June 21, 2010
No State Budget Yet; Letters Urgently Needed!
With the State budget still unresolved, the pressure to agree to a sweeping restructuring of CUNY and SUNY continues to build. The governor’s so-called “Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act,” would increase privatization and introduce different tuition levels for different colleges and majors. Only the Assembly is offering resistance; send your letter today thanking Assemblymember Deborah Glick, chair of the higher education committee, and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver for standing firm. And add your name here to the call for a better budget with new revenue streams, such as those proposed by the Better Choice Budget Coalition, and additional federal aid.
You can also take a minute right now and use the AFL-CIO’s toll-free number (877-255-9417) to call your state representatives. Tell them to support a progressive income tax hike for the wealthiest New Yorkers, those earning more than $1 million and $5 million dollars per year. Tell lawmakers we’re depending on them to support a fair budget that does not disproportionately hurt working-class families.
Save Our City Rally Draws Thousands
The PSC joined thousands of other municipal unionists and community groups on Wednesday, 6/16 in a protest against City budget cuts. Sponsored by the Municipal Labor Committee, it was dubbed a rally to “Save Our City.”
“It’s painful to me to think about what would happen to our students if there are major cuts at BMCC,” said Ingrid Hughes, an adjunct lecturer in English at BMCC and Baruch. “My students need so much support. Their classes are already too big. They’re struggling so hard, they’re up against so much, that even small cuts can make a big difference.”
The City Hall rally opposed cuts to public colleges, schools, firehouses, libraries, hospitals, senior centers and other vital City services. Layoffs of public workers would hurt NYC’s many communities, neighborhood activists said.
“We keep hearing that this is a time of economic crisis for this City. The truth is that the City has more than $3 billion in surplus,” PSC President Barbara Bowen told the crowd. “Why is New York talking about laying off thousands of people when they have a $3 billion surplus?”
Mayor’s Budget Leaves CUNY Community Colleges Short
Decisions on the City budget are also drawing near, and the Mayor’s proposed budget would mean cutbacks at CUNY. Make your voice heard by signing a letter to the City Council letting them know you support full, fair funding for CUNY.
“I keep hearing from the City Council about how many letters they are receiving from CUNY,” said PSC President Barbara Bowen. “We need more; those letters can make a huge difference.”
Help Adjunct Unemployment Pass This Session
As the PSC continues to fight for a fair budget for CUNY, we are also pressing to remedy a serious inequity in the state unemployment insurance program. Under the current law, part-time faculty have been prevented from claiming the benefits to which all other seasonal workers are entitled. Please join the push for fairness now by signing the letter to Albany lawmakers here.
No Further News on Early Retirement Incentive
As reported previously, the Board of Trustees is expected to vote next Tuesday, 6/28, on Chancellor Goldstein’s recommendation that CUNY participate in this year’s Early Retirement Incentive. No details are yet available on whether CUNY will participate, and if so, who among CUNY employees would be eligible. The union will inform members when more information becomes available; check the PSC website and This Week in the PSC for updates.