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In observance of Memorial Day, next week's edition of "This Week in the PSC" will come out on Tuesday, May 27.

May 19, 2008

CUNY Puts an Economic Offer on the Table

CUNY management came to the bargaining table last Monday with an economic offer.  The offer comes 15 months into negotiations in this round of bargaining, eight months after the expiration of the last contract, and just two weeks after the union’s demonstration at the University’s Board of Trustees meeting. The initial offer is for a 37-month contract with increases of 3.15%, 3% and 3%, plus an additional 2% to address what CUNY defined as “other economic needs,” and a $50 per capita increase to Welfare Fund contributions. At Monday’s bargaining session, the union responded that CUNY’s offer was not sufficient to address the need for real progress on salaries.   Unless CUNY responds to the salary crisis now, in this round of bargaining, faculty and staff will continue to leave the University, and new candidates will not accept CUNY jobs. PSC negotiators made it clear they are willing to work around the clock to hammer out an agreement that meets the needs of PSC members. Informal meetings with CUNY representatives took place throughout the week following the May 12 session. President Barbara Bowen has written a fuller update on the outcome of Monday’s session, which you can read on the website.

Contract Campaign Gears up for a Hot Summer

As the semester draws to a close with this week’s final exams, the union is putting together a “rapid response” plan that will enable members to organize and coordinate responses to developments at the bargaining table. As the talks progress, it may be important for the union or management to hear from you on specific issues.  Members are signing up to be part of a phone campaign so we can have hundreds of people make cell phone calls or send faxes in response to developments from wherever they are over the summer.  The union is also asking members who are on campus this summer to sign up for local activities—from attending bargaining sessions to mounting quick creative responses as things unfold. And of course, “This Week in the PSC” will continue to publish all summer, keeping everyone with a Net connection informed and involved. To join either the phone campaign or the one-the-ground response team, talk to your staff organizer or contact Organizing Director Chris Aikin.

Visit the negotiations section on the website for all the latest bargaining and contract campaign news, as well as resources and in-depth information, from comparative data on salaries to brochures on the most pressing issues in these negotiations.

PSC, CUNY Keep the Pressure on at City Budget Hearing

On Friday, PSC officers Barbara Bowen, Steve London and Arthurine DeSola testified at a City Council budget hearing about the devastating impact of  the Mayor’s proposed budget cuts to CUNY.  CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein also testified.  Bowen joined City Council Members, CUNY spokespersons, CUNY students and NYPIRG for a press conference before the hearing to drive home the point that as the economy heads south, it’s more important than ever to invest in CUNY. Friday’s events followed the previous week’s big “CUNY at the Council” day organized by the PSC and are part of a sustained effort by the union to restore the budget cuts. PSC members have been sending letters to the Mayor and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn; to send yours now, click here. They have also been meeting with their individual Council Members; to sign up to lobby, contact Amanda DeJesus Magalhaes.

Support SUNY: Stop the Budget Cuts

As reported last week, Governor Paterson has demanded a second  wave of budget cuts that take a whack at CUNY and a much bigger whack at SUNY. At issue is the governor’s plan to require the universities to set aside money derived from non-general fund accounts (private revenue sources) and give it back to the State. In CUNY’s case, the cut would amount to $4-6 million—a sizable cut in a lean budget year. But the damage to SUNY would be far worse: $109 million. You can help fight the devastating SUNY cuts right now. Visit the United University Professions (UUP) website and click on the “Save SUNY Now” button to send a letter to State legislators. Additional cuts to public higher education, needed now more than even, are unacceptable, and that’s a message we need Albany to hear loud and clear.

Chapter Elections Results

Half of the PSC’s chapters were up for election this spring. Ballots were counted on April 29 and the results certified by the union’s Election Committee on May 6. All but one of the eleven chapter elections were uncontested. New Caucus slates ran uncontested and won at the following chapters: Brooklyn, Bronx, CLT, John Jay, LaGuardia, Queens, and York.  At Hunter, all New Caucus candidates won as did one individual who ran independently for an open delegate slot. Also victorious were the uncontested Fusion slate at Baruch, the Renewal slate at Central Office, and the Justice/Justicia slate at Hostos. At CCNY there was a contested election between the New Caucus and Faculty First slates.  In a close election, the New Caucus won the chapter chair position, and the Faculty First slate won a majority of the chapter executive committee. For full results from all the elections, see the website. Newly elected chapter leaders take office tomorrow, May 20. Congratulations to all!


“At last CUNY management has made a financial offer.  The union bargaining team is concerned about management’s long delay in coming to the table with money because of the worsening economic conditions.  We are prepared to work night and day to bring the contract to a close.  But we are also determined to make progress on the issues we identified as priorities at the start of this round of bargaining—starting with restoration of our substandard salaries.”  --Barbara Bowen, President