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October 26, 2009

Rally Tomorrow: No Budget Cuts to CUNY and SUNY
The PSC is joining forces with United University Professions, the union that represents faculty and staff at the SUNY four-year colleges; the United Federation of Teachers, representing K-12 teachers in New York City; the local unions that represent faculty at the SUNY community colleges; and the parents and students of New York to send a unified message to Albany: Do not cut public higher education!  In the context of all the midyear cuts, the proposed cuts to CUNY and SUNY are disproportionately high. Cutting public higher education now, when the need for it has never been greater, is a stunningly bad policy choice.  There are alternative ways to approach the budget deficit that don’t mean the loss of a decent future for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers.

Please do everything you can to come to the emergency mobilization tomorrow, Tuesday, 10/27 from 4 to 6 p.m. at Hunter College.  Bring your students, your colleagues, your community. 

This is our first major joint rally with UUP and UFT, and it presents a real opportunity to demonstrate how strongly people feel about public higher education. 
Governor Paterson has announced a plan to cut $53 million from CUNY’s senior colleges and $9.9 million cut from CUNY community colleges, he has already taken $90 million from SUNY and from student aid. 

PSC President Barbara Bowen is testifying against the proposed cuts today; First Vice President Steve London was in Albany testifying last week. Amplify their message --  click here to send a message directly to your legislator. 

PSC Endorses Bill Thompson for Mayor
The PSC Executive Council voted to endorse Bill Thompson for mayor at a special meeting on October 22.  PSC President Barbara Bowen said, “With the five-point plan for CUNY released last week, Thompson has announced, in a way the Republican candidate has not, that he sees CUNY as central to the life of the City. Thompson’s plan starts with full funding; he recognizes that now more than ever—with record high enrollments—restoring CUNY’s budget must be a priority.  Thompson has presented the kind of plan PSC delegates had expressed a hope to see; for that reason, the Executive Council gave Bill Thompson the PSC’s strong endorsement.”     

Thompson’s five-point plan for CUNY presents the public with a comprehensive K-through post-grad education agenda.  It is an important statement about the centrality of CUNY to economic development in New York City.

“Bill Thompson gets it,” said Steve London, PSC First Vice President.  “CUNY is the path to New York’s future.  And to make that a reality, Bill understands that CUNY must be properly funded and that the academic staffing crisis that has engulfed CUNY for years must be solved.  I urge our members to vote for Thompson for mayor because he will be good for CUNY and good for New York City.”

Thompson’s plan includes real funding gains, increasing the number of full-time faculty and improving the conditions for part-time faculty, plus more financial, curricular, and job support for students.  

RF Workers Continue to Mobilize for a Fair Contract
PSC members at the central office of CUNY’s Research Foundation (RF-CUNY) rallied last week for a fair contract. PSC and RF-CUNY management have at the bargaining table three times since the union members held a one-hour walk out and voted last month to authorize a strike, but RF-CUNY has yet to put a fair offer on the table. Please email Kian Frederick or call her in the PSC office, 212-354-1252, to find out how you can help in the fight for a fair contract.

PSC Budget Presentation on 10/29, Comments Sought
Every year the PSC Finance Committee, working under the guidance of the treasurer, develops a proposed budget for the union for the coming year. PSC Treasurer Mike Fabricant will present the budget as adopted by the union’s Executive Council in an open meeting on Thursday, October 29 at 5:30 pm in the Union Hall on the 16th floor at 61 Broadway (as always, bring your ID to get into the building.) All members are welcome and encouraged to come. The proposed budget then goes to the Delegate Assembly for approval. 

Do Your Due Diligence on Alternative Annuity Programs
There are vendors soliciting business from PSC members by offering financial products as an alternative to TIAA-CREF or HRC tax-deferred annuity programs. The PSC urges all members to read all documents carefully, check the independent research and make their selections with prudence. Members with questions may call PSC Director of Pension and Welfare Benefits Clarissa Gilbert Weiss in the PSC office, 212-354-1252.

H1N1 Flu: Is Your Campus Prepared?
Although New York City appears to have been spared widespread illness so far this fall, the union continues to press the City and CUNY to do more to be ready for this fall’s expected H1N1 epidemic since young people are particularly vulnerable. Bowen’s to the state legislature is available on the PSC website.
Have you noticed H1N1 preparations on your campus? Are you still waiting to see some indication of preparedness at your college? The PSC is asking union members to survey the conditions around their offices and classrooms and report them directly to the union. Take the survey by clicking here.

Welfare Fund Benefits Survey Set For November
The PSC-CUNY Welfare Fund will conduct a random sample survey in November to determine participants’ familiarity with the Welfare Fund benefits program and which plans they and their families are regularly using. The survey will also gather opinions on what benefits are most valuable and where members would most like to see changes. A sampling of all Welfare Fund participants, active and retired, across all job titles, will be invited to answer an online questionnaire or complete a paper version if they do not have internet access. Details are available on the Welfare Fund website.

Environmental Health and Safety Workshop This Wednesday
The PSC Environmental Health and Safety Watchdogs a second workshops this Wednesday. featuring health and safety expert Dave Newman who consistently garnered rave reviews from member participants. The next workshop, this Wednesday, 10/28, will cover your rights to a clean and safe campus – and how you can help win improvements.  It is at 5:30 pm in the PSC Office, 61 Broadway, 15th Floor. Confirm your attendance with the Watchdogs via email or by phone, 212-354-1252.

Learn the Contract: Workshops Continue Wednesday
Contract orientation workshops will provide members with a basic overview of contractual rights and benefits, the union's structure for contract enforcement, Weingarten rights and CUNY's various policies that affect the terms and conditions of employment. This training is intended for chapter activists and members interested in learning more about basic contractual rights. If you’d like to come, please RSVP to PSC Coordinator of Contract Enforcement Albert Muñoz.
The Summer Clarion covered the PSC contract enforcement department, and how it protects your rights. Click here; it is on page 7.

National Conference to Create Living-Wage Jobs for All on 11/13-14
The National Jobs for All Coalition, a group of unions and other organizations committed to economic justice and human rights, will hold a national conference on creating living-wage jobs for all on Friday, 11/13 and Saturday, 11/14. The PSC has endorsed the conference and PSC President Barbara Bowen is scheduled to speak. Learn more or register here.

AFT Urges Changes to Student Aid Bill – Add Your Voice
Urge your Senator to support the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, a reconciliation bill that will make college more affordable and accessible by increasing the maximum Pell Grant, making it easier to apply for financial aid and strengthening the Perkins Loan program, among other changes.  The House of Representatives passed the bill in September and it now awaits Senate approval. Also encourage your Senator to include language in the final legislation that addresses academic staffing inequities, permits program money to be used to create additional full-time faculty positions and provide equitable compensation to contingent faculty.  Click here to participate in the AFT’s Senate Letter Writing campaign.