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March 19, 2007

Bargaining with CUNY Today

As we send this bulletin out Monday afternoon, the PSC bargaining team is meeting with CUNY management for the third negotiating session for our next contract. At today’s meeting, the union team is presenting management with research on salary data that makes the case for real increases, above the level of inflation. Check out the contract section on the union’s website for reports on previous bargaining sessions, a full list of the union’s demands and more.

“My Five”

When you read the PSC’s bargaining demands, you will see that they constitute an ambitious agenda, but it’s a realistic agenda if CUNY is serious about rebuilding the University.  The problem we face is 30 years of “pattern bargaining” that have worked to keep salaries low and working conditions sub par; and over 15 years of deficit budgets for CUNY from the City and State.  Even within that environment, the PSC has achieved breakthroughs—but only when we have organized.  The first step in organizing is talking to each other about the union and building the structures we need to reach and call on every member.  To make that possible, the union is creating a network for member-to-member contacts, called “My Five.”  The idea is that members across the University will select five colleagues with whom they will work closely throughout the campaign for a fair contract.  The My Five organizers will keep their five colleagues up to date on what’s happening at the bargaining table and how they can support the union’s work to rebuild our professional lives at CUNY.  They will help to create a union that can really mobilize its power.  The My Five networks are being put together on each campus now; the simplest way to join is to attend your next chapter meeting or contact your chapter chair.    

Budget Battle Continues—Write your Representatives TODAY!

If you haven’t already done so, please take three minutes—that’s really how long it will take—to send a letter to your State Assembly Member and State Senator urging them to add additional, urgently needed funding to the State budget for CUNY. Click here to send your letter now. PSC members are on their way to Albany this afternoon for another round of lobbying; 700 professors and teachers will be lobbying on Tuesday as part of a lobby day organized by the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT). April 1 is the target date for completing the budget and crucial decisions on funding are being made in the next few days. For copies of members’ testimony at budget hearings, the union’s TV and print ads and more information on the budget, click here.

 CUNY Week, March 26-30

CUNY funding comes from both New York State and New York City, and the PSC is launching a major effort to win improved funding from the City as well. Last Friday, March 16, PSC officers Steve London and Arthurine DeSola testified before the City Council Higher Education Committee. The City budget will be a major theme during next week’s CUNY Week (March 26-30). City Council Members will be visiting several CUNY campuses, and on March 28 the PSC will honor David Weprin, the Council Member from District 23 in Queens and the chair of the Council’s Finance Committee, as well as Prof. David Lavin, author of several books about CUNY’s open admissions policy, and the World Trade Center Community Labor Coalition. For more information on how you can get involved in your campus’s CUNY Week activities, contact Sabrine Hammad at the union office at 212-354-1252. For analysis on the City budget, click here.

Testimony on Expanding Health Insurance

On Friday, March 9, PSC President Barbara Bowen and several others testified before a State Assembly hearing on how to expand health insurance in New York State. They were there to advocate for placing part-time faculty on the City’s health plan and to urge the State to take the necessary legislative and executive action to provide health insurance to graduate employees and their dependents.  

Books not Bombs

PSC members joined thousands of others at the March to End the War on March 18 in New York. The demonstration was one of many throughout the country marking the fourth anniversary of the disastrous war in Iraq. For more information on the union’s work in opposition to the war, please visit the PSC’s Peace and Justice Committee page on the website.  


This has been a week of intense focus on the State budget; the other PSC officers and I have been in daily contact with the critical legislators in Albany.  On this issue, we work closely with CUNY management—in fact, the PSC has become the leading voice at the State level for increased CUNY funding.  For over 15 years, the State has shifted resources from the public sphere to the private.  That’s why CUNY has suffered.  There is still time to influence the budget outcome—inundate Albany with your faxes.” ~Barbara Bowen, President