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May 14, 2007

PSC Presence Felt at City Hall

Over 100 PSC members were joined by City Council Members Charles Barron, Tony Avella, Gale Brewer, Robert Jackson, John Liu, Michael McMahon, James Vacca, and David Weprin on the steps of City Hall last Wednesday for a colorful and powerful event advocating for better funding for CUNY in the City budget. The message was clear: With a record surplus, it’s unconscionable that the Mayor’s budget proposal calls for a cut of $34.8 million from the CUNY budget. Speaker after speaker demanded that the cuts be restored and additional funds be added.

Amidst signs and balloons and boxes of the 15,000 postcards to Speaker Christine Quinn collected by PSC members, those gathered heard eloquent testimony about the importance of CUNY and its need for more resources. “Without CUNY, I would not be a student of anything, but I would be that kid on the train you avoided sitting next to on your commute to this press conference,” Shane Correia, who last year was homeless and this year is a student at BMCC, said in a statement read by his professor, Ron Hayduk. For the full text of student and faculty statements, photos and more click here.

Legislative Issue in Focus: Pension Equity

Last week PSC members were in Albany lobbying for, among other things, pension equity legislation that would give thousands of PSC members an effective 3% increase in take-home pay. Pension relief legislation in 2000 ensured that members of the Employees' Retirement System (ERS) and the Teachers' Retirement System (TRS) who had ten years of membership or credited service in the pension system were no longer required to contribute to the retirement system. But this legislation left out CUNY and SUNY Optional Retirement Program (ORP) participants, who are now among the only public employees who have no relief from required pension contributions after ten years or more of service. The union is advocating for legislation that would fix that. By eliminating the 3% deductions from paychecks it would put an extra 3% in eligible members’ pockets. Send a letter to your state legislators today to support this important legislation!

Campaign of Outrage

The PSC has demanded that CUNY change the policy at five colleges that pay teaching adjuncts only two hours during finals week for time they spend proctoring exams rather than the three hours pay rate they receive during the rest of the semester. The reality is that adjuncts, like other faculty, teach as much during finals week as in any other. Shortchanging adjuncts during finals week is not just cheap, it’s blatantly unfair and it’s an insult to our professionalism as teachers. If you agree, sign the petition demanding that this practice be reversed, and then join us at a series of creative protests at the five campuses:

Monday, May 21 – Baruch, Vertical Campus
Tuesday, May 22 – Bronx CC, Language Hall
Wednesday, May 23 – College of Staten Island,
Administration Building 1A
Thursday, May 24 – Queensborough CC, 
Administration Building
Thursday, May 31 – Kingsborough CC,
Administration Building A

For more details and background, click here.

Our Vision for a New Contract

Last week’s headline in the weekly newspaper the Chief pretty much summed up management’s demands, formally given to us on April 20: “CUNY to PSC: Do more, get less.” The PSC’s campaign for a new contract is part of the union’s agenda to make CUNY what it could be—and our professional lives here what they should be. The PSC bargaining team will listen to management’s demands with an open mind. But even at this early stage of bargaining it seems clear that their demands make a quick settlement unlikely. It’s critical that we send a strong signal to management if we want to prevail against the concessions they are demanding. We are therefore asking members to sign on to a statement supporting our vision for a new contract. Click here to read and sign the statement. Click here for the negotiations section of the website, with a full list of the PSC’s demands, management’s demands, analysis and more.

Community College Faculty Meeting

Last Thursday, over 50 full-time faculty and representatives from every community college campus gathered for a meeting with the entire PSC bargaining team. It was the first in a series of meetings the bargaining team plans to discuss issues of workload. Those present talked at length about speed up in their workloads and the union’s bargaining demands [link] addressing workload issues.

My Five training May 31

There will be a training for people in the My Five network and those thinking about becoming part of the network on Thursday, May 31, at 5:30pm at the union office. For more information about the My Five network or to sign up and join, click here.

“One of our goals as PSC leadership has been to increase the union’s influence in City Hall. CUNY is indispensable for New York—that’s the case we make. Wednesday’s press conference was evidence of our success; Council Members from the five boroughs were eager to voice their support for the PSC’s agenda.” ~Barbara Bowen, President