New York City's public university system pink-slipped thousands of adjunct teachers despite accepting $251 million in federal funds earmarked to blunt the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, a lawsuit charges.
The union representing 30,000 of City University of New York's professional staffers charges the university violated the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act by axing 2,800 adjuncts, Law 360 reported Thursday.
"It is fair to say there would be no CUNY without adjunct faculty and staff," the union said in the complaint filed in New York federal court, the news outlet reported.
"CUNY's decision to lay off thousands of adjuncts is primarily motivated by its belief that it will suffer COVID-19 related funding reductions," the union charged.
But the union argued CUNY is projected to have $52 million in reserves by the end of the fiscal year despite the pandemic — and has $132 million from the $251 million provided by the CARES Act, the news outlet reported.
"Laying off 2,800 employees at a time when CUNY is especially crucial to the renewal of the economy of New York and the communities that rely on it sends a message that CUNY won't be there for them," union head Barbara Bowen told the news outlet.
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