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November 2, 2009

400 Rally to Stop Budget Cuts
The PSC and sister unions at SUNY and FIT mobilized 400 people last Tuesday to demand an end to budget cuts, with little more than a week’s work.  Organized jointly by the PSC and UUP, the faculty and staff union at SUNY, the rally began with a gathering at Hunter College and included a march to Fifth Avenue, to the sound of drums and chants: “Hands Off Higher Education! Invest in New York’s Future.”
Speakers decried the policy decision of imposing additional cuts on public higher education, and represented the whole range of education in the state, as well as working people throughout the city who depend on CUNY. See pictures and a short write up on the PSC website.
PSC President Barbara Bowen’s testimony to the Senate committee about the governor’s proposed cuts to CUNY made TV and radio news last week. See her on NY1.
If you haven’t yet, do click here to send a letter to your representatives adding your voice to the chorus condemning the proposed budget cuts. Students can sign on, too.

Vote for PSC-Endorsed Candidates in Tomorrow’s Election
Tomorrow, 11/3 is Election Day – don’t forget to vote. PSC has endorsed Bill Thompson for Mayor, Bill de Blasio for Public Advocate, and John Liu for Comptroller – visit the PSC Political Action website to see all the PSC endorsements, including the endorsement in your City Council district and for Borough President.

The PSC Executive Council voted to endorse Bill Thompson for mayor at a special meeting on October 22, shortly after Thompson released a comprehensive plan for increased CUNY funding and improved support for faculty, staff and students. Thompson’s plan is an important statement about the centrality of CUNY to economic development in New York City. Click here for PSC comments on why Thompson is the right choice in tomorrow’s election.  

Full-Time and Adjunct Faculty: Fill Out the UFS Survey by 11/25
If you were a full-time or adjunct faculty member on April 1, 2009, you should have received a postcard with your user i.d. and password for the UFS Faculty Experience Survey. The survey data is being collected by a non-CUNY entity, Votenet.

If you have lost your postcard, you can call the toll-free Votenet number at 1-866-975-7133. Upon verification, you will receive your user i.d. and password. If you have questions about technical aspects of taking the survey, call Votenet. For other questions about the survey, you can email the UFS office or the principal investigator, PSC Executive Council member Kathleen Barker.

Delegate Assembly Report
Last week at their monthly meeting, PSC delegates discussed and approved the union’s 2009-2010 budget, heard from President Bowen and others about the proposed state budget cuts and the how the union is fighting back, and discussed CUNY’s proposed new community college. You can read more about the new community college here on the PSC website.

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.

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 testimony 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.

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.

David Harvey to Speak at PSC Forum on Afghanistan
Next Tuesday, 11/10 at 7 pm, the PSC will host a forum on the Afghanistan War asking, “Escalation? Withdrawal? What Should Labor’s Position Be?” It features CUNY faculty David Harvey and Jawied Nawabi and a panel of respondents. In the PSC Union Hall, 61 Broadway, 16th Floor.