If you are having trouble reading this email, please click here>>

August 6, 2007

Arbitration Victory for HEO Overtime Hours

An arbitrator has ruled that the PSC contract bars CUNY from regularly scheduling members in the Higher Education Officer series titles (HEOs) for more than 35 hours a week, and that when HEOs are assigned more than 35 hours they are entitled to compensatory time for the time worked beyond 35 hours. The union had sought straight pay compensation rather than comp time, but the arbitrator rejected that remedy. Nevertheless, the ruling is a significant victory for PSC members and underscores the integrity of the 35-hour week established in the contract. This case is the result of a LaGuardia grievance filed by the union of behalf of HEOs, and is part of multi-pronged effort the union has pursued to address overtime issues that HEOs face, particularly during registration and other busy times. In May, the union won a legal settlement establishing time-and-a-half overtime pay for eligible HEOs for time worked beyond 40 hours in a week based on the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Watch for details on the PSC website later this week on the arbitration case, and click here for coverage of the earlier lawsuit victory.

Pension Equity Bill Nears Final Stage

The pension equity bill that the union has worked seven years to pass has been delivered to the governor for his signature. That means we have fewer than 10 days to show Governor Spitzer how important this legislation is. Don’t delay – what’s at stake is an effective increase in take-home pay of up to 3% for eligible CUNY faculty and staff in the Optional Retirement Plan (ORP) who have 10 years of credited service or more. You can send a letter to Governor Spitzer through the PSC website. You can also write a personal letter to the governor. For details and background, see the July 16 edition of “This Week in the PSC."

Bargaining Update

The PSC bargaining team met with management on Thursday for a session that focused on non-economic issues.  There is still no money on the table because CUNY has not yet made an economic offer.  PSC President Barbara Bowen began the session by reminding the Chancellor’s representatives of how difficult it will be to settle the contract on time, by September 19, if at this point in August there is still no financial offer.  The two sides did, however, have productive discussions on non-economic items, including CUNY’s proposals on the grievance process and the PSC’s proposals on two topics: health and safety and “banked” sick days.  The union has proposed something new at CUNY: a collective “bank” of sick days.  Where such systems exist, they allow employees to donate some of their sick days each year to a common pool of days; employees with special needs can draw on that reserve if their own sick days are insufficient.  We will continue to discuss this idea, and several proposals for improving health and safety on the campuses, with CUNY. 

The next bargaining session will be on August 28. Contact Amanda DeJesus Magalhaes at adejesus@pscmail.org if you would like to attend that session or a future session. Visit the negotiations section of the website for a full list of both sides’ demands, analysis and more.

Contract Campaign Continues

What the PSC bargaining team can win at the bargaining table will depend on how strong and united behind the negotiators the membership is. There are many ways you can help win a good contract by becoming an active part of our contract campaign:

  • Sign the petition in support of the union’s bargaining agenda if you have not already done so
  • Consider submitting a piece of creative work about what life at CUNY would really be like under management’s demands for our September 19 “Our CUNY vs. Their CUNY” event; see the website for details
  • Save the date now: mass meeting October 30, 6pm, if management has not agreed to a new contract by then.

“The HEO arbitration decision is a victory for everyone at CUNY, faculty as well as HEOs and other staff.  The ruling upheld the integrity of the contract; it said that 35 hours means 35 hours.  It may be amazing that we have to go to arbitration to prove that the contract means what it says, but when CUNY routinely violates a contractual provision, that is our recourse.  Now the violation has to stop, and the affirmation of employees’ contractual rights reverberates for all of us."   ~Barbara Bowen, President