November 12, 2007
PSC on NBC Tomorrow Morning
PSC activists at Queens College who have been organizing to push for paid parental leave caught the attention of local media. Following two stories in the Queens student paper, Knight News, by student journalist Herman Araya, highlighting PSC members and the union’s demand for paid parental leave in this round of bargaining, a producer at WNBC wrote to one of the Queens members, and as a result “Today in New York,” the station’s morning news show, is doing a feature story on the Queens activists and the PSC’s negotiations. The story will run TOMORROW, Tuesday, November 13, at 5:50am (the program runs from 5 to 7am). WNBC interviewed Queens chapter members Julie George, Karen Strassler and Amy Chazkel on campus, as well as President Barbara Bowen; and they came to the mass meeting on October 30, where they also interviewed Keena Lipsitz, from Queens, and Carolina Bank Muñoz from Brooklyn. So set your alarm early tomorrow and watch the PSC on NBC!
Come Testify on the 2008-2009 CUNY Budget
CUNY has issued its preliminary budget request for 2008-2009. The CUNY Board of Trustees will hold a public hearing on Monday, November 19, before meeting later this month to vote on the proposal. The PSC encourages union members, students and the public to testify.
CUNY’s budget request makes important advances in some areas, but, in the union’s view, is still inadequate. (For a summary of CUNY’s proposal, go to “Item C: FY2008-2009 Budget Request” of the Board of Trustees Calendar Nov 26, 2007). In particular, the PSC does not support the proposed tuition increase, making students pay for the historic disinvestment in CUNY. The proposed budget’s commitment to hiring 500 net new faculty is strongly welcomed by the union, but the University will not be able to hire, let alone retain, 500 new faculty if it does nothing to reverse the long-term erosion of our salaries, benefits and workload. CUNY also needs funds to convert long-serving adjuncts to full-time status. For more information and analysis on the budget, background documents and more, visit the PSC website.
To testify, you must sign up with the Trustees’ Office at (212) 794-5450 before 4:30 p.m. Friday Nov 16; when you call, tell them that you want to speak on the CUNY Budget Request, Calendar No. 3.C. The hearing on the 19th starts at 5pm in Room 104 at the CUNY Central Office, 535 E. 80th St. in Manhattan.
You Can Be Part of the Campaign for a Fair Contract
Maybe you cannot see yourself appearing on TV and you cannot make it to the Board of Trustees hearing on Monday night—you can still be part of the campaign for the contract we need. One simple thing you can do to show your support for a contract that addresses the real problems at CUNY—including salary erosion and the adjunct system—is wear a blue union button. Buttons say “CUNY needs a raise” and “Hands off department chairs”—along with three other messages about this round of bargaining. You would be surprised how much difference it would make on campus if everyone wore just one of those buttons. Call your chapter chair for your blue button or contact Nick Cruz at the union office get buttons for yourself and your colleagues.
While PSC members are turning up the heat with increased activism, other developments are also shaping our negotiations with CUNY management. On October 29, the Civil Service Employees Union (CSEA) announced a tentative contract agreement with the state. The agreement calls for 13% in raises over four years but also includes some increases in health insurance co-payments. The United University Professions (UUP) and the Public Employee Federation (PEF) are actively negotiating in the wake of the CSEA deal, and the PSC is watching closely and analyzing the implications for our own negotiations.
Check out the negotiations section on the website for the latest news, copies of speeches, presentations and data from the mass meeting, and more information on how you can get involved.
"CUNY’s failure to provide even a single day of paid parental leave has attracted media attention because a young faculty member was courageous enough to speak out about her concern over going into labor in class and a student was outraged enough to propose a series of articles on the issue in the college newspaper. There is a lesson in this: our students, most of whom are working people themselves, instantly understand why it’s important for the employer to provide basic, humane conditions like paid parental leave or stable health insurance for part-timers. They also understand that our working conditions are their learning conditions. Students are our natural allies in the current campaign for a contract that supports us in doing our work.” ~Barbara Bowen, President