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August 8, 2008

Contract Ratification Underway

Ratification ballots for the new contract were mailed to all eligible members last Tuesday. If you do not receive your ballot this week, please contact Donna Williams-DeVose in the PSC office at 212-354-1252. The PSC website has copies of documents members need to cast an informed vote: a summary of the contract, the official Memorandum of Agreement signed by CUNY and the PSC, a letter from Chancellor Goldstein on 100 adjunct conversion lines, a signed agreement on the provision of health insurance for doctoral student employees, FAQs and the special contract issue of Clarion. Members will have until September 2 to cast their votes, and they will be able to vote by phone or web interface as well as by traditional mail ballot. All three forms of voting involve a special PIN number to ensure confidentiality and security. Both the extended timeline and the multiple voting methods were designed to ensure that the logistics of summer would not bar any eligible member from voting. As in past ratifications, the entire process is being supervised by the American Arbitration Association.

HEO Meeting on Overtime Agreement Tomorrow

There will be a special meeting of the PSC HEO Chapter tomorrow, Tuesday, August 5, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the CUNY Grad Center, concourse level (dinner served) focused on the agreement on overtime compensation that PSC members, collectively, worked long and hard to win. HEO Chapter leaders—including Jean Weisman, Iris DeLutro and Arthurine DeSola—grievance counselors and PSC First Vice President Steve London will be there to explain the details of the overtime agreement reported on in the last two editions of “This Week in the PSC” and to answer questions. A letter and fact sheet explaining the background mailed to all HEOs last week. You can read them on the website. Please RSVP for tomorrow night’s meeting to Nick Cruz.

Be One of the Million Signatories in Support of Labor Rights

Last month the American Federation of Teachers (AFT, our parent union) announced a campaign to collect one million signatures on a petition calling on the new president and Congress to pass the federal Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA). EFCA would reform our national labor law to protect the right of workers to form unions. Current labor law is tilted in favor of the employer and fails to guarantee that workers who try to form unions will not face vicious anti-union campaigns by their employers. The result is that fewer workers are able to join unions, which means fewer workers have the power to bargain for better wages and work conditions. This dynamic means that there is a downward pull on the pay and quality of all jobs. Add your name to the petition today.

WTC Coalition Sees Bill Introduced

After seven years of work by the World Trade Center Community-Labor Coalition, which the PSC helped to found, H.R. 6594, the 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2008 was finally introduced in Congress last week. The bill, if passed, would guarantee federally funded health care for residents, students, area workers, first responders and cleanup workers suffering the negative health effects of the attacks on the World Trade Center. CUNY is the only educational institution that lost a building on September 11, when the Fiterman Hall campus of BMCC was destroyed. Hundreds of PSC members work or live in the World Trade Center area. The World Trade Center Community-Labor Coalition is a broad network representing hundreds of thousands of Lower Manhattan residents, including community groups, labor unions, tenants associations, students and environmental and health advocacy organizations.

Joan Greenbaum, of the PSC Environmental Health and Safety Watchdogs, said, “We all worked hard to get this bill introduced and will work even harder to get it passed.”