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February 2, 2009

Vote on Community College Cut Expected Tomorrow. Send Your Message Today! 

The legislature is expected to vote tomorrow on a deficit reduction plan for the current fiscal year. This plan includes a $4.2 million cut to CUNY community colleges for the spring semester – the semester that is already underway!  We must let legislators know this is outrageous, and they must enact a real, viable alternative. Click here to send a letter to your representatives. More than 9,000 SUNY and CUNY faculty and staff have already sent letters – but we still need more!

PSC leaders are in Albany this week, testifying and meeting with elected officials. The union is working to persuade lawmakers to enact progressive income tax reforms and using the rainy day fund and federal stimulus money to plug the budget gap. They are also arguing vociferously against the proposed 10% cut to community colleges this year and next, and the governor’s proposal to freeze state workers’ pay increases and introduce a five-day pay lag.

Amplify the PSC's argument in Albany: add your voice to the calls to oppose the cut. Sign the letter to lawmakers here.

Medgar Evers Adjuncts Face Payment Problems

CUNY told the union last week that Medgar Evers College failed to meet its obligations for adjuncts to receive payment January 29, 2009. The PSC is working with the University to ensure that this does not happen again and to expedite payment to all adjuncts. For adjuncts who were not paid on time and thus face an economic hardship, Medgar has agreed, at PSC insistence, to make advances. The college will be sending information on how obtain an advance to all affected adjuncts. If you need additional information and assistance, contact Albert Muñoz at the PSC, 212-354-1252. Any adjunct at other colleges who was not paid on time and faces economic hardship should contact a part-time grievance counselor in the PSC office at 212-354-1252.

"It is outrageous that CUNY continues to allow adjuncts at certain colleges not to be paid on time,” PSC President Barbara Bowen told “This Week.” “You can be sure that top administrators get their six-figure salary payments on time; it is shameful that those same administrators allow adjuncts to work for weeks and weeks without any pay at all." 

Members Respond to CUNY’s Research Foundation Management Offers of 0%

Research Foundation of CUNY management offered PSC members at the Central Office 0% for the first year and 1% for each of the next two years, plus higher health care costs after members voted overwhelmingly to reject an initial offer of a 2% increase for an 18-month extension.

To signify their opposition, members wore all black on Thursday, and pinned neon-colored signs to their shirts. See the picture on the PSC website, and check out more pictures of RF members in action in this month’s Clarion.

As negotiations continue, so does organizing for a fair contract, chapter chair Tony Dixon told “This Week.” He called last week’s action “a tremendous show of unity. We have proven to the RF once again that we are united behind fair increases for our members.”

Delegate Assembly: CUNY Budget, Proposal for New Community College, Proposed Resolutions on Gaza

The union's Delegate Assembly had a packed agenda last Thursday, starting with an ambitious plan for fighting budget cuts, tuition increases and labor concessions.  Delegates heard about the union leadership's intensive work in Albany and outlined plans for budget hearings on ten campuses this spring.  After a presentation on CUNY management's proposal for a new community college, delegates raised serious questions about the proposal's top-down approach, its focus on vocational education, and its potential threat to faculty governance.  Several individual delegates and committees had also proposed resolutions on the conflict in Gaza; after an open and passionate discussion in which sharply divergent views were expressed, several motions failed, and delegates finally voted to “take no position at this time on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and encourage delegates to the DA to hold conversations with members about whether the union should take a position on this issue.”

Budget Media and Policy Training This Friday

The PSC will offer a two-hour training for members on the facts and figures of the State budget this Friday, 2/6, from 4 to 6 pm in the PSC office. All members are invited. Please RSVP to PSC Communications Coordinator Dania Rajendra by email.

NYC Labor Chorus Celebrates Lincoln Bicentennial

The NYC Labor Chorus and Queens College’s Aaron Copeland School of Music are honoring Abraham Lincoln’s 200th birthday with a gala concert on Thursday, 2/12. The program includes labor composer Earl Robinson’s work The Lonesome Train; theorchestral score had been lost, but was recovered with the help of a PSC-CUNY grant, member Maurice Peress told the PSC. Tickets are available for purchase from the Riverside Church Box Office, 212-870-6784, and proceeds benefit the Riverside Food Pantry.

White House Taskforce on Middle Class Solicits Ideas

“Welcome back to the White House,” Vice President Joe Biden said to the heads of the AFL-CIO and Change to Win labor federations as Biden and President Obama announced the new taskforce on the middle class, which is soliciting ideas here. “I do not view the labor movement as part of the problem,” Obama said. “To me, it’s part of the solution.”