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June 8, 2009

Pension Deal Reached by Two State-Employee Unions

Two of the major State-employee unions, CSEA and PEF, reached an agreement with Governor Paterson on Friday to support his proposal for a poorer pension tier for future employees in exchange for agreement not to seek concessions for current employees. (See http://www.csealocal1000.org/ for details.) The PSC was not part of the agreement, nor was United University Professions, the union representing faculty and staff at SUNY. Employees represented by the PSC are not State employees; we were not included in the governor’s initial call for layoffs or contract concessions.

Earlier this spring, the PSC Executive Council voted unanimously to oppose the introduction of a Tier 5: pensions are deferred compensation, and a reduction in pension benefits is a major structural concession affecting generations of workers to come—also one that would make CUNY positions less competitive.In addition, the proposed Tier 5 will do almost nothing to close the current year’s budget gap, as its savings are not realized for ten years.

PSC president Barbara Bowen said, “Neither the PSC nor NYSUT was involved in the talks that led to this agreement, and it is unclear whether the agreement will affect other public employees in the state. The PSC is strongly opposed to a pension reduction in principle and in practice. Working together with NYSUT, we will continue to oppose any diminution of pension benefits for future faculty and staff at CUNY.”

What the MLC Health Settlement Means for PSC Members

Another important labor agreement was reached this week—between the City of New York and the Municipal Labor Committee, of which the PSC is a member.  Under the agreement, layoffs of permanent City employees, primarily in AFSCME District Council 37, will be averted for three months, while efforts are made to find them other City positions.  The MLC refused the City’s attempt to impose a premium on participants in the HIP health insurance plan, but did agree to introduce co-payments on HIP participants for emergency room visits, hospitalization and ambulatory surgery.  The emergency room co-payment of $50 will also apply to participants in Senior Care. 

As part of the agreement, unions in the MLC will receive, collectively, more than $100 million for their welfare funds.  The PSC Welfare Fund will receive a proportionate share.  In addition, the MLC gained agreement by the City to explore inclusion of CUNY adjuncts in the New York City Health Benefits Program—a longtime goal of the PSC.

Join the Lobbying for Adjuncts’ Access to Unemployment Insurance

If you haven't yet sent a letter to your representatives letting them know you’d like them to support adjuncts’ access to unemployment insurance, please do so by clicking here.

You can also advocate for adjunct unemployment insurance by joining PSC lobbying teams, which will be meeting with legislators in their district offices here in the City. Contact Amanda Magalhaes at the PSC, 212-354-1252 for details or to sign up.

Tell City Council to Reverse Community College Budget Cuts

As the City Council negotiates next year’s budget, the PSC continues to remind Council Members that CUNY is the Path to New York’s Future.
“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,” said Barbara Bowen.
Send that reminder to your own council member by going to the PSC website and sending a letter now.

PSC Pre-Retirement Conference Deadline is Wednesday

The PSC’s Annual Pre-Retirement Conference will be held on Wednesday, 6/17 at the Graduate Center. The cost is $30 per person and the last day to sign up is June 8. The registration form is here; please print it out, fill it out and fax it in to 212-3027805. 

Loud and Proud: Time to Push for Marriage Equality

This month is decision time for the New York State Legislature on marriage equality. 

On Wednesday, June 10, at 5:30 the Professional Staff Congress/CUNY will host a representative of the Pride in our Unions Committee of Empire State Pride Agenda for a discussion of how to win the State Senate’s support for marriage equality legislation.  

The PSC and its state affiliate, NYSUT, support marriage equality for our lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender members, and the issue was part of NYSUT’s agenda in its grassroots lobbying effort in Albany in last month. Come to the meeting to find out how you can make a difference, as the fight goes down to the wire.

The meeting will be held from 5:30 to 7:00 at the PSC office, 61 Broadway, 15th floor, on Wednesday, June 10.  (If you’re interested but can’t attend, please e-mail cweiss@pscmail.org.)

Health Care Rally in DC on June 25

Join your PSC colleagues and thousands of union members in Washington, DC to demand real health care reform. This rally and lobby day, co-sponsored by the AFL-CIO and Health Care for America Now! comes at a historic time. This summer, Congress will craft a solution to our broken health care system. The PSC is on record supporting single-payer health care as are many unions that will be attending this rally. Meanwhile, the health insurance lobby is pressuring Congress to require everyone to purchase insurance, without even making a public option available. Some Democrats are beginning to waiver. A huge presence is needed at this rally to prevent the private health insurance companies from subverting the health care reform process to serve their own ends. Busses leave NYC between 6-7 a.m. and will return on the same day. To attend, contact Amanda Magalhaes @ amagelhaes@pscmail.org or 212-354-1252 x 221 by June 12.

Clarion Sweeps Metro Labor Communicators Awards

Clarion took home first place awards for General Excellence, Best Writing, Best Reporting and Best Photograph at this year’s 33rd annual Metro New York Labor Communication Council conference on June 5.

• 6/8 Retirees’ Luncheon
• 6/17 Pre-Retirement Conference
• 6/18 Delegate Assembly