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• 5/21 BMCC Chapter Meeting

May 5, 2008

Wednesday 1pm, City Hall Steps: CUNY at the Council

This Wednesday City Council Members will join PSC members and CUNY students to call on the Mayor and the City Council to restore drastic budget cuts to CUNY proposed in the Mayor’s Executive Budget, to fully fund CUNY’s budget request and to provide additional, urgently needed funds to our city’s university. Hard economic times make CUNY more important than ever, but the Mayor’s budget, released last week, cuts $26 million in critical operating aid for CUNY community colleges and another $18 million in vital student support—even as enrollments are at record levels.  CUNY faculty, staff and students will share stories about what these budget cuts mean in real human terms, and then present the City Council with 25,000 “CUNY Rising” postcards from New Yorkers calling on the Council to restore the cuts. Join us: Wednesday, 1pm, City Hall steps. Bring your colleagues and students!

The PSC is also organizing lobbying visits to key City Council Members. In addition, the union is asking every member to send a letter to the Mayor and to the Council Speaker asking for budget restorations; go to the PSC website to send a letter now.

Faculty and Staff to Trustees: Math 101, CUNY Needs a Raise!

“CUNY Needs a Raise!” PSC members chanted over and over inside the CUNY Board of Trustees meeting last Monday, momentarily bringing the board’s proceedings to a standstill. The interruption was part of afternoon of action ratchet up the pressure on management in contract negotiations. PSC members handed out 1,000 flyers and picketed outside. Inside the meeting, the gallery was full of PSC members. Faculty and staff held aloft signs that said “CUNY Needs a Raise” signs, and unfurled banners that told the story of how inflation seriously diminishes the value of CUNY wages:  "Household Energy Cost Up 14.9%"; "Transportation Cost Up 7.7%"; "Gasoline Costs up 23.9%"; “Food Costs Up 5.2%" (these figures represent price increases in the last year). Members also delivered packets of documentation of the crisis of uncompetitive salaries to the trustees, along with a math quiz that brought home the point.

In other contract-related action, the union is circulating a petition to gather support from all PSC members for the needs of adjuncts in this round of bargaining. Click here to add your name to support the demands for job security and healthcare coverage under the City’s health plan.

Adjuncts: Click here to tell us your story about how lack of job security has affected your students.

Visit the negotiations section of the PSC website for resources and in-depth information, from comparative data on salaries to brochures on the most pressing issues in these negotiations.

State Legislators to Hear Testimony Thursday on Brooklyn College Conditions

The Brooklyn College chapter of the PSC is holding a public forum this Thursday, 6-8pm (James Hall, room 2407) on working and learning conditions at Brooklyn College. State Senator Kevin Parker and Assembly Member Rhoda Jacobs will be there to hear testimony from faculty and staff on issues ranging from salaries and workload to classroom disrepair and child care. “Our legislators need to hear about our need for a good new contract and our thoughts about the continued underfunding of CUNY,” said chapter chair Tibbi Duboys. Brooklyn chapter members are invited to testify; speakers from the floor will be limited to three minutes each. Written testimony of any length should be submitted to Tibbi Duboys in advance of the forum. All PSC members are heartily encouraged to attend and support their Brooklyn colleagues. Click here for a flyer you can distribute.

PSC Chapters Support Historic ILWU Anti-war Action

Last Thursday, May Day, thousands of West coast dockworkers in the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) made history with a one-day strike to demand an end to the war in Iraq. Their action was met with support from other unions in the United States and beyond; Swedish dock workers publicized the strike, and Iraqi dock workers shut down their own ports for an hour in solidarity. The PSC also supported the ILWU action with activities on 11 campuses. Rallies, speak-outs and teach-ins were held at Hostos, Hunter and Queens, and members at NYC Tech marched across the Brooklyn Bridge. At CSI, the chapter screened the anti-war film Weapons of Mass Deception, with a discussion afterwards; and members at Baruch, BMCC, Brooklyn, CCNY, York and Bronx Community College set up informational tables with anti-war literature.

Extend Unemployment Insurance to Part-Timers

The PSC is lobbying state legislators to fix an inequity in current law that prevents part-time faculty at public colleges from collecting unemployment insurance benefits between semesters when they are unemployed and looking for work. Send a letter now to your State representatives in support of A 2515 / S 4845.

Pre-retirement Conference May 20

The annual PSC pre-retirement conference will be held on Tuesday, May 20, from 9 to 4 at the CUNY Graduate Center.  This conference is designed for members who are about five years away from retirement.  The conference will feature speakers on financial planning, health benefits and taxes. You can register online; please register by May 12.

Longterm Care Insurance Plan Enrollment Option until May 9

The Welfare Fund is now offering its new John Hancock long-term care insurance plan to Fund participants who have an existing policy with the company. Earlier this spring current policy holders received notice in the mail on their option to join the new, enhanced benefit program during a special enrollment period that ends this Friday, May 9. See the Welfare Fund website for details.

“Thank you for signing and gathering  the 25,000 postcards we will deliver this Wednesday at 1:00 on the steps of City Hall, calling on the City Council to restore the budget cuts to CUNY proposed by the mayor.  In a year of budget surplus and record enrollment at CUNY, the mayor has proposed cutting the University’s budget by $26 million and student support by another $18 million.  I am asking you to think seriously about joining us there, even if it means traveling from another borough.  No amount of eloquence from union speakers is as powerful as the sight of masses of CUNY faculty and staff demanding that we not endure another budget cut. The budget cuts to CUNY will not stop unless we stop them.” – Barbara Bowen, President