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January 11, 2010

Celebrate MLK Day, Rally for Educational Justice
The PSC will mark Martin Luther King Day by observing the holiday and closing the office, but also by rallying for educational justice this Saturday.  Join activists for educational justice from across the city for a rally at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem at 11:30 AM on Saturday, January 16.  Speakers include Reverend Calvin Butts and PSC President Barbara Bowen.  The rally will voice a demand for education that prepares students for college, not just for passing tests—and for sufficient funding to allow CUNY to provide the education they deserve.   Please make every effort to be there and help to create a strong PSC presence at this opportunity for a profound celebration of the holiday. Abyssinian Baptist Church is located at 132 Odell Clark Place (West 138th St.). For more information, contact Kate Pfordresher

Urgent Action: Equal Treatment for Public and Charter Schools
Lawmakers in Albany need to hear from you immediately. Citing a deadline for applying for federal “Race to the Top” funds, Gov. Paterson is pressing the Legislature to pass a bill by January 14 that would lift the cap on charter schools without implementing any of the reforms needed to fix the law. Unlimited charter schools would mean further degradation of the non-charter public education system.

Tell your representatives to oppose the governor's proposed bill and support "Chartering Fairness," a plan that benefits all students and taxpayers with provisions that include:

•Requiring charter schools to serve the same population as regular public schools, including English language learners and students with disabilities;

• Subjecting charter schools to the same audits and disclosure requirements as regular public schools;

• Banning for-profit operators. Kids must come before corporate profits.

Click here to send a free fax urging the Legislature to do the right thing. For more information, click here.

RF Workers Approve New Contract
CUNY Research Foundation Central Office workers overwhelmingly ratified a new four-year contract on January 7. The contract, which was approved with a 93% “yes” vote, was the culmination of a year-long campaign. The Research Foundation’s Board of Directors is expected to approve the agreement later this month.

The 85 PSC members in the RF Central Office bargaining unit will receive raises of 3%, 3.25%, 3.5% and 3.25%, or 13.65% compounded over the next four years. Union negotiators also were able to hold down the increase in health care premiums and to double the optical benefit. For more details, including a contract settlement summary and the memorandum of agreement between the PSC and RF management, click here.

GROWing a New Generation of CUNY Activists
The PSC has again teamed up with the United States Students Association to offer students training in organizing skills, information about the CUNY budget process and an opportunity to meet activists from other colleges. The trainings will be held on two Saturdays, January 30 and February 6. The all-day programs are held at the PSC office at no cost; we provide Metrocards to cover students’ transportation. Please let your students know and pass on this link where they can download fliers and sign up electronically. For more information, contact Kate Pfordresher (212) 354-1252 or GROWforCUNY@pscmail.org.

Daily News Calls Out CUNY Exec Pay Raises
The January 7 Daily News took note of the hefty raises recently received by top CUNY officers and campus presidents. Brooklyn College student Tara Mulqueen is quoted in the article about the injustice of such large pay raises coming at a time when many students are struggling to pay increased tuition. To see the article click here. For details and Clarion’s coverage on pay raises for CUNY’s top executives, click here.

2010 PSC Chapter Elections Notice
This spring half of the PSC’s chapters will be electing officers, delegates and alternates to the PSC Delegate Assembly, as well as members of the PSC-CUNY Welfare Fund Advisory Council. Nominating petitions will be available upon request  from chapter chairpersons or the PSC office from February 1, 2010 to March 8, 2010. Properly completed nominating petitions must be received at the PSC office, 61 Broadway – Suite 1500, New York, N.Y. 10006, by 5:00 pm, March 8, 2010. Ballots will be mailed to members’ home addresses on April 5, 2010  and must be received at the PSC office by 5:00 pm on April 29, 2010. For more, click here.

Saturday Matinee at the PSC on January 23
Continuing this year’s theme of “Crisis”, Labor Goes to the Movies will have a special afternoon screening on Saturday, January 23, at 12 pm when it shows A Grin Without a Cat, a reflective documentary by the acclaimed French director Chris Marker that looks at the trajectory of the international left since the Cuban Revolution. The movie will be shown at the PSC Union Hall at 61 Broadway, 16th Floor (bring photo ID to enter the building).

PSC Goes to the (Working) Theater
The legendary Working Theater Company is marking its 25th anniversary with 25 weeks of performances and readings beginning in January. Join a special PSC theater party for a featured performance and discussion of Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory, about the life and times of Frederick Douglass, performed by Tony-nominated actor André De Shields, on Sunday, February 7 at 3 p.m. Click here for information about how to get tickets. (Note: The performance’s day of the week was misstated in the last Clarion; it is in fact Sunday, February 7.)

The Future of Shared Governance
As public universities move to increasingly top-down, corporate models of control, the American Association of University Professors is leading the fight to preserve shared governance. On February 8, AAUP President Gary Rhoades and Manfred Phillip, President of CUNY’s Faculty Senate, will speak on faculty governance from 1-3 pm at the PSC Union Hall, 16th floor, 61 Broadway. The event is sponsored by the Retiree Chapter, but is open to all union members. For more on Gary Rhoades and AAUP, see Lenore Beaky’s article on page 11 of the current issue of Clarion.