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March 16, 2009

Union Opposes Proposed Changes to PSC-CUNY Grants

The PSC leadership opposes the CUNY administration’s “working draft” proposal to change the way PSC-CUNY Grants are awarded. CUNY’s proposal seeks to shift decision-making from faculty committees to college provosts. It was circulated by Vice Chancellor Gillian Small in February to the task force on PSC-CUNY grants and has since been seen by many concerned faculty members. Among the recommendations is one that would give college provosts the final say on grants awarded on each campus.

This and other recommendations in the “working draft” violate the PSC-CUNY collective bargaining agreement.

The union has been actively monitoring Vice Chancellor Small’s task force. PSC Executive Director Deborah Bell attended both task force meetings. The PSC leadership has also been in regular communication with the executive committee of the University Committee on Research Awards (UCRA), the faculty body charged with making the awards, and issued a statement to PSC delegates a month ago stating, “The University cannot change the grant process without negotiating with the union.”

The union’s representative has been clear in Task Force discussions: Any proposed changes regarding eligibility, scope of grant activity, and the processes regarding decision-making in the awarding of PSC-CUNY grants cannot be made unilaterally and must be negotiated with the union.  On process, the PSC-CUNY contract couldn't be clearer: “The Chancellor shall appoint a faculty committee....Such committee shall be constituted as the University Committee on Research Awards, charged with the responsibility to make, in its discretion, research grants to individual instructional staff members of the City University of New York.” (Article 25.2)

A Joint Resolution rejecting the “Working Draft’s” recommendations was issued on 3/12 by the UFS Research Committee and the UCRA. This week, the union leadership is scheduled to meet with the UCRA Executive Committee, and the PSC Delegate Assembly will consider a resolution opposing the recommendations of the “Working Draft.”  The union is committed to ensuring that faculty control of and faculty access to the PSC-CUNY grant program are preserved.

Budget Hearings at Baruch and in Queens This Thursday

PSC Chapters at Baruch and Queens College are hosting the next PSC Budget Hearings this week. The union will bring together students, staff and faculty to tell lawmakers about the real-life implications of the governor’s and mayor’s proposed cuts to CUNY’s budget. The Baruch hearing is at 4:00 this Thursday, March 19 in Room 903 of the 17 Lexington Avenue Building. The Queens hearing, featuring faculty and staff from Queensborough College as well, is at 5:00 in the Benjamin S. Rosenthal Library at Queens College, Room 230. Everyone is welcome. Please come and testify – you can come to any hearing, even if it’s not at your campus.  Contact the chapter chair to sign up. The rest of the hearings are:
March 26 – BMCC (at 4:30)
April 2 – BCC (at 4:00)
April 30 – John Jay (at 4:00) and Hostos (at 3:30)
May 7 – LaGuardia (at 2:00)
The union is proud to have DC37, University Student Senate, and NYPIRG co-sponsor the hearings. Be there, be heard! Find more information on the PSC website.

Hearings at City Tech and CSI Both Big Successes

More than 300 concerned CUNY community members – faculty, students, and staff – came together at New York City College of Technology and College of Staten Island to advocate against budget cuts, tuition hikes and for Fair Share Tax Reform. The hearings were attended by City Council Member Letitia James and staff from the offices of City Council member Charles Barron, New York State Senators Velmanette Montgomery, Daniel Squadron, Andrew Lanza, and Assembly Members Matthew Titone and Lou Tabacco.

PSC Continues Lobbying for Fair CUNY Budget

PSC President Barbara Bowen and PSC First Vice President Steve London will testify at the City Council’s Budget Hearing on Higher Education on Friday. Bowen will have another opportunity these and other issues with the mayor at a breakfast meeting tomorrow. The PSC lobbying delegation will return to Albany next week, as part of NYSUT’s Committee of 100, to remind lawmakers that CUNY is the Path to New York’s Future.

You can brush up on your budget facts here. And plan on joining the PSC in Albany on May 11 and 12, when members will advocate for our other legislative priorities. Email Amanda DeJesus Magalhaes on the PSC staff to sign up.

Celebrate Women’s History Month with the PSC Women’s Committee

The PSC Women’s Committee is celebrating Women’s History Month with an open mike event about “Women who have inspired us” on Tuesday, 3/24 at 6 pm in the PSC Union Hall. To RSVP, email Marcia Newfield or call her at the PSC office, 212-354-1252.