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January 20, 2009

As President Obama is Sworn into Office, PSC Thanks Volunteers—Let’s Keep At It

As Barack Obama is sworn in this afternoon, the PSC thanks the 250 member volunteers who worked to elect him president. The union hosted weeks of twice-daily phone banks and three weekend trips to Pennsylvania, logging 23,000 calls to voters from the union office. “The PSC supported Obama both to ensure his election and to build a broader movement for progressive policies,” PSC President Barbara Bowen told Clarion last semester. Organized labor’s single most important goal is to win passage of the Employee Free Choice Act, which would finally level the playing field in union organizing drives.  Click here to sign your support for the Employee Free Choice Act.

“Obama's election along with electoral gains in the Democratic Congress were important strategic goals of the labor movement to, among other things, promote a national recovery programan important step in addressing the state's budget crisis,” PSC First Vice President Steve London told “This Week.”

You can keep the momentum growing locally by signing up to participate in the union’s budget campaign  by participating in an on-campus budget hearing or heading to Albany to lobby. Contact Amanda DeJesus Magalhaes by email or at 212-354-1252 to sign up.

Fiscal Policy Institute Releases Report on CUNY Underfunding

On Thursday, the Fiscal Policy Institute released a major report documenting New York State’s underinvestment over the last 20 years in CUNY and SUNY.  FPI looked at the numbers, and found that New York State is not providing the funds needed to help CUNY and SUNY adjust to increasing numbers of students. 

“This report quantifies what CUNY faculty and staff have been living for years,” said PSC President Barbara Bowen. “Our classes are too large, our full-time faculty cohort is too small.  CUNY has 5,000 fewer full-time faculty than it had the last time enrollment was this high.  New York can’t keep underinvesting in CUNY and expect the University to survive unscathed.  Students’ education suffers, and all New Yorkers are shortchanged, when the State fails to invest in public higher education.” 

The report is on the FPI website. Said FPI’s David David Dyssegaard Kallick: “The state budget proposal recommends a decrease in support for public higher education. That’s not a smart economic strategy, and it’s not good stewardship of two of the country’s great systems of public higher education.”

January Salary Schedule Increments Appear in Paychecks This Week and Last

Full-time CUNY faculty and professional staff at the community colleges who are scheduled to receive an annual salary increment—“a salary step”—will see the new salary rate reflected in their January 23 paychecks.  Full-time employees at the senior colleges who are scheduled to receive annual salary increments should have received them in their paychecks last week.

Need a refresher on your salary? The salary schedule is here on the PSC website. Problems? Questions? Call your local contract expert, your campus grievance counselor. The list is available on the PSC website. Alternatively, call a grievance counselor at the PSC office, 212-354-1252.

Adjunct-CET Professional Development Fund Applications Now Available

Information and a revised application form for the Adjunct-CET Professional Development Fund are now available here on the PSC website. The Committee is accepting applications.

GROW Training for Students This Weekend

The PSC is sponsoring a second student Grass Roots Organizing Weekend (GROW) training this month, after the first successful one in September. Led by the United States Students Association, the training on Saturday (1/24) will prepare students to fight for their interests, and for CUNY’s. The second weekend (1/31) will offer in-depth training on the facts about the budget. Students from any CUNY campus, undergraduate or graduate, are welcome to attend this free training. Please let your students know! They can learn more or sign up here on the PSC website.  Alumni of the first GROW training have already emerged as leaders in campus movements to increase public investment in CUNY and resist regressive budget proposals.

President Bowen’s Higher Education Hearing Testimony Now on PSC Website

The PSC testified at the Joint Assembly-Senate Higher Education hearing on Thursday, to advocate for more funding for public higher education and remind State lawmakers that a New Deal for New York Starts with CUNY. PSC President Barbara Bowen’s testimony is on the PSC website.

While Bowen was in Albany, PSC Treasurer Michael Fabricant appeared on WBAI and University-wide Officer Lorraine Cohen appeared on Sam Taitt’s Brooklyn cable public-access news show to amplify the PSC position.

Governor David Paterson has proposed tuition hikes (only 20% of which would go to increased funding for CUNY – the rest would be used to replace the funds the State currently provides!), cuts to community colleges, a new loan program, and regressive changes to TAP.  The governor has also targeted state workers for major cuts including cutting wage increases and pensions with layoffs as a “last resort.” Unions have already voiced their strong resistance.

The PSC has been mobilizing to fight the cuts to workers and to CUNY. The plans for next semester’s budget hearings on CUNY campuses, as well as lobbying legislators here in the city and in Albany, are already underway. It’s never too early to sign up to participate. Please contact Amanda De Jesus Magalhaes by email or at 212-354-1252 to sign up.

Credit for Last Week’s Hudson River Landing Goes to Union Pilot, Crew, Rescuers

Progressive website FireDogLake’s blogger empty wheel notes that in the coverage of the heroics of last weeks’ water landing, “what they're not telling you is that just about every single one of these heroes is a union member.” For example, pilot Chesley B. Sullenberger III is a former national committee member of his union, the Airline Pilots Association. Read the whole post here.