May 24, 2010
PSC Returns to Court May 26 to Maintain Injunction Against Furloughs
The PSC and three other unions (UUP, PEF, and CSEA) will return to court on Wednesday May 26 to argue for a preliminary injunction against Governor David Paterson’s plan to furlough State workers, including CUNY faculty and staff. The temporary restraining order issued by the court on May 12 prohibited the immediate imposition of a furlough; the PSC and other unions are now seeking further court action to block Paterson’s plan. Stay tuned to the PSC website for more news.
“Scores of members wrote to the union in response to our legal victory on May 12—thank you. We are continuing to fight the issue in the courts, using the full resources of your union. Demanding furloughs of public employees is an attempt to switch the blame for an economic crisis we did nothing to create,” said PSC President Barbara Bowen.
State Budget Talks Remain Deadlocked, Legislature Focuses on Charter School Cap and Race to the Top
The State Legislature still has not approved a 2010-2011 budget. A funding cut of $84.4 million in State funding for CUNY senior colleges is still on the table. Meanwhile, advocates for a just solution to the State’s budget crisis continue to call for measures that would restore billions in much-needed revenues such as a reduction of the rebate on the stock transfer tax from 100% to 80%, (which would bring an additional $2.9 billion into the State’s coffers), and a millionaire’s tax.
The Legislature’s current focus is on New York’s Race to the Top application for federal K-12 funding. Central to that is a bill passed by the Senate that would allow the number of charter schools in New York state to more than double (from 200 to 460) without any real charter school reform. Another educational issue on which the PSC remains vigilant is the “Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act.” Based on a concept promoted by SUNY’s Chancellor and Gov. Paterson, this bill would allow SUNY and CUNY to increase tuition by much as 10% per year without any oversight by elected officials and would allow for differential tuition between different schools and departments. PSC members will need to continue to speak out forcefully against any deal that would inflict grave harm on public education here in New York.
Mayor’s Executive Budget Still Leaves CUNY Community Colleges Short
The Mayor’s Executive Budget is $9.4 million less than last year’s adopted budget for the 2010 fiscal year and contains $35.9 million in further reductions. The impact of this reduced funding level is compounded by the addition of new programs without additional funds to pay for them, inflation that increases the costs of delivering the same level of service, and enrollment increases that create new demands. In particular, the New Community College Initiative, funded by the Mayor at $8.9 million, will redistribute resources from the existing six community colleges to the new one. This is “robbing Peter to pay Paul.” The PSC recommends restoring the Mayor’s reductions to enhance community college funding, in order to pay for new programs, inflation and increased enrollment.
The Mayor would also zero out funding for City Council initiatives including the Black Male Empowerment Initiative, the Vallone Scholarships and the need-based Safety Net financial aid program. The PSC seeks $19.6 million for these programs.
To find out how you can get involved in the PSC’s political lobbying efforts, contact Amanda Magalhaes by email or at 212-354-1252.
PSC Wins Award for Leadership on Issues of Race and Ethnicity
The PSC has won the biennial award from the American Federation of Teachers for Higher Education Professional Issues, for leadership on issues of race and ethnicity through its CUNY and Race Project. The award will be presented at the AFT’s national convention in Seattle this July.
May 24 Demo at Research Foundation
More than 40 protesters rallied outside CUNY Research Foundation headquarters in midtown Manhattan on Monday May 24 to demand that PSC members at the NYC Tech, LaGuardia and Graduate Center Research Foundations receive a fair first contract. RF-CUNY has offered salary increases of only 1.5% while demanding that workers immediately increase the contribution to their health insurance premium from 11% to 19% while offering them salary increases of only 1.5%. During the protest, PSC First Vice President Steve London and two members of the union bargaining teams went to the RF Board of Directors meeting on the 8th floor and delivered petitions, that were signed by 700 people, to RF President Richard Rothbard. Help us send the message that RF workers deserve a fair contract now! Click here to sign the petition to the RF Board of Directors.
PSC to Host Pre-Retirement Conference June 10
The annual PSC Pre-Retirement Conference will be held on Thursday, June 10, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the CUNY Graduate Center. This conference is designed for members who are about five years away from retirement. The event will feature speakers on financial planning, health benefits and taxes. Click here for more details and a registration form.