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• 5/6 CUNY at the Council

• 5/7 Budget Hearing at LaGuardia

• 5/14 Chapter Meeting, City Tech

• 5/20 Paid Parental Leave Retroactive Benefit Request Deadline

• 5/20 Chapter Meeting, BMCC

• 5/26 Chapter Meeting, CCNY

• 6/17 Pre-Retirement Conference

May 4, 2009

New Caucus Slate Wins In All Races in Union-Wide Election
At the Delegate Assembly on Thursday, April 30, the union's Executive Director announced the preliminary University-wide election results: New Caucus 62% and CUNY Alliance 38%.  New Caucus candidates won in all races. 
The results will not be final until the Elections Committee meets to certify them, no sooner than 5 working days after the election.  After that, detailed results will be reported.

Bloomberg Proposes More Cuts & Tuition Hikes; PSC Lobbies Council on Wednesday
Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced his executive budget proposal on Friday. Along with regressive taxes and layoffs of City workers, it included $36.3 million in cuts to CUNY community colleges; funding for Vallone Scholarships at last year’s level, which is still $4.45 million below 2008 levels; cuts to City Council-sponsored programs such as Black Male Empowerment Initiative, and a $400 annual tuition hike.

There is a better way to balance the City’s budget, even in these hard times. The PSC supports progressive income taxes and investment in vital public services. The union has partnered with NYPIRG to talk directly with City Council Members this Wednesday. Join the concentrated lobbying: Small groups will tell lawmakers in a series of appointments on Wednesday that CUNY is the Path to New York’s Future. Email Amanda Magalhaes or call her in the PSC office, 212-354-1252, to sign up.

LaGuardia Budget Hearing on Thursday
The final PSC budget hearing of the year takes place at LaGuardia Community College on May 7 at 2 pm.   All PSC members are invited to participate in this opportunity to testify about the need for investment in CUNY—not cuts and tuition increases.

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.

Tell Your State Lawmaker: Adjuncts Deserve Access to Unemployment Insurance
Adjunct faculty are not paid between semesters. Though CUNY sends letters of reappointment to adjuncts, it makes clear their courses are contingent on sufficient enrollment, funding, and the continuation of the program. But CUNY uses those same letters to argue that adjuncts are ineligible for unemployment benefits under the law, because they have "reasonable assurance" of work in the coming semester.
Many adjuncts are unfairly denied unemployment benefits. 

The adjunct unemployment reform bill, S4123/A0613, would clarify the law by shifting the presumption to CUNY. California and Washington State have made similar changes to guarantee adjunct faculty their benefits. It's time for New York to do the same – it’s a matter of justice.

Three things you can do to win this right for all PSC members:
1.       Click here to send a letter to your NYS senators and assembly members immediately.
2.       Join the NYSUT Lobby Day in Albany next week (5/11 & 5/12). Contact Amanda Magalhaes at the PSC, (212) 354-1252, to sign up.
3.       Meet your legislators in their district offices. Contact Diane Menna at the PSC, 212-354-1252 for details or to sign up.

Paid Parental Leave Retroactive Deadline is 5/20
Full-time CUNY employees represented by the PSC, who became parents of a newborn or newly adopted child (under the age of five) between 7/17/08 and 3/20/09 and had at least one year of full-time service at the time of birth or adoption, are eligible for a retroactive Paid Parental Leave benefit. You must apply for it by Wednesday, 5/20. The PSC website has instructions and the retroactive benefit application form, plus the letter of agreement on Paid Parental Leave. Questions? Call or email Clarissa Weiss in the PSC office, 212-354-1252

Labor Goes to the Movies Shows Watermelon Woman on Friday
Set in Philadelphia, the Watermelon Woman is the story of Cheryl, a twenty-something black lesbian struggling to make a documentary about Fae Richards, a beautiful and elusive 1930s black film actress popularly known as “The Watermelon Woman.” While exploring the meaning of Fae Richards’s life, Cheryl experiences a total upheaval in her personal life. Her love affair with Diana, a beautiful white woman, and her interactions with the gay and black communities are subject to the comic yet biting criticism of her best friend Tamara.  According to Dunye, “The Watermelon Woman came from the real lack of any information about the lesbian and film history of African-American women. Since it wasn’t happening, I invented it.”

Come see the film with your union colleagues at 6 pm on Friday, 5/7. There is a $2 suggested donation.

Adjunct Reappointment Letters Due 5/1
Most adjuncts must receive written notice of reappointment (or non-reappointment) for next semester by 5/1. This letter should include your title and your hourly rate. If you have not received a letter, or your letter does not include your title and hourly rate, please call a grievance counselor for part-timers at the PSC, 212-354-1252.

Adjuncts who are eligible for one-year appointments must receive their letters by 5/15.

Class assignments, however, depend on the budget, the curriculum, and sufficiency of registration.  Once you have received an appointment, you must be told of changes in the conditions which impact your employment as soon as the college knows of them.

Full-time faculty, including CLTs, whose date of initial appointment was 2/1/09, as well as HEOs hired since 9/30/08 are also due written notice of reappointment or non-reappointment by 5/1. If you do not receive a letter, or if you do receive a letter of non-reappointment, immediately contact a PSC grievance counselor, 212-354-1252. The last day the union can file a grievance challenging a denial of reappointment is June 10, 2009.

Delegate Assembly Met Thursday
At the PSC Delegate Assembly on Thursday, President Barbara Bowen reported on the union’s strategic initiatives and updated delegates on the City budget.  First Vice President Steve London described the progress on adjunct unemployment reform in Albany, and delegates pledged their support for the union’s advocacy day on the issue. Delegates also approved the election of a new chair of the Manhattan EOC chapter, and voted unanimously to support a resolution from the retirees’ chapter against the proposal at the national level to tax health benefits

New COBRA Rules Affect Some PSC Members
COBRA coverage allows workers to keep health insurance provided by their former employer—at a considerable cost. But some relief is being offered by The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act signed into law in February.

Under the new law certain workers who lost or will lose jobs between Sept. 1, 2008 and Dec. 31, 2009, may purchase insurance coverage at only 35% of the usual COBRA premium, for up to nine months. Eligible workers laid off from last September onwards who declined COBRA will be given a second chance to enroll.

The NYC Health Benefits Program—with CUNY following their lead—recently sent a mailing to all individuals whom they determined to be affected by the new law.  You can get detailed information on the PSC-CUNY Welfare Fund website, or by calling the Fund at 212-354-5230.