October 9, 2007
Union Victory for Grad Center Research Foundation Workers
Workers at the CUNY Research Foundation (RF) at the Graduate Center have finally won their battle to become a unionized workplace when ballots in a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) election were counted last Thursday. The RF workers voted overwhelmingly, by a count of 73 to 16, to join the PSC. The victory came after a long battle with RF management, which used every opportunity to delay the day that the workers’ voices would be heard and their ballots counted. It began in 2003, when RF workers organized to become a union shop and filed for an NLRB election, the statutory route by which workers in the private sector can unionize. (The RF is technically a separate, private entity, governed by federal labor law.) RF management protested the move and its formal objections delayed an actual vote by two years. When an election was finally held in May 2005, the RF again objected and the ballots were impounded pending an investigation of the merits of the management objections. These claims were rejected at every level of the NLRB, culminating in a unanimous June 29, 2007 ruling by the highest level of the labor board ordering the ballot count to go forward. When the ballots were set to be counted on July 18, there was one more delay caused by management’s challenges to the status of certain voters. Now at long last, the ballots have been counted and the Grad Center RF employees have voted to join the PSC.
In the meantime, the RF workers’ case has been a textbook example of how the NLRB election process that governs private-sector labor relations has become a tool for management efforts to thwart unionization. It is a graphic illustration of why labor law reform is urgently needed, and why the PSC and others in the labor movement support the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), a federal bill which would provide a quicker route to determining whether workers want a union in their workplace or not. Click here for more information about EFCA .
October 30 Mass Meeting for a Fair Contract
On Tuesday, October 30, from 6-8:30pm, the union will hold a mass meeting at the Great Hall in Cooper Union. Come to show the strength of our union. Come hear the latest news from the bargaining table. Come find out what you can do in the union’s contract campaign. Come if you care about our students’ future—and our own. For more information, contact Nick Cruz at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit the PSC website to sign up to attend and for updates on negotiations.
Adjunct Activism – Campus Equity Week
Campus Equity Week (CEW) is the last week in October. This biannual event is part of an international effort to call attention to and transform the unacceptable conditions of part-time faculty in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. This year the PSC will be participating in CEW by highlighting the indispensable role CUNY adjuncts play in making the University run and mobilizing to support the union’s adjunct-related bargaining demands. Come to the “First Friday” meeting of the Part-Time Instructional Staff Committee at the union office this Friday at 4pm to help organize Campus Equity Week on your campus! At the national level, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) will highlight an issue felt sharply at CUNY: teaching without job security and without tenure, adjuncts do not have the protection of academic freedom. At CUNY, academic freedom for all faculty is undermined when half the faculty teaches without it.
October 27 Anti-War Demonstration
On Saturday, October 27, PSC members will join others in a massive labor contingent for a crucial anti-war march. The PSC and labor marchers will gather at 11:30am on 19th Street in Manhattan, east of Broadway. The New York City demonstration is part of a national day of action with major demonstrations in 11 cities. With 974,000 Iraqis killed, 3,684 U.S. troops killed and over $450 billion spent, this unjust war has cost far too much already—but it won’t stop until we stop it. Please join us on October 27.
Lessons Learned in Solidarity: Forum on the Oaxaca Teachers’ Strike This Friday
Teachers in Oaxaca, Mexico, have been on strike for 16 months for better salaries and learning conditions for their students. They have inspired a mass movement in Oaxaca that has called for a new governor, a new constitution and a new respect for the public sphere. They have been met with repression and violence in a drama that is symptomatic of the world-wide assault on the public sector and working and poor people. How does this relate to us? What lessons can we learn from their courageous example? Join us for a discussion at the PSC with Raquel Cruz Manzano, one of the strike leaders, this Friday, October 12, 5:30pm in the union hall, 16th floor, 61 Broadway.
PSC Mourns Israel Kugler
The PSC announces with sadness the death of Israel Kugler last Monday, October 1. Kugler, one of the founders of the PSC along with Belle Zeller, was a lifelong champion of academic freedom, collective bargaining and democracy in the workplace. For more than two decades, Kugler led the United Federation of College Teachers (UFCT) and its predecessor unions. In 1972, the UFCT and Legislative Conference merged, forming the PSC with Kugler as its first Deputy President. Even in retirement, Kugler remained active, attending rallies, chanting on PSC picket lines, regularly writing letters to Clarion and, with generosity and wisdom, providing counsel to the union. The PSC, in consultation with his family, colleagues and many friends, will organize a tribute sometime in the near future.
SAVE THE DATE: TUESDAY, OCTOBER 30, 6PM, COOPER UNION: MASS MEETING FOR A FAIR CONTRACT
"As we near the date of the mass membership meeting on October 30, I want to extend a special invitation to two groups of members: those who have joined CUNY since the fall of 2005, when we held our last mass meeting; and those who have been here many years but may not think of themselves as the ‘meeting type.’ The only way the PSC can address the salary erosion and other issues that have resulted from repeated below-inflation contracts in the 1980s and early 1990s is to enlist our whole political strength. We cannot do that unless we meet together and act together. That’s why October 30 is so important.” ~Barbara Bowen, President