February 4, 2008
Urgent Call for Information—Tell Us About the Need for Competitive Salaries
The most important thing you can do within the next two weeks to help us achieve a good contract is to write to the union about how the lack of competitive salaries hurts our students and hurts CUNY. Click here to send your story—or your department’s or program’s story—to the PSC negotiating team. Write in whatever form is comfortable for you, but please be as accurate and detailed as possible. Make sure to include your name, title, department and campus, and let us know if you don’t want us to use your name publicly. We need to hear from every corner of the University—Distinguished Professors, department chairs, professional staff, staff in computer and science labs, adjuncts, junior faculty, everyone—about the effect of CUNY’s failure to provide competitive salaries. Your stories are the most effective tool we have in realizing the PSC’s ambitious goal in this round of bargaining: a contract that begins to restore the erosion in our salaries that has occurred over 30 years and has now reached a crisis point.
Send your story within the next two weeks—by Tuesday, February 19—so it can have an impact on the financial offer CUNY is expected to make to the union. We want to hear about your department’s ability to hire, about colleagues (or yourself) looking for new jobs because of low salaries, about the damage low salaries do to your own ability to contribute as fully as you would like to the University and the students.
Union Targets Valentine’s Day for Parental Leave Actions
“CUNY, stop breaking our hearts! Give us time with our families!” say the Valentine’s Day cards that the PSC will be asking faculty, staff and students to sign on at least 13 campuses on February 14. The postcards are part of an effort to let CUNY know how outraged faculty, staff and students are that CUNY does not offer a single day of paid family leave—an outrage the union is fighting hard to change through its demand for paid leave in this round of bargaining. To join the Valentine’s Day actions, contact Albert Muñoz at the PSC office. To see the November WNBC feature story about PSC members “Choosing between Career and Baby,” click here. For bargaining news, resources and background, visit the negotiations section of the website.
Pressing the Case for CUNY Funding, from Albany to City Hall
Last week the union made its case for reinvestment in CUNY to State and City legislators at three separate events. On Tuesday, the PSC legislative breakfast in Albany was attended by 50 State lawmakers and aides to another 25; we also honored Deborah Glick, chair of the Assembly’s Higher Education Committee and a longtime ally in the fight for CUNY funding. On Wednesday, PSC President Barbara Bowen testified before a joint Assembly and Senate committee about the budget. And on Thursday, Bowen and First Vice President Steve London testified on the Commission on Higher Education’s preliminary report at the City Council. The Commission identified chronic underfunding as a key structural problem CUNY faces—a point the PSC has been making for years—and that recognition is critical to realizing a significant reinvestment in CUNY. Governor Eliot Spitzer has given unprecedented prominence to higher education, but has not yet proposed the funds to support his vision. There has never been a better opportunity to press our case for CUNY funding.
On Friday, the union will be testifying again, this time before the Assembly Higher Education Committee, about the CHE report. The committee hearing will be in Manhattan, at 250 Broadway, at 10:30 Friday morning. If you would like to testify, please contact Kate Pfordresher in the union office for information on how to sign up.
Visit the 2008 budget section of the website for the union’s brochure on budget and legislative priorities, copies of testimony and more.
PSC/CUNY COPE Makes it Possible
The union’s budget and legislative advocacy is paid for by voluntary member contributions to PSC/CUNY COPE, the political action arm of the PSC and part of the VOTE-COPE programs of the parent bodies with whom we are affiliated, the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). VOTE-COPE funds are voluntary and separate from dues income. A mailing going out today explains how the program works, what the union has accomplished through VOTE-COPE, and how members can sign up to make payroll deductions to support VOTE-COPE. If you want better funding for CUNY, sign up for VOTE-COPE when you get the mailing. It’s what gives us a voice in City Hall, Albany and Washington.
Health and Safety Workshop Series Begins Tomorrow
On February 5, 13 and 26, the PSC Environmental Watchdogs, our union’s health and safety committee, will sponsor a series of workshops that offer training on how to identify and resolve environmental issues at CUNY. The February 5 session will be about indoor air quality; on February 13, the goal is “know your rights” about occupational safety and health; and the February 26 workshop will look at environmental problem-solving through local health and safety watchdog committees. All sessions, at which dinner will be provided, are in the PSC union hall, 61 Broadway, 16th floor, from 5:30-7:30pm. To sign up, e-mail the Watchdogs or call them at the union office, 212-354-1252; ask for the heath and safety desk. For more information, see the website.
NYS Primary: Go vote!
The New York State presidential primary, part of “Super Tuesday,” will be tomorrow, February 5. The union leadership urges you to use your vote and to remain engaged with the political process long after the election is over.