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June 11, 2007

Bargaining and Contract Campaign Update

Two new dates have been set for contract negotiations with CUNY management, this Friday, June 15, and the following Friday, June 22. The union has completed our presentation of demands and heard management’s initial response; the next two sessions are scheduled to focus on management’s presentation of their remaining demands.  We have yet to receive any financial offer from CUNY.   As we’ve reported in recent weeks, both sides are committed to moving forward and continuing a full schedule of bargaining sessions throughout the summer.

That means the union’s contract campaign will also be ongoing as we seek to build an organized, visible presence throughout the University. Our ability to defeat management’s concessionary demands and to prevail with our own proposals depends upon a strong, united membership backing up the bargaining team. Now is the time to sign the statement supporting the PSC’s bargaining agenda to create a university that provides the salaries and conditions we need to do our jobs. We will publish the names of all who have signed in the summer issue of the Clarion. There are other ways you can be part of the contract campaign as well: put some posters up around your campus; join the My Five network; sit in on a bargaining session as an observer (contact Amanda DeJesus Magalhaes at adejesus@pscmail.org).

HEOs Stepping up Organizing this Summer

Last Wednesday, union organizers and activists held the first of a series of meetings this summer for PSC members in the Higher Education Officer (HEO) series titles. The meeting, at NYC Tech, was attended by several dozen HEOs. The discussion ranged from specific campus-based issues for the HEOs at NYC Tech to the union’s contract campaign and how to involve as many HEOs as possible in the petition, poster and My Five organizing. 

Pre-retirement Conference this Week

This all-day conference is held every year and is designed for people about five years away from retiring. It includes speakers on financial planning, health benefits, taxes and more. PSC President Barbara Bowen will discuss the latest developments in negotiations and the union’s contract campaign with attendees in the morning. The event, on Tuesday, June 12, is fully booked, but you can always talk to a pension counselor at the PSC; contact Clarissa Gilbert Weiss at cweiss@pscmail.org.

For those lucky enough to be retired already, today was the 21st annual end-of-the-year luncheon of the union’s Retiree Chapter. Following a morning business meeting, the chapter honored two of its own, Al Bachman and Ed Alterman, for their extraordinary work on behalf of  PSC retirees. Ivy Vale and Rick Reil provided entertainment in the afternoon. To get involved in the Retiree Chapter, contact Chapter Chair Jack Judd or Linda Slifkin at the PSC office.

Iraqi Strikers Battling Privatization; AFL-CIO Weighs in

Oil workers in Iraq have been on strike since Monday, June 4; on Tuesday the workers were surrounded and threatened by Iraqi armed forces. On Thursday the AFL-CIO called on the Iraqi government to immediately stop using the threat of force to intimidate workers. At issue in the strike are working conditions, pay, a reduction in the national price of fuel and crucially, inclusion in the Oil Law drafting process. At stake is the privatization of Iraq’s oil production. It is one more example of how private interests are threatening to erode the public sector. This phenomenon takes different forms in different places, but the common thread in everything from the attacks on CUNY and public higher education to the reconstruction of Iraq is the elevation of the private market over the public good.

These are the last two weeks of the legislative session in Albany and also the closing weeks of the budget process in New York City.  The PSC is active in both, still pressing to enhance City funding for CUNY and pass new State legislative provisions to benefit our members. Thank you to all who wrote, emailed and faxed your representatives—and especially to those who showed up in Albany and City Hall.  Any success we have will be because of your efforts, combined with extensive work by the PSC leadership and staff behind the scenes.  We’ll report soon on the outcome of both.”   ~Barbara Bowen, President