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July 6, 2009

PSC Continues to Oppose Tier 5 in Albany
The stalemate in Albany continues, although some progress is apparently being made.  Because of the impasse, legislation on a new, inferior pension tier for future public employees was not passed by the Assembly before they adjourned, and still has not come to the floor in the State Senate. The governor’s bill would have placed future PSC members in an inferior pension tier (current employees would not be affected).

Despite the legislative stalemate, there is still intense pressure in Albany to give back advances won by workers over decades and create a Tier 5.  The PSC remains vigilant about the interests of future CUNY faculty and staff.  Working with NYSUT, the union leadership is pressing our representatives in Albany hard to oppose the inclusion of future CUNY faculty and staff in a new Tier 5.  A resolution passed unanimously in our Delegate Assembly voices strong opposition to the concession.  The PSC was not a party to the agreement made last month by the United Federation of Teachers for inferior pension terms for future employees. 

Affordable Housing Survey Deadline Thursday
The PSC and TIAA-CREF are discussing developing affordable housing options for PSC members.  More than a thousand members have participated in the union’s preliminary survey, designed to assess the demand for affordable housing in the metropolitan area among the faculty and professional staff. Don’t be left out; fill the survey out today. The deadline is this Thursday, 7/9.

Contract Enforcement Orientation 7/16
The union will hold a workshop, Introduction to Contract Enforcement, on Thursday, 7/16, from 12:00 to 2:00 pm in the PSC Union Hall, 61 Broadway, 16th Floor. PSC Director of Contract Administration Debra Bergen will provide an overview of basic contractual rights and how they are enforced through the contractual grievance process. The workshop is intended for members who want know more about the contract and new or prospective grievance counselors – the PSC’s contract experts on your campus and in the central office.

Lunch will be provided.  Please email your RSVP by Monday, 7/13 to Albert Muñoz, PSC coordinator of contract administration.

Health Care Video Features PSC Members
Eighteen PSCers went to Washington on Thursday, 6/25 to be part of the huge AFL-CIO demonstration in support of healthcare reform. Some PSC colleagues appear in this short AFT video of the day. The labor movement is working to win legislation that includes a public option, expands coverage while controlling costs and does not rely on taxing workers’ benefits. The PSC is on record as supporting a single-payer system. See the video on the PSC website.

Wisconsin Collective Bargaining Right Law Signed
Wisconsin's budget bill, signed into law last Monday, gives collective bargaining rights to academic employees in the University of Wisconsin system, including tenured and tenure-track faculty members, part-time and full-time lecturers, adjuncts and others. The Wisconsin branch of the American Federation of Teachers lobbied for the law and is expected to now move ahead with organizing campaigns. Those drives would be campus-by-campus. More on the AFT FACE webpage.

Striking Stella D’Oro Workers Win at NLRB
A federal administrative law judge found Stella D’Oro Biscuit Company guilty of labor law violations in a decision released Wednesday. The company is guilty of refusing to provide the union with information and bargain in good faith. The judge also found that the company had prematurely declared negotiations at an impasse, which forced a strike.

The judge ordered the company to bargain in good faith; reinstate the strikers at the pre-strike pay and benefit levels; rescind the pay and benefit cuts unilaterally implemented after the strike began; and, lastly, that if the company refuses to reinstate the strikers, it will be liable for back pay, with interest, from May 6. The company, owned by private equity firm Brynwood Partners, has two weeks to appeal the ruling.

The 134 workers at Stella D’Oro have been on strike since August. PSC members have worked all year to bring attention to the strikers’ struggle and resources to the union. NYSUT joined the effort this spring, bringing buses of teachers to rally on two occasions. To join the strikers on their picket line or find out about other ways to help, call PSC member Lenny Dick at 917-282-1250 or e-mail him.