The Professional Staff Congress, the union that represents the City University of New York’s faculty and staff, ratified their new contract last week.

The contract includes a 10.41 percent in compounded salary increases, over a more than seven-year period, from Oct. 20, 2010, through Nov. 30, 2017. CUNY’s faculty and staff will also receive retroactive pay and a signing bonus. The agreement also includes a new system for part-time faculty, who are paid by the course, that allows them to gain stability. Appointments for those who teach part-time most frequently are going to be three years instead of one semester.

“PSC members have never worked harder for a contract,” said PSC President Barbara Bowen in a statement. “Thanks to our militant membership, the union was able to secure funding for back pay and wrest substantial gains out of CUNY management. A 94 percent vote for ratification demonstrates that an overwhelming majority of members know that the contract they fought for will make a real difference in their professional lives and in their ability to serve CUNY students. We have a vision of a university that offers a first-rate education to New York’s working people. The new contract is a step in advancing that vision.”

CUNY’s faculty and staff were without a contract for five years and haven’t had a raise in more than six years. The City University of New York’s faculty and staff have had enough.

The PSC and its members have engaged in concerted effort to get a new contract. Back in May, members voted in favor of authorizing a strike to achieve a fair contract from CUNY. Ninety-two percent of the voting members decided “yes” on authorizing a strike after the ballots were counted by the American Arbitration Association.

In March, PSC-CUNY members, students and advocates protested outside of New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Manhattan offices, calling for more public investment into CUNY.

“PSC members stuck together to demand a contract worthy of our work and supportive of CUNY’s inspiring students,” said Bowen in a statement. “Because of the campaign we mounted, the community and student support we galvanized and the resounding vote to authorize a strike, we had the power to make substantial gains even in a period of enforced economic austerity. I am grateful for the members’ strong support for ratification of the contract and eager to begin work on what remains to be done.”

Bowen added,“If we stay organized and remain in solidarity, a better university is within our power, and our power will continue to grow.”