Two things that everyone who shared or read news of the arrests outside of CUNY Central last night urgently needs to know:
1) The union pre-arranged the arrests with the NYPD. Those who agreed to be arrested were brought down the street, given a desk ticket, and released. Never mind that the union president claims the arrests were in part on behalf of the students of CUNY, who are routinely terrorized, harassed, and spied on by the NYPD—the union actively worked with the NYPD to stage their spectacle, and egregiously appropriated a civil-rights genealogy, and “racial justice,” in their public rhetoric about it.
2) The demand of “CUNY Needs a Raise”—that is, the equal-percentage across-the-board wage increases that the union is bargaining for—will maintain and even increase the pay disparity between adjunct faculty and full-time faculty absent any other measure (such as a minimum starting salary of $7K). The union, as it has consistently done, contract after contract, is actually fostering inequality with this demand—no help from CUNY management or the state even needed.
Instead of “CUNY needs a raise,” we should be calling for pay equity for adjunct faculty, the majority of the faculty (59%) and the ones on the front lines of introductory classes filled with working-class students of color that CUNY is systematically trying to exclude.