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September 29, 2009

RF Workers Vote to Authorize Strike
PSC members at the RF-CUNY Central Office voted 91% "yes" for a strike authorization on Thursday, 9/24 with 83% of the workers voting. The story is in on page 2 of this week’s Chief-Leader. (Read it here; subscription required.)
“This is about respect,” explained Chapter Chair Tony Dixon. “By all indicators, RF-CUNY has plenty of money. It’s hard for us to watch as they spend it on a 44% raise for President Rothbard and on an expensive anti-union law firm, when they could be putting that money toward a fair contract for us. So it’s really about respect.”
Fisner Antoine, chapter vice chair, watched as the “yes” votes piled up. “It was amazing. The turnout and the 91% yes vote shows we are united in our struggle for a fair contract,” he said.
The vote – which authorizes the bargaining committee to call a strike if and when they deem necessary – came 10 days after workers held a one-hour walk out

Delegate Assembly Report
The union’s governing body convened on Thursday at the first Delegate Assembly of the academic year. Delegates discussed a report from PSC President Barbara Bowen on the union’s strategic direction for the coming year, had their first look at the proposed PSC budget for 2009-10, and voted on the union’s legislative agenda for this year’s session.  After a rich discussion, they also voted to support the Legislation Committee’s recommendation to make no endorsement in the mayor’s race “at this time.”

Still Time to Vote in Today’s Democratic Run-Off Election
The PSC has endorsed Bill de Blasio for Public Advocate and John Liu for Comptroller in today’s run off election. All registered Democrats who live in the five boroughs are eligible to vote – polls don’t close until 9 pm. The PSC Political Action Committee website has more information on de Blasio, Liu, a flier for you to download to share with your colleagues, plus information about the PSC’s endorsement process and an update on the 43 PSC-endorsed candidates who won their primaries. It’s all at www.psc-politicalaction.org.

Click and Rally in Solidarity with Stella D’oro Workers
Delegates also gave a warm reception to a worker from the Stella D’oro factory in the Bronx, who had been on strike for 11 months.  They unanimously approved a resolution to increase the PSC’s support for the Stella D’oro workers, members of BCTGM Local 50, who are fighting to keep their plant in the Bronx.  The resolution calls on the PSC to “commit itself to mobilize the membership to support future demonstrations…and to reach out to other labor unions to the same.”
Dozens of PSC members participated in Friday’s demonstration; join the union’s contingent at the demonstration this Friday, 10/2, at 3:00 pm at the cookie plant, 237th and Broadway in the Bronx.
Can’t make it to the Bronx on Friday? You can click here to tell Lance, Inc., you want them to “Keep Stella in the Bronx!”

The H1N1 Flu, CUNY and You: Forum Tomorrow
“Pandemic in the Workplace: Are We Prepared?” is the subject of a forum hosted by the New York Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH) on Wednesday, 9/30 at 2:00 pm in the PSC Union Hall. Panelists include officials from the NYC Department of Health, OSHA, and the AFL-CIO. RSVP via email.

The union’s Environmental Health and Safety Watchdogs committee held a CUNY-focused meeting about H1N1 last week. Campus reports indicate a lack of preparedness University-wide, committee co-chair Joan Greenbaum told “This Week.” More prevention information is on page 3 of the current issue of Clarion. Greenbaum encourages PSC members to contact the Watchdogs (call 212-354-1252 or click here to email) with questions, concerns, or information.

Bedbugs at John Jay
Last week, after news broke of a bedbug situation at John Jay, the PSC assured members at John Jay it was working to safeguard their right to a safe and healthy workplace in a statement released Friday.  Chapter Chair Carl Williams and other leaders are in frequent contact with the administration, PSC Barbara Bowen wrote members. “Our primary concern is your well-being. Under the contract, the University is responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace, and we will hold CUNY to that responsibility. It is also the union's position that no one should lose pay or leave time
because of the condition in North Hall,” she wrote.

Student Organizing Training This Saturday and 10/18
After a very positive response last year, the PSC is again sponsoring the US Student Assocation’s GrassRoots Organizing Training this semester. Led by the United States Students Association, the training this Saturday, 10/3, will prepare students to fight for their interests, and for CUNY’s. The second day, Sunday, 10/18, will offer in-depth training on the facts about public funding for CUNY’s budget. Students from any CUNY campus, undergraduate or graduate, are welcome to this free training. Please let your students know! They can learn more or sign up here on the PSC website.

Solidarity with Hunter Cafeteria Workers
Last week, the Hunter PSC Chapter endorsed the upcoming rally of Hunter cafeteria workers, members of UNITE HERE Local 100. The workers’ new employer is seeking concessions on pension, health care and wages. Cafeteria workers held a walk out earlier this month and will rally on Monday, 10/5 at 3 pm outside Hunter’s West Building.

PSC Takes Action After CUNY’s Failure to Pay Grad Assistants
CUNY failed to pay hundreds of graduate assistants on time this semester. “It is unacceptable not to pay people in a timely way for the work they are doing for the University,” PSC President Barbara Bowen said at a meeting with affected members at the Graduate Center earlier this month.
Bowen noted that the Adjunct Project of the Doctoral Students’ Council has also done a great job of advocating for Graduate Assistants who need to obtain a pay advance. Graduate assistants in need of an advance should email Mr. A. Abraham (aabraham@gc.cuny.edu) with “paycheck” in the subject line. Those who face particular hardship can contact PSC Coordinator of Contract Administration Albert Muñoz by email (amunoz@pscmail.org) as well. Adjuncts who have been paid late should also email Albert Muñoz.