RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF STRIKING TEACHERS
AND OTHER PUBLIC WORKERS IN GREECE
PSC-CUNY, the Professional Service Congress representing faculty and professionals at the City University of New York, adopted the following resolution October 4, 2013.
Whereas, public employees in the U.S. and abroad continue to be pressured by local and national governments to bear the brunt of a world-wide economic crisis that was not of their making and accept layoffs and reductions in pay, job security, pensions and health care; and
Whereas, corporate interests have used the economic crisis as a pretext to push an agenda of austerity and privatization that enriches their shareholders by sapping resources intended for the public good, scapegoats public employees, threatens social safety net programs depended on by millions and diminishes the quality of public services such as education; and
Whereas, public workers in Greece who have already been subjected to several rounds of austerity-driven layoffs, salary reductions and other cuts are striking to resist a new round of cuts affecting 25,000 workers and layoffs affecting 15,000 workers planned by the Greek government under pressure from “bailout” lenders at the European Union and International Monetary Fund; and
Whereas, the class dimension of the layoffs that affect the Greek education system is revealed by the fact that they disproportionately affect specialties in technical high schools often pursued by lower-income students; and
Whereas, this development encourages the privatization of education, as many of the students who can no longer pursue these specialties in the public high school will have to turn to the private sector if they and their families can afford it; and
Whereas, the brutal austerity policies in Greece have undermined schools, leading to inadequate fuel and school heating in the winter, an insufficient number of teachers, and many students going to school hungry; and
Whereas, part and parcel of the austerity policies in Greece is a liquidation of labor and collective bargaining rights and draconian civil mobilization orders that have allowed the government to break strikes by teachers as well as by workers in other sectors of the economy; and
Whereas, public high school teachers represented by their labor union, OLME, are fully engaged in the fight against austerity and last week voted to launch a rolling strike against public sector layoffs starting on September 16, and
Whereas, ADEDY, a confederation of public sector unions, called a strike and organized mass demonstrations this week, and
Whereas, public workers in the U.S. face a similar assault, with budget deficits closed through layoffs and reductions in benefits, social safety net programs under attack and unions undermined and demonized; and
Whereas, educators in the U.S. are targeted as scapegoats and particularly subjected to the privatization and austerity agenda through charter schools, school closings, relentless testing and other so called “accountability measures,”
Whereas, PSC members are in the midst of our own fight against the forces of austerity by resisting public disinvestment in CUNY and the diminishment of our curriculum through Pathways;
Resolved, that the PSC stands in solidarity with the striking teachers and other public workers of Greece, we thank them for their sacrifices and for the brave stand they are taking against austerity, a misguided policy that worsens economic inequality and deprives working people of necessary public services.