The Ph.D. Program in History

at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York

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April 24 Vote CUNY Struggle!

The deadline for voting in the Graduate Center PSC election is fast approaching, and many eligible voters have yet to receive their ballot in the mail. Like nearly every feature of the PSC under the New Caucus—the party that has governed the union nearly unopposed for seventeen years—this electoral process discriminates against graduate students and adjuncts, who are forced to move around frequently as New York City rent outpaces their stagnant wages and PSC contracts distribute the lion’s share of the gains to the most highly-paid members of the bargaining unit. Note that when the New Caucus leadership wanted a high voter participation to ratify the concessionary contract last summer, members could vote online. In an election that formally challenges New Caucus rule, that option is off the table.

If you have not yet received a ballot, contact Diana Rosato at the PSC:, (212) 354-1252. Politely request a ballot as soon as possible. There’s still time! Ballots are due back on April 27th, so make sure you mail yours by April 24th.

Last week members of CUNY Struggle debated the New Caucus incumbents at the Graduate Center. You can watch the video here[]. This was the only debate of its kind in the entire CUNY system, and it demonstrated the clear distinction between the two choices voters have in this election:
On the one hand we see the traditional business unionism of the New Caucus, reliant on lobbying Democratic politicians, cutting backroom deals, and keeping members in the dark on every aspect of union business except the occasional open meeting where democracy is performed rather than embodied. The result of this failed policy is the mess that CUNY is in today, especially with regard to the tiered system of labor between adjuncts and full-timers. On the other hand, CUNY Struggle represents a movement of grassroots, horizontally organized, direct-action unionism aimed at laying the foundation for a broad-based social movement of university workers and students, independent of union leadership, fighting against austerity and tuition, and toward equal pay for equal work.

A “protest vote”?
In the days following the debate, a New Caucus veteran running against us at the Graduate Center issued a dismissive public statement calling CUNY Struggle’s campaign nothing more than a “protest vote.” This is what you can expect when you challenge the status quo at CUNY and demand democratic (open) bargaining, proportional representation, and that the union pay more than just lip-service to its adjuncts. You can read our response to Penny Lewis here[].
The New Caucus wants to tell you who CUNY Struggle is. But our supporters know that CUNY Struggle is your unpaid volunteer organizers at the Graduate Center, your rank-and-file rabble-rousers at the Delegate Assembly, your local activists building a broad working-class movement to demand real living wages and a truly free public education for all New Yorkers. Meanwhile, we launched a union chapter election campaign, the only contested election in our entire union, only to find members of the opposing slate claiming that our fundamental disagreements about political strategy are somehow personal slights. We know we are taking a risk in consistently and persistently denouncing the spinelessness of our current union leadership as well as ruthlessly critiquing the complete lack of vision put forward by our opponents. But we are doing so because we are committed in theory, in practice, and through material solidarity with the struggles of the exploited majority of our union and our city.
Anyone interested in cutting through the New Caucus attacks and seeing what CUNY Struggle is really about should look no further than our platform[], our many contributions to the CUNY movement[], and our vision for how bargaining can be different[], which we share with rank-and-file activists across the city[].

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