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CUNY’s Faculty Union Votes to Authorize Strike

The City University of New York’s faculty union has voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike as a five-year standoff over a contract drags on.

More than 10,000 unionized faculty and staff members participated in the vote, and 92 percent voted in favor of the strike authorization, the union announced on Thursday. They don’t plan to strike during this academic year, said Barbara Bowen, the union’s president and a professor of English at CUNY’s Queens College, but might do so in the fall if negotiations with university leaders continue to fall flat.

The move followed New York lawmakers’ passage last month of a state budget that included no money for CUNY faculty members to receive pay increases. Professors there haven’t received a raise in six years, while the cost of living in New York City has gone up by 23 percent, Ms. Bowen told The Chronicle in March, citing a figure from The Economist.

If faculty members decide to go out on strike, they could face fines under New York state law.

Ms. Bowen wrote in an op-ed in the Daily News on Thursday that CUNY was struggling to retain faculty members because of the university’s noncompetitive salaries. According to a statement from the union, seven of the 11 professors hired in City College’s economics department over the past 10 years have left.

CUNY faced financial uncertainty for the first few months of the year after Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo pushed for New York to cut the university’s funding by one-third. He retreated from that proposal in late March.

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