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Lobbying for a Fair Budget

March 23, 2009

PSC Wins Paid Parental Leave: Benefit Begins Immediately!

After months of detailed talks, the union and CUNY reached agreement on the Paid Parental Leave benefit on Thursday. The benefit is part of the contract ratified in September. Full-time employees with at least one year of service are eligible for eight consecutive weeks of leave with full pay and benefits immediately upon the birth or adoption of a child (up to five years old) and, for birth mothers, immediately following use of childbirth-related sick leave.

Eligible employees who became parents of a newborn or a newly adopted child between July 17, 2008 and March 20, 2009 are eligible to receive a retroactive benefit if they have not already received an equitable benefit. Contact Clarissa Weiss at the union, (212) 354-1252 by May 20, 2009 if you are in this category.

“This is a stunning example of the power of collective action,” PSC President Barbara Bowen told This Week. “Faculty and staff on the campuses organized the force we needed to win this breakthrough provision.” The full text of the policy will be on the PSC website this week.

BMCC Budget Hearing This Thursday

The PSC Chapter at BMCC is hosting the sixth PSC Budget Hearing 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 hearing is at 4:30 in Theatre 1 of the main BMCC building, 199 Chambers Street. Everyone is welcome. Please come and testify – you can come to any hearing, even if it’s not at your campus.  Contact chapter chair Rebecca Hill if you’d like to testify. The remaining hearings are:
April 2 – BCC (at 4:00)
April 30 – Hostos (at 3:30) and John Jay (at 4:00)
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.

DA Report: Resolutions on PSC-CUNY Grants; Work Issues

The PSC Delegate Assembly met Thursday, 3/19 and held a spirited discussion about management’s working draft on changing the PSC-CUNY grants. Delegates reflected the anger on campus about the suggested changes, as reported in the new Clarion. They passed a resolution stating, in part, that “the PSC rejects the recommendations circulated in the ‘working draft’ proposals; the PSC rejects this and any and all attempts to unilaterally change the contract; the PSC demands CUNY management submit any recommended changes to the PSC-CUNY Research Awards to the University Committee on Research Awards for its consideration; the PSC will enforce the contractual rights of the University Committee on Research Awards; the PSC will enforce the contractually defined rights of the membership to PSC-CUNY Research Awards; and the PSC stands for strengthening the PSC-CUNY Research Awards through an infusion of more funds.”

Delegates also passed a resolution on contingent faculty layoffs and other attacks on working conditions. It reads, in part, “Whereas, Brooklyn College, John Jay College and other colleges have laid off long-serving adjuncts, claiming that the reason is budgetary…[and] whereas, other colleges have announced reductions in travel money to support faculty research; some colleges have significantly increased class size; some colleges have reduced staffing of tutors in College Assistant titles; some colleges have jeopardized the quality of assistance students receive in registration because of a “pause” in hiring of higher education officers; and some colleges have placed new limitations, supposedly for budgetary reasons, on annual leave for college laboratory technicians; therefore be it … Resolved that “non-reappointments” of adjuncts for budgetary reasons are layoffs; and be it further Resolved that the PSC opposes and will continue to work against such layoffs, using all available resources to prevent them…”

The full text of the resolutions will be on the PSC website this week.

CUNYfirst Comes to Campus

CUNY and the PSC have met about CUNYfirst, CUNY’s new computerized Human Resources system. CUNYfirst will replace the current CUNY University Payroll System (CUPS) as well as many of the HR and payroll functions performed by the colleges system.

Many HEOs have called the PSC office with concerns. “CUNYfirst will have no impact on current HEO Series title, pay, salary steps, bargaining unit status, day-to-day responsibilities and contractual rights and benefits,” PSC Director of Contract Enforcement Debra Bergen told “This Week.” However, as a result of the CUNYfirst, all current functional titles are being reviewed.

Some members may be notified of a new CUNYfirst functional title. Members who are advised that they will receive a new CUNYfirst job title are entitled to a revised job description.

HEO counselors at the PSC office are available Tuesdays through Fridays to address concerns and answer questions about new job descriptions and new functional titles.

Bergen added, “We will continue to monitor the implementation of CUNYfirst and its impact on terms and conditions of employment as the new system is put into effect.”

Hearings at Baruch and Queens Both Big Successes
More than 250 concerned CUNY community members – faculty, students, and staff – came together at Baruch and Queens College to advocate against budget cuts, tuition hikes and for Fair Share Tax Reform. At Queens, the hearing was a joint organizing project with the PSC chapter at Queensborough Community College.
The hearings were attended by City Council Member Tony Avella and Inez Dickens and staff from the offices of City Councilmember John Liu, New York State Senator Liz Krueger, and Assembly Members Grace Meng, Rory Lanzman, Michael DenDecker, and James Gennaro.

PSC Continues Lobbying for Fair CUNY Budget
PSC President Barbara Bowen and PSC First Vice President Steve London testified at the City Council’s Budget Hearing on Higher Education on Friday. Across Broadway, PSC Secretary Arthurine DeSola, PSC Vice President for Community Colleges Anne Friedman, and Bowen testified about the importance of CUNY Community Colleges at an Assembly hearing with Assemblywoman Deborah Glick. The PSC lobbying delegation returned to Albany today, 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.  

Empire State Pride Agenda Seeks Union Members

The Empire State Pride Agenda seeks union members who live in Queens, the Bronx, or on Long Island to lobby for equal rights for all. Email Joanna Solmonsohn at the Empire State Pride Agenda to get involved. You can also register for their Equality & Justice Day, 4/28, on their website.