep going back to it. According to the Clarion, the newspaper of the PSC, “Mayor Eric Adams’s executive budget proposal calls for across-the-board 3% cuts to almost all city agencies. Because CUNY’s community colleges receive the lion’s share of their funding from the city, PSC is pressing its allies on the New York City Council to advocate to reverse these cuts and increase the city’s investment in CUNY.” Are they mentally ill, doing the same thing over and over again and getting nowhere?  

It is clear that going hat in hand to the Democrats has never been a successful strategy, and yet the “misleadership” which earns hundreds of thousands of dollars more than its members, is unwilling to give up this strategy which is lucrative for them, but deadly for the members. 

 Workers are powerful if we stop working, but if we don’t, we will be made to feel powerless and hence we are told we need a stronger force, that is the DP to defend us, but the Democrats are a party of the ruling class, in the same way as the Republicans.  We need to rely on our own strength. AT THE VERY LEAST WE NEED TO TAX THE RICH! There are 112 billionaires in NYC alone.

 These bureaucrats are liars and it is clear that with their strategy , they will never get us out of this horrendous situation. We have to give them the boot and vote in a new leadership that will not accept the pittance that management is offering.  We are powerful, we need to strike even if the Taylor Law is in effect because our strike can change that too.  We have to stop relying on the Democrats to save us. Instead, we need to build a fightback, organizing demonstrations on all the campuses, building assemblies, stepping up our fight against CUNY central and ultimately  organizing  a party that will speak for workers; that is we need to build a labor party.