February 3, 2010
PSC Fights Cuts in Albany, Mayor Proposes Cuts, Sign Your Support Online
PSC leaders met with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate leaders on Tuesday and presented testimony to the Assembly and Senate Committees on Higher Education, making the case for the union’s smarter strategy for New York State, especially in the current economic crisis: start modestly this year and adopt a “rational investment” plan of steady, escalating State and City support 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.
The governor has proposed $84.4 million in cuts to CUNY’s 11 senior colleges, (including $20.8 million in personal savings) and a cut of $285 per full-time-equivalent student from CUNY’s six community colleges (an 11% drop). Mayor Bloomberg announced last week he is also seeking a millions of dollars in cuts to community colleges. The PSC is still analyzing the Mayor’s proposed budget, but we strongly oppose cutting community colleges at this moment, when they are a lifeline for thousands of New Yorkers.
Community and senior colleges are facing record enrollments – and the proposed cuts come after nearly $100 million in cuts last year and two decades of underfunding.
Add your opposition to the cuts: sign this letter asking the legislature to reject the proposed cuts in State funding and to begin instead a long-term strategy for “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. You can also lobby with the union in Albany or here in the City.
General Meetings about Bargaining the Next Contract Begin Today at Lehman
PSC President Barbara Bowen and other 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. Come with your questions, comments and concerns. 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.
PSC Evening in Solidarity with the People of Haiti 2/19
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 in the Union Hall on Friday, 2/19, in conjunction with Labor Goes to the Movies. The program will include Haitian music, food, and speakers who will lead a discussion of the politics and history that underlie Haiti’s vulnerability to the destructive consequences of an earthquake.
If you’d like to participate, please email PSC staff member Moriah Berger, or call her in the PSC office, 212-354-1252.
AFT members from Vermont who volunteered in Haiti have reported on their rescue effort reported on their efforts here.
GROWing a New Generation of CUNY Activists: First Training This Saturday, 2/6
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.
Lobby Against Albany Budget Cuts with Students on 3/9
The PSC and NYPIRG (New York State Public Interested Research Group) have teamed up to oppose the governor’s budget cuts and amplify the “rational investment” message in Albany on Tuesday, 3/9. Buses from all five boroughs, mostly leaving from CUNY campuses, with students, faculty and staff will head to Albany for a one-day lobbying blitz. Join us! Tell your students (here is a flyer). They – and you – can sign up by calling Amanda Magalhaes in the PSC office, 212-354-1252.
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 until 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.
The PSC Delegate Assembly, the union’s policy-setting body, met Thursday and approved a resolution opposing Gov. Paterson’s proposed cuts to CUNY and his plans to restructure the oversight of New York State’s public higher education and held a spirited discussion about ideas for fighting the proposals and for preparing for the next round of bargaining.
Remind New Colleagues: Decide on a 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!