Letter of solidarity from CUNY

25 Nov

(from those who use it):

Given the ridiculousness of both the UAW executive board and various UC student newspapers’ take on the contract, it is absolutely refreshing to read this letter of solidarity from our comrades in the CUNY Adjunct Project, a collective of graduate student workers organizing for fair wages and labor practices at the City University of New York.  Just the other day, the Daily Cal argued,

Indeed, the UAW members in Berkeley posted a piece Saturday that outlines their opposition.  We are willing to believe that many more intricacies in this issue exist, but union members are not articulating their concerns well to fully communicate what flaws they see in this proposal. To us, it appeared reasonable in not only incorporating wage increases but also making impressive gains in child-care subsidies.

Someone needs to explain to these idiots a little something called inflation.  It’s beyond us how they cited AWaDU’s piece without gaining this knowledge.  More to the point, UAW members at UC campuses currently make around $1000 less than their counterparts at comparable public institutions.  If this fact coupled with a subinflation “raise” is something to celebrate, then we must be living in a world where we should celebrate losses as victories.  Or perhaps we are, since this is precisely what UAW 2865 Vice President Daraka Larimore-Hall told theUCSD Guardian:

“It’s a great contract, particularly in this budget climate,” Larimore-Hall said. “It’s a strong package of guaranteed wage increases with the possibility of even more if the budget situation improves.”

We can’t say we’re surprised that this guy would celebrate an effective pay cut in real terms as a victory in order to advance his career.  We’d spurn him as a politician, but that wouldn’t be much of an epithet for the Chairman of the Central Committee of the Santa Barbara Democratic Party.  Anything to build your CV, right?

In any case, here’s the letter from our CUNY comrades.  Much love to them in their struggle, and we urge you to visit their site.

Dear UAW Local 2865,

As members of the Adjunct Project (AP) and other precarious workers at the City University of New York we join with members of AWaDU and those members of the UAW 2865 Bargaining team who encouraged members to voteno on the currently proposed contract (Nov. 21st 2010). In our workplaces, unfortunately management thinks it can force us to accept horrible conditions, low wages, and an unacceptable present and future for our children, partners, and extended families.  In our last contract negotiations, members of AP advocated for a no vote on a contract that was rushed over a summer period, and made no significant gains for contingent workers, who teach the majority of students.  Although we were not successful in voting no due to the objective conditions of a forced timeline, the mobilization for that vote has made us even stronger today.

Historically, contract negotiations have been moments of both strength and stress for the rank-and-file.  While contracts can be times for workers to rise up and make demands, negotiations can also feel demoralizing for workers, while management and representatives meet behind closed doors.  At CUNY, we both insist on transparency during negotiations so that we can militantly push for demands that we need, but also know that our power comes from our labor and our ability to withhold it, not from closed-door negotiations.  Voting noshows management the power of organizing our workplaces, that we will not accept less than we work for, and that we do have the power!  Right now, UC students across the schools are agitated and ready to force their power.  A better contract is one step in an ongoing struggle to push the demands for working people forward, but it is not the final step.

Brothers and sisters, we urge you to vote “NO!” and continue to struggle.

In solidarity,
Adjunct Project and Contingent workers at CUNY



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