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PSC in Albany, Sign Letter Against Cuts to CUNY

General Meetings about Bargaining New Contract Begin Next Month

• Haiti Disaster Relief

• GROW Student Training Dates Change

• Elections Notice

• Pension Deadline for New Full-Timers

• Teacher Evaluation Policy Discussion at PSC

January 25, 2010

PSC In Force in Albany This Week; Amplify The Message by Signing On
PSC members and leaders will be in Albany this week, making the case for the union’s smarter strategy for New York State: adopt a “rational investment” plan of steady, escalating State and City  money to help public higher education recover from years of underfunding, rebuild New York’s economy and pave the road to a secure future for our state.
On Tuesday, PSC and NYSUT leaders will meet with the leadership of the New York Legislature while PSC members meet with other lawmakers.  On Wednesday, PSC President Barbara Bowen will testify before the Senate Finance and Assembly Ways and Means Cmmittees at their joint hearing on Paterson's proposed budget.
The governor has proposed $63.6 million in cuts to CUNY’s 11 senior colleges, a further $20.8 million in "savings on personnel costs" and a cut of $285 per full-time-equivalent student to CUNY’s six community colleges (that is, 11%). Those same colleges are facing enrollment increases of 11% this semester. These cuts come after nearly $100 million in cuts last year and two decades of underfunding.
Read the PSC’s complete statement on the budget here  and sign this letter to add your voice to the call for a “rational investment” in public higher education. The new budget page on the PSC website features regular news, information, and ways to get involved to fight for CUNY.

PSC Begins General Meetings about Bargaining the Next Contract
PSC officers will visit every campus this semester to begin a union-wide conversation about bargaining the next contract with CUNY. The current contract expires in October of this year. Contact your chapter chair or PSC Organizing Director Rob Murray for more information, and check the PSC website’s calendar to see when your campus meeting is posted. HEOs and CLTs are invited to the general meetings on their campuses as well as their cross-campus chapter meetings.  

Donations for Haiti Disaster Relief; Solidarity Night in the Works
“Many of our members—and more of our students—have close family and friends in Haiti, and on behalf of the entire union membership I send my profound sympathy for the sorrow and anger you must be experiencing,” said PSC President Barbara Bowen.  The PSC has made an initial donation of $1,000 to Haitian relief efforts, split between Doctors without Borders and Partners in Health, and invites members to contribute individually through the NYSUT website, which will transmit emergency funds to Education International’s relief effort.
The union is also planning a fundraising night in solidarity with the people of Haiti, to be held at the union hall early in the new semester.  We plan to include Haitian music and food, and to invite speakers to lead us in a discussion of the politics and history that underlie Haiti’s vulnerability to the destructive consequences of an earthquake.  As we learned from Hurricane Katrina, there are no “natural” disasters. Please plan to join us for this important conversation. If you’d like to participate, please email PSC staff member Moriah Berger, or call her in the PSC office, 212-354-1252

Dates Change For GROW Training
The PSC has again teamed up with the United States Students Association to offer students training in organizing skills, information about the CUNY budget process and an opportunity to meet activists from other colleges. The trainings will be held on two Saturdays, now 2/6 and 2/20. The all-day programs are held at the PSC office at no cost; we provide Metrocards to cover students’ transportation. Please let your students know and pass on this link where they can download fliers and sign up electronically. For more information, contact Kate Pfordresher (212) 354-1252 or GROWforCUNY@pscmail.org.

2010 PSC Chapter Elections Notice
This spring half of the PSC’s chapters will be electing officers, delegates and alternates to the PSC Delegate Assembly, as well as members of the PSC-CUNY Welfare Fund Advisory Council. Nominating petitions will be available upon request from chapter chairpersons or the PSC office from February 1, 2010 to March 8, 2010. Properly completed nominating petitions must be received at the PSC office, 61 Broadway – Suite 1500, New York, N.Y. 10006, by 5:00 pm, March 8, 2010. Ballots will be mailed to members’ home addresses on April 5, 2010  and must be received by 5:00 pm on April 29, 2010. For more, click here.

Remind New Colleagues: 30 Days to Decide on Pension Plan
Remind your new colleagues! New full-time hires must make a permanent choice about which pension system they prefer to participate in within 30 days of their start date.   If you are a full-time employee and do not select a pension system, you will be automatically enrolled in the NYC Teachers Retirement System.  The PSC website includes a very useful chart comparing the pension plans, and information about the options is available at college human resources offices and from PSC Director of Pension and Welfare Benefits Clarissa Gilbert Weiss. Call her at the PSC office, (212) 354-1252.
Part-time colleagues (including CLIP teachers) should sign up for TRS.
Forward this e-mail to all your new colleagues as a reminder to sign and send in their union membership cards and sign up to receive This Week in the PSC!

Education Policy Forum: Students’ Test Scores and Teacher Evaluation, Wednesday 1/27
Brown University’s Annenberg Institute for School Reform returns to the PSC Union Hall this week for part four of its conversation about key issues for NYC’s schools and related policy issues. This week’s discussion, Wednesday 1/27 from 4:30 to 6:30 pm, will feature Sean Corcoran from NYU, who will describe the new NYC teacher data initiative.