August 13, 2007
Urge Governor Spitzer to Sign Bill for Pension Equity
The bill giving pension equity for participants in non-TRS retirement plans is on Governor Spitzer’s desk now. Do your part to tell the governor how important it is. You can call (877-255-9417), send a letter via the PSC website , or write your own, as Lehman Associate Professor Stuart Chen-Hayes did:
“…That extra 3% will help me and my family and my colleagues and their families greatly with housing and transportation costs,” he wrote.
Join your CUNY and SUNY colleagues and make your call or send your letter now. If you’re in TRS, you can still send your support – every voice matters. The governor has until mid-week to decide whether to sign or veto the bill.
CUNY, PSC Discuss Non-Economic Issues
The next formal bargaining session is on Tuesday, August 28, but in the meantime informal talks continue. The two sides have worked productively on non-economic issues and will be holding technical meetings for further discussion of these issues during the next two weeks. Meanwhile, however, the major impediment to reaching a timely contract settlement remains—CUNY’s representatives have still made no financial offer. The PSC bargaining team has told management that the failure to offer any money for a new contract signals profound disrespect for the faculty and staff. Taking our needs seriously means working with the City and State to make sure there is an offer on the table. Come to the session on August 28 as an observer and deepen your knowledge of the process. This is your contract—take the opportunity to see it being negotiated. Email Amanda DeJesus Magalhaes or call her at (212) 354-1252 if you would like to observe.
HEOs Overtime Arbitrarion Decision
The PSC-CUNY contract mandates a 35-hour work week, but often HEOs work much longer hours. An arbitrator ruled in July that CUNY must compensate HEOs with compensatory time. More information about the ruling is now on the PSC website.
If you would like to document your hours or have questions, email PSC Coordinator of Contract Enforcement Cynthia Campus or call (212) 354-1252.
Governor Spitzer Signs Weingarten Rights Bill
On July 18, Governor Spitzer signed into law an extension of the federal law providing “Weingarten rights”—the right of workers to have a union representative or a lawyer present during any meeting that might result in disciplinary action. (The PSC contract already provides this protection to members of our bargaining unit.) All workers in New York State now have this right – even if they’re not in a union..
“Weingarten rights” are named for J. Weingarten, whose 1975 lawsuit resulted in the rights for private-sector workers. The right was extended to public sector workers by the Clinton-appointed National Labor Relations Board in 2000, but reversed by Bush’s Board in 2004. A New York State Supreme Court decision declared that public sector employees in the state did not have the right to such representation under the Taylor Law. If you’re going in to talk with management, and you think disciplinary actions might be involved, you have the right to bring someone with you. If you find yourself in that situation, call your chapter grievance counselor or one at the PSC central office (212) 354-1252.
PSC’s state affiliate, NYSUT, the New York State Central Labor Council, and other unions worked hard for the measure.
“By the time you get next week's ‘This Week’ bulletin, we’ll know whether Governor Spitzer has vetoed our pension bill or signed it into law. I wrote formally to the governor last week explaining why the bill is both consistent with the legislature’s intent of maintaining parity among pension systems and an enhancement of higher education in this state. Hundreds of you have also contacted the governor —the PSC voice has been strong and collective. It has been a long road to this point—seven years of PSC work—and if the bill is signed, the victory will be collective, too. ."
~Barbara Bowen, President