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August 17, 2009

Click, Call and Email for Health Care Reform
Two things you can do today for health care reform: email your lawmakers through the AFT’s Fight for America’s Future website (where there are also videos to watch and a form to send in your story, too) and call your lawmakers to voice your support by visiting the website for Health Care for America Now, a coalition of unions and community groups. Health Care for America Now also features videos, a news roundup, and more. Both sites allow you to sign up for action and alerts, as well. To get involved locally, you can visit the website of Rekindling Reform, a local union coalition. The AFL-CIO blog has a round up of news and blog posts about the growing progressive presence at town hall events around the country and the newest Clarion has commentary from the PSC’s Len Rodberg, professor at Queens College and leader of Physicians for a National Health Program.

Register to Vote for Upcoming City Elections
Friday, 8/21 is the deadline for registering to vote in the upcoming primaries, to be held on Tuesday, 9/15. You must declare a party affiliation to vote in that party’s primary –Republicans and Democrats are holding their primaries on that day; most other parties are not. Regardless of your party affiliation, all eligible voters can cast ballots in the general election, Tuesday, 11/3.  Registrations must be received by Wednesday, 10/14. Register by printing, filling out, and mailing in this form. If you’re registered but don’t know where your polling place is located, this website will tell you.

The PSC endorsements are posted on the PSC’s political action committee’s new website.

Bloomberg Campaigns at BMCC, Promises More CC Aid if Elected
Last week Mayor Michael Bloomberg, campaigning for a third term, visited BMCC to announce that, if elected, he will allocate an additional $50 million to CUNY community colleges over the next four years. Bloomberg described his initiative as a response to President Obama’s challenge to increase the number of graduates from community colleges, and outlined a program focused on job training.  Plans include supporting a new community college, providing more child care for students, and expanding the ASAP program. (The Times coverage is here.)

“The PSC welcomes additional investment in the community colleges, something we have been calling for throughout Mayor Bloomberg’s term—including in years when Bloomberg proposed cuts to these colleges,” said PSC President Barbara Bowen. “We are also pleased that the Mayor’s proposal includes several initiatives consistently championed by the PSC, such as increased funding for student advisement.  While any major new public investment is good, we are disappointed that the proposal does not even mention the single most important investment that could be made: more full-time faculty and fair, professional conditions for part-time faculty. The proposal also misses the opportunity to call for reduced tuition, perhaps the most important factor in student retention.  CUNY’s community college tuition is among the highest of public community colleges nationally.” 

Stella D’oro Workers and Allies Rally to Keep Plant Open
On Saturday, cookie factory Stella D’oro workers rallied to keep their factory open without making concessions. PSC members were again in attendance; NYSUT was also there. A growing number of unions have been expressing their solidarity with the struggle.

Rally Friday with SUNY Grad Workers
Stony Brook Graduate Assistants and Teaching Assistants have been with out a contract for two years. PSC members are invited to join their union, CWA Local 1104, and rally at noon on Friday at Governor Paterson’s NYC office (633 Third Avenue, between 40th and 41st Streets) to demand he settle a fair contract. Contact Kira Schuman for more info.