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July 16, 2007

Contact Governor Spitzer Today to Sign Pension Equity Bill

The ORP pension equity bill that the union has worked seven years to pass is on the governor’s desk, and we need your help to secure his signature and seal the victory on this crucial legislation. You can send a letter to Governor Spitzer right now through the PSC website. You can also write a personal letter to the governor.

The bill (A.8447 and S.5208) was passed by both houses of the State Legislature on June 21. It will, if the governor signs it, give eligible Optional Retirement Plan (ORP) participants (largely those in TIAA-CREF) an effective increase of up to 3% in take-home pay after 10 years of service. This legislation would affect faculty, HEOs, CLTs, Researchers and Continuing Education Teachers—any eligible member in ORP.

At the time of ORP’s creation, the Legislature was explicit in its intent to ensure the equitable treatment of all public retirement systems. Legislation in 2000 gave members of the Employees' Retirement System (ERS) and the Teachers' Retirement System (TRS) who had ten years of membership or credited service in the pension system relief from contributions. The bill just passed allows ORP members in Tiers III and IV to catch up with their TRS brethren. If signed by the Governor, it would eliminate the 3% deductions from paychecks (1% each year over three years) and thereby would put an extra 3% in eligible members’ pockets.

The involvement of hundreds of PSC members over the years was critical in getting the bill this far—phone calls, faxes, e-mails to legislators, lobbying trips to Albany and more, it all made a difference. Now we all need to push one last time to get it signed.

Please take a moment now to write a personal letter to Governor Eliot Spitzer. Or, if you prefer, go to the PSC website to send a letter to the governor.

Campaign of Outrage Update

On Wednesday, PSC members took the “Campaign of Outrage” to prospective students on three campuses where the colleges were holding open houses. As “This Week” readers know, the union has mounted pressure on CUNY to change the policy at five colleges that pay teaching adjuncts only two hours during finals week for time they spend proctoring exams rather than the three hours pay rate they receive during the rest of the semester. The reality is that adjuncts, like other faculty, teach as much during finals week as in any other. Shortchanging adjuncts during finals week is not just cheap, it’s blatantly unfair and it’s an insult to our professionalism. At Wednesday’s open house events at Bronx, Queensborough and Kingsborough, members handed out hundreds of flyers and talked to dozens of students; students were generally very responsive and supportive. This action followed the May demonstrations during finals week where PSC members protested outside the administration buildings on all five campuses (the other two campuses are Baruch and Staten Island) and delivered 2,000 petition signatures demanding an end to this embarrassing practice. For more information on the Campaign of Outrage, visit the PSC website.

Clarion Recognized for Excellence

The PSC’s newspaper, Clarion, was recognized once again last week when it won a “best news story” award from the American Federation of Teachers (AFT, our national parent union) in its annual journalism competition. In June, Clarion also won several awards from the Metro New York Labor Communications Council, including first place for “best reporting.”  

 


We are pushing for a significant legislative victory for PSC members, one that will translate into real economic gains. The pension equity bill now on the governor’s desk represents years of work by PSC members. Getting it passed and signed also demonstrates the union’s growing political clout and recognition in Albany. But first we have to make sure it’s signed! If you can, please take a moment to write a personal letter and send it to the governor here. Or, if you only have a minute, use the PSC website’s 'Act Now' feature to send a pre-written letter; it will literally take only a minute.”   ~Steve London, First Vice President