November 29, 2010
Committee of 500 Conference Call Tomorrow!
It’s not too late to join the conference call to be held tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. The call is the next step in building a strong campaign for a new contract. It will give Committee of 500 members a chance to talk to each other and to the bargaining team.
The Committee of 500 is a group of rank-and-file union members who volunteer to take six simple steps to help win a good contract, such as attending one bargaining session as an observer. If you would like to participate in the conference call but have not yet signed up for the Committee of 500, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name, campus, department or program, and title, and whether you are new to the Committee of 500 or have already joined. After you register, you will be sent details about the call.
Living the DREAM
Hostos students, faculty and staff placed hundreds of phone calls to members of Congress on November 23 urging them to support the DREAM Act when it is expected to come up for a vote this week. The DREAM Act would provide a path to citizenship for hundreds of thousands of undocumented young people who have grown up and been educated in the U.S. To voice your support for the DREAM Act, call Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirstin Gillibrand at 202-224-6542 and 202-224-4451 respectively.
National Call-In Day for Social Security and Medicare
Supporters of Social Security and Medicare from across the country will be participating in a national call-in day tomorrow (November 30) urging the rejection of proposals by leaders of the Deficit Reduction Commission to increase the Social Security retirement age to 69 while cutting benefits. You can reach Senators Schumer and Gillibrand at 866-529-7630. Tell them “Hands off Social Security and Medicare!” For background see Strengthen Social Security and Page 11 of the
CUNY Is Right to Request More Funding, Wrong to Increase Tuition, PSC President Barbara Bowen Testifies
PSC President Barbara Bowen testified on next year’s CUNY budget request at the Board of Trustees’ public hearing on Nov. 15. Bowen spoke in support of CUNY’s proposed request for funds to create 275 additional full-time faculty positions and improve student services, but did not support the administration’s proposed tuition increase.
“We recognize the severity of the cut-backs on the campuses and are pressing the University to make choices this year that do not hurt students, faculty or staff,” said Bowen. “But “the tuition increase would not solve CUNY’s budget problems . . . and would send the message to the State that New York can fix its structural deficit without addressing the underlying issues of taxation and an unprecedented concentration of wealth in the hands of a few.” The PSC is calling for:
* transparent public college budgets;
* approaches to this year’s budget shortfall that do not harm students;
* alternatives in Albany to cutting vital public services;
* restoration of a fair tax system in New York, closing loopholes and fixing the structural deficit.
A summary of Bowen’s testimony appears on the union website.
On November 22, the CUNY Board of Trustees voted to increase tuition by 5% in spring 2011 and by 2% in the next fiscal year beginning fall 2011. The Trustees also voted to allow Chancellor Goldstein to raise tuition an extra 3% contingent on the State and City’s budget problems. The meeting was interrupted by 50 students and faculty from nine CUNY campuses who continued their protest outside the meeting to the cheering support of Baruch College students. Final authorization to use new tuition money rests with the State Legislature, but CUNY intends to begin collecting the additional 5% increase immediately.
Crain’s Article Explores Future of Public Higher Ed in New York
PSC President Barbara Bowen and Philip Smith, head of the SUNY faculty union, are both quoted in a November 28 article in Crain’s New York on the future of state-funded higher education in New York. The article looks at the impact of several consecutive years of budget cuts at SUNY and CUNY and competing ideas for how to resolve the crisis.
Clarion Wins 4 National Labor Media Awards
Clarion garnered four first-place awards for excellence at the November 19 International Labor Communicators Association annual awards event. Competing against local union newspapers from across the United States and Canada, the PSC’s newspaper took the top prize for Best Profile, Best Analysis, Best Editorial or Column, and Best Photo.