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September 2, 2008

Ballots on Contract Ratification Due TODAY by 5:00 pm 

Ballots are due by 5:00 pm on September 2 – that’s today.  You can vote right up to 5:00 by phone or through a secure website, but for any voting method you will need the confidential PIN number issued to you by the American Arbitration Association. The PIN appears on the ballot mailed on July 29 to members eligible to vote. If you have questions about voting, call the PSC office at 212-354-1252. 

A ratification vote is a chance for you to have a say in your own conditions of employment; don’t miss the opportunity to read the proposed contract, cast your ballot and make your voice heard. The union’s negotiating team, Executive Council and Delegate Assembly strongly recommend that you vote yes.  But don’t rely on our word—study the agreement for yourself and cast an informed vote.  All contract documents are available online. Delegates’ statements about their votes are also available on the website.

Legislature Cuts CUNY by $51 Million

PSC members’ and leaders’ efforts to line up state lawmakers against Governor Paterson’s CUNY cuts were undermined by Chancellor Goldstein’s message that CUNY minimize the impact of the proposed cuts.  The civil service weekly the Chief-Leader covered the cuts last week.

The new budget cuts are partially offset by money from a CUNY reserve fund, but will also impact funding of OTPS (Other Than Personnel Services).  While Chancellor Goldstein said that the cuts will not involve layoffs, he has already imposed temporary hiring restrictions for non-student support "administrative" positions, and these new cuts will mean less support for the classroom and professional activities of faculty and staff.

Labor Day Parade This Saturday, September 6

Join fellow faculty and staff, as well as thousands of other working people, in organized labor’s traditional show of strength on September 6.

PSC members will gather at 11 am on 46th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues and are scheduled to march up Fifth Avenue at noon.  Look for the PSC banner and signs. Children are welcome -- we’ll have some crayons for sign-making, and a few labor-themed books to have a reading circle while we assemble to march. Add to the PSC’s list of pro-labor children’s book titles by emailing Isabel Mercado your favorite title.

Join us for a day of solidarity and demonstration of labor’s presence and power. Be part of the PSC contingent—contact Amanda DeJesus Magalhaes by email or at 212-354-1252.

Remind New Full-Time Colleagues: 30 Days from Appointment to Decide on Pension Plan

Remind your new full-time colleagues! New full-time hires must make a permanent choice about which pension system they select within 30 days of their start date. If you do not select a pension system, you will be automatically enrolled in the NYC Teachers Retirement System.  The PSC website includes a very useful chart comparing the pension plans, and information about the options is available at college human resources offices and from PSC Director of Pension and Welfare Benefits Clarissa Gilbert Weiss. Call her at the PSC office, (212) 354-1252.

Higher Ed Act Reauthorized -- Finally!

President Bush signed the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA) on August 14, five years after it expired.

New AFT President Randi Weingarten lauded the new law for making higher ed “more affordable,” including improvements to Pell Grants and loan forgiveness for graduates who work in the public interest.

The bill includes new reporting requirements, divides accreditation appointments among the House, Senate and Department of Education, and sets a penalty for states that let higher ed funding drop below the average of the preceding five years, reports the AAUP on their website. It does not, however, include language from the ultra-conservative initiative mislabeled “the  Academic Bill of Rights.” More information is also available from the AFT.

 

“I hope you all had a restful and celebratory Labor Day weekend.  Labor Day originates in the struggle for an eight-hour working day—one of the major victories of the labor movement.  But carving out even one day a year to honor the labor of working people took a political battle; the first labor day parade was in New York City in 1882, and the day was declared a national holiday—after years of lobbying—in 1894.  Come out and honor the tradition of celebrating workers; join the PSC contingent at the parade.  Wear your PSC hats and shirts!” – Barbara Bowen, President