June 30, 2008
Tentative Contract Settlement and Ratification Process
As reported last week, the PSC bargaining team reached a tentative agreement for a 2007-2010 contract with CUNY on June 20. President Barbara Bowen wrote a letter to members providing an overview of the proposed settlement, which has been updated with further details since our last edition. You can read the updated letter here. Union and management representatives worked successfully with the State Legislature to achieve passage of the necessary “paybill” for the proposed contract in the final hours of the legislative session last week. A paybill is the legislative authorization for the funding of the contract and members cannot be paid their increases without its passage. It requires the governor’s signature to be finalized and cannot be acted on until the tentative contract is approved and ratified.
The approval and ratification process begins with the PSC Executive Council and Delegate Assembly, both of which will meet tomorrow evening. The DA will vote on whether to recommend the proposed contract for a ratification vote by the members. The DA is open to all members, and members are welcome. Delegates will be given priority for speaking and seating, as they have the responsibility of casting a vote. Other members will have many opportunities to discuss the proposed contract if it is recommended by the DA. The first four campus meetings on the contract are scheduled for next week, and meetings will continue throughout the summer. Members are invited to attend meetings at whatever campus is most convenient for them. Members of the bargaining team will be at each of these meetings. We will also produce a special issue of Clarion with details of the contract provisions, questions and answers and more, which members will receive at the end of July.
The campus meetings with bargaining team members that have been set up so far are (there will be more scheduled after the July 10-14 AFT convention):
John Jay, July 8, 1pm, room T630
Hostos, July 8, 1pm, room B506
LaGuardia, July 8, 1pm, room E501
Brooklyn, July 8, 12pm, Student Center Penthouse solarium.
City Budget Passes, Legislative Season Comes to a Close
The City Council passed an austerity budget late last night after Council leaders and the Mayor had announced a budget agreement on late Thursday. Despite a budget surplus of $4.6 billion, the shaping force of the budget was the gloomy economic forecast and its main theme was belt-tightening to weather lean times. Cuts to K-12 classrooms were restored, but advocates for everything from senior centers to youth programs criticized the budget for the harm it would do to New Yorkers. CUNY was not spared—despite the valiant efforts by PSC members and others—and the Council’s Higher Education Committee Chairperson, Charles Baron, was the sole dissenting vote on the budget agreement. Details of the CUNY cuts were not immediately available, but we will publish them as soon as we have them. Click here for Gotham Gazette’s coverage of the budget deal.
Last week also marked the end of the State legislative session. The PSC succeeded in getting approval of the CUNY paybill to fund a new contract (see above). The PSC’s main legislative priority for the session, reforming unemployment insurance so that adjuncts are not unfairly barred from receiving it, did not gain legislative approval. The PSC did make progress in gaining support for the bill, however, as it worked closely with the state AFL-CIO, NYSUT and other allies. With this broad-based coalition, the PSC will reintroduce and seek passage of the bill at the outset of the next legislative session.
AFT Union Summer
Last summer, 18 PSC members participated in the AFT’s Union Summer community service project that aided in the rebuilding of New Orleans and other projects throughout the country, The program was initially proposed to the AFT by Barbara Bowen, in response to the desire many PSC members had expressed to help in the post-Katrina rebuilding effort. This summer the AFT is once again sponsoring Union Summer projects. They are two-week service commitments, in August, and sign-up for them is on a rolling basis. Some will be in New Orleans, but others will be elsewhere; it’s important to note that volunteers do not get to choose where they will go. If you are interested in more information or signing up, contact Amanda DeJesus Magalhaes at the PSC office. Last year’s volunteers also held a panel discussion on their experience for union members in September.