April 19, 2010
State Budget Talks in Albany Remain at Stand-Still
"The stand-still in Albany is not necessarily a bad thing," First Vice President Steve London said. "If the budget were to pass today, CUNY senior colleges would be cut by at least $84.4 million and maybe more. The PSC wants to see more state revenue generated by taxing the rich and Wall Street and from jobs bills now in congress." The PSC sent a delegation to the Somos El Futuro legislative conference this past weekend to fight for more revenue in the budget and push back against the proposed cuts to CUNY. You can send a message to your legislator to increase taxes on the rich and to not cut CUNY by sending a message through the New York State Federation of Labor. The PSC and the New York State Federation of Labor are both supporters of the coalition effort New Yorkers for Fiscal Fairness, which is running the Better Choice Budget Campaign. To review the policy suggestions, click here.
Lobby Against City Cuts to CUNY on May 5
The PSC will lobby against Mayor Bloomberg’s proposed cuts at the PSC CUNY at the Council Lobby Day, Wednesday, 5/5. The PSC is again partnering with NYPIRG after last year’s successful day and the March 9 Albany Higher Ed Lobby Day. To participate, PSC members and students should contact Amanda Magalhaes in the PSC office by email or at 212-354-1252.
May Day March and Rally—Saturday, May 1!
For the first time in a generation, the New York City labor movement has united with immigrants’ rights organizations to organize a demonstration on May Day, the international workers’ holiday. Our shared demand is: “We will not pay for an economic crisis we did not create!” We will fight a jobless recovery, cuts to public services, and a new wave of attacks on immigrants. This could be a historic march—the beginning of greater militancy and diversity in the city’s labor movement. Bring your family, friends and students to join the PSC contingent at 11:00 a.m. at Foley Square in lower Manhattan. To join the PSC contingent, email Jim Perlstein, co-chair of the Solidarity Committee.
Contract Education Begins
The union has begun offering informational workshops and training for union officers, grievance counselors and activists. Workshops take place Mondays, 6:00 to 8:00 PM in the PSC Union Hall, 61 Broadway, 16th floor. RSVP by emailing Albert Muñoz or calling, 212-354-1252.
Basic Contract Orientation: Mondays, April, 19 and 26; Grievance Counselor Training: Mondays, May 3, 10, 17 and 24
Final Phase of Employee Pension Contribution Implemented This Month
This month sees the implementation of the final phase of the legislative victory on pension equity spearheaded by the PSC. The pension equity legislation, passed in 2008 as a result of intense advocacy in Albany, increases take-home pay for employees in the Optional Retirement Programs (primarily TIAA-CREF) who have 10 years of full-time service. Take-home pay increases because the 3% employee contribution to the pension fund is assumed by the employer after 10 years. The legislation brought parity for ORP participants with other public employees in civilian State and City pension plans—such as CUNY faculty and staff in TRS—for whom elimination of the 3% employee contribution was achieved in 2001.
From 2001 to 2008, the PSC worked tirelessly, with the active support of our statewide affiliate NYSUT, to achieve this victory for investment in faculty and staff. The change in State legislation would not have been possible without the many faculty and staff who walked the halls in Albany to lobby their state representatives, wrote letters, called, and sent emails.
The elimination of the 3% employee contribution has been phased in over three years, with the final phase occurring this April. The elimination of the final 1% of the employee’s contribution is reflected in the April 8 paycheck for those at senior colleges and with the April 16 paycheck for those at community colleges. Full-time instructional staff members with 10 years or more of service at CUNY who belong to TIAA-CREF or other ORP plans should check their paycheck stubs to be sure that the pension contribution is no longer being deducted. If you believe that there is an error, please contact either your Human Resources office or Clarissa Weiss , PSC Director of Pension and Welfare Fund Benefits.
In the future, CUNY will assume the 3% employee contribution for all full-time employees when they reach 10 years of service, increasing take-home pay by more than 3%.
Have You Received Your Letter of Reappointment?
Full-time teaching faculty hired in September 2009 should have received letters of reappointment on Thursday, 4/1. Full-time teaching faculty in tenure-track titles, Instructors and Lecturers hired in February 2010 are due letters of reappointment on Saturday, 5/1. Lecturers in their second year of service were due letters by Thursday, 4/1. HEOs in the first or second year of service were due letters by Thursday, 4/1. Adjuncts hired on a semester basis are due letters by Saturday, 5/1 and adjuncts hired on a yearly basis are due letters on Saturday, 5/15.
If you are a PSC member at an Institute or Center, you are due your letter on Saturday, 5/1. All other members in their first year are due letters on 6/1, and in their second year were due letters on 4/1.
If you do not receive a letter, or if you receive a letter of non-reappointment, immediately call a grievance counselor in the PSC office, 212-354-1252.
2010 PSC Chapter Elections: Ballots Due Next Week
This spring half of the PSC’s chapters are electing officers, delegates and alternates to the PSC Delegate Assembly, as well as members of the PSC-CUNY Welfare Fund Advisory Council. Ballots must be received by 5:00 pm on Thursday, 4/29 . If your chapter is having an election this year and you have not received a ballot, please call Barbara Gabriel in the PSC office, (212) 354-1252. She will check the membership database to confirm your address and membership status, and have ballots sent to eligible members right away. More information (and a list of chapters holding elections) is here.
Childcare at CUNY: Hearing This Wednesday
City Council Higher Education Committee Chair Ydanis Rodriguez will host an oversight hearing about childcare services—primarily for students—at CUNY on Wednesday, 4/21 at 1 pm. To attend or participate, contact PSC Director of Policy and Research Kate Pfordresher.
Junior Faculty Development Day 5/7
All new and untenured CUNY faculty are invited to join us for a daylong program dedicated to issues and challenges facing junior faculty. Session topics include achieving tenure and securing grants and publications; panels are assembled from experienced faculty, department chairs, and PSC grievance counselors. Additional workshops focus on how collective organizing and action by faculty can improve access to research resources and ameliorate excessive workload, a lack of transparency, and other workplace challenges. On Friday, 5/7, from 9 am to 5:30 pm at the PSC, 61 Broadway, 16th Floor. Email Deirdre Brill to RSVP.
PSC Green Team Hosts Kenneth Gould on 5/19
On Wednesday, 5/19, the Green Team, a project of the PSC’s Environmental Health and Safety Watchdogs committee, will host speaker Kenneth Gould, chair of the Sociology department at Brooklyn College. Gould will discuss how unions can play a role in the movements for sustainability and environmental justice. At 5:30 in the PSC Union Hall, 61 Broadway, 15th Floor.