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Historic PSC Rally for a New Contract,
New Commitment to CUNY


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October 30, 2007 
Below is the text for a PSC press release on the rally.  click here for
printer friendly version (PDF).

Click image for photo gallery of the mass rally.

A thousand members of the Professional Staff Congress (PSC) met and strategized and rallied for a new contract with the City University of New York (CUNY), where they have been working without a contract since September 19. The PSC represents 20,000 university faculty and professional staff. The meeting was held in the Great Hall at Cooper Union.  

“We are here tonight to call not just for a new contract at CUNY, but for a new kind of contract: one that provides the conditions we need to do our jobs, a contract that enables CUNY to fulfill its historic mission for the people of New York,” PSC President Dr. Barbara Bowen told the assembled crowd. “For too long, the CUNY Central Administration has accepted austerity for us and for our students.  Instead of demanding the salaries and conditions we need, CUNY has concentrated on a few high-profile programs that make the University look good while the vast majority of programs struggle to recruit and retain faculty, salaries have fallen far below nationally competitive levels, and half the faculty are underpaid part-timers.  We are here tonight because we believe our students—and the people of New York—deserve better.”  [Click here for Barbara Bowen's speech.]

PSC and management negotiators have been in contract talks since February, and although the old contract expired six weeks ago, CUNY management has yet to make a financial offer to the union. The main issues for PSC members in these talks is salary erosion and the effect of the University’s reliance for half its teaching on underpaid part-timers. Faculty salaries have lost 27-51% of their real value since 1971 and are no longer competitive with comparable institutions, regionally or nationally. Professors at Rutgers (New Brunswick) now earn 24% more than their counterparts at CUNY and professors at the University of Connecticut earn 23% more than their counterparts at CUNY (based on average salaries from Fall 2006). At stake is the quality of public higher education, one of the driving engines of New York’s economy. Forty-six percent of college students in New York City are CUNY students, and four out of five CUNY graduates stay in New York, pay taxes here and fill the jobs of the future. Without competitive salaries, CUNY colleges often find that they cannot recruit their first-choice candidates for faculty positions and that many current faculty are seeking to leave.  Academic departments are under strain. The quality of education students receive is jeopardized because the mentorship and continuity that students depend on are the inevitable casualties of this crisis.  [Click here to see charts and data on salary erosion and here to see full analysis (text and charts) from presentation made by Steve London, PSC First Vice President, at the October 30th mass meeting.]

Rather than looking for ways to restore CUNY’s competitiveness and increase salaries, however, CUNY management has put forward a proposal to eliminate annual salary step increases, an approach that would further undermine CUNY’s ability to recruit and retain.  

The PSC members at Cooper Union vowed not to let that happen. “Our campaign for a good contract seeks to ensure that the working conditions of PSC members—which are the learning conditions of CUNY students—don’t shortchange our students and our City,” the union’s first vice president, Dr. Steve London, explained.

Posted 10/31/07

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Voices From CUNY At The Great Hall

  At the October 30th mass meeting, seven speakers, representing faculty and professional staff, gave voice to a range of campus issues: competitive salaries, adjunct equity, paid parental-leave, HEO job security, opposition to management's proposal to remove chairs from the bargaining unit -- and more.  Photos of the seven speakers are in the slideshow to the right.  Click here to read their remarks at the mass rally.  

Everyone who attended the 10/30 rally received a packet with two forms -- one on lost faculty and staff and a second one to sign up for the contract campaign.  If you did not complete the forms or did not attend the 10/30 rally, both forms can be completed online.  The information on both follows:

HELP US LOCATE LOST FACULTY AND STAFF:  Do you know of colleagues who have left CUNY or have turned down a CUNY position because of salaries and workloads that are not nationally competitive?  Please help us by providing information about those colleagues by clicking here and then completing the online form.

JOIN THE CONTRACT CAMPAIGN:  Click here for online form where you can choose to volunteer for one or multiple options to help with the contract campaign.



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