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June 18, 2007

Bargaining Update

The PSC bargaining team met with management on Friday for the latest negotiation session. CUNY management completed its presentation of demands, although still without making any financial offer. The union continues to press for a financial offer, noting that it will become increasingly difficult to settle the contract by the date of its expiration in September if management continues to delay offering any money. (CUNY’s response is that it is constrained by the lack of progress at the State level in reaching any contractual settlements.)

The two sides had a fruitful discussion of some management demands on which there is room for further exploration, but other demands met with stiff resistance. Management proposes to carve two more days out of summer annual leave for full-time faculty, even in a round of bargaining in which other contracts do not include such concessions. The Chancellor’s representatives also presented a demand to eliminate step increases in salary for most faculty and staff (not for adjuncts or college laboratory technicians) and replace them with discretionary increases, ultimately decided by college presidents. The PSC bargaining team interrogated this proposal extensively, and spoke about the importance of step increases in a context where CUNY has failed to provide salaries that keep up with national norms.

The next bargaining session is this Friday, June 22, at the PSC office. Contact Amanda DeJesus Magalhaes at adejesus@pscmail.org if you would like to attend.

Sign the Petition before the End of the Month!

As bargaining heats up, it becomes even more important to show your support for the union’s position that CUNY faculty and staff are entitled to the salaries and conditions we need to do our jobs. Over 1,500 of your colleagues have already made a public statement of their support; join them by signing the petition on the PSC’s bargaining agenda today. We will publish the names of all who have signed in the summer issue of Clarion.

For a full list of the PSC’s demands, management’s demands, analysis and more, visit the negotiations section of the website.

My Five Training This Thursday

There will be another training for My Five organizers and those thinking about becoming part of the network this Thursday, June 21, at 5:30pm at the union office (conference room, 15 th floor). Please join us if you can and invite other campus activists to attend; RSVP to Mary Ann Carlese at mcarlese@pscmail.org. For more information about the My Five Network or to sign up and join, visit the website].

City Budget Deal

On Friday the City Council passed a $60 billion budget for the new fiscal year, starting on July 1. The deal includes a full restoration of the Mayor’s proposed cuts to CUNY’s budget request. PSC members worked hard for months to win the restorations; we met with City Council Members, signed and gathered 15,000 postcards to Speaker Christine Quinn and rallied outside City Hall on May 9. Thank you to all who helped make this happen—it would not have happened without you. Though the restored funds represent a victory for CUNY and our students, we should not have to fight just to maintain the current inadequate level of funding. The debate should be about additions, not restorations, especially in a year of multi-billion dollar surplus. The budget does include some additions, which we secured working cooperatively with CUNY management and through the advocacy of several City Council Members. We are grateful to them and await final details, including on the funds available for new hiring of full-time faculty, a centerpiece of the union’s proposal.

I want to invite you directly to attend a collective bargaining session. Summer might be a good time, and there’s a session this Friday. I can’t tell you the difference it makes to the bargaining team to have rank-and-file members present; we learn from your responses and feel empowered by your presence. And almost everyone who attends comes away saying that it’s revelatory, about both union and management. ‘The scales have fallen from my eyes,’ is a common response. There’s no better way to learn about how your union bargaining team is representing you than to come to a bargaining session.”   ~Barbara Bowen, President