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October 13, 2009

H1N1 Flu: Is Your Campus Prepared?
PSC President Barbara Bowen is testifying today at a New York State Assembly hearing about H1N1 flu preparedness and continues to pressure the City and CUNY to do more to be ready for this fall’s expected epidemic. “My message is simple, but alarming: CUNY has not developed or implemented an adequate H1NI influenza prevention plan,” Bowen told lawmakers. Her testimony is available on the PSC website.
Have you noticed H1N1 preparations on your campus? Are you still waiting to see some indication of preparedness at your college? The PSC is asking union members to survey the conditions around their offices and classrooms and report them directly to the union. Take the survey by clicking here.
NYCOSH, the New York Committee on Occupational Safety and Health, is holding a forum for public sector workers tomorrow, 10/14 from 9:30 to noon. It’s in the auditorium at Teamsters Local 237 building, 216 W 14th Street in Manhattan.

Click to Tell Your Representatives: No Budget Cuts to CUNY
Last Tuesday, Governor Paterson announced a plan to cut $53 million from CUNY’s budget this year.  His proposed mid-year cuts target higher education in particular—a stunningly bad policy choice as the state attempts to recover from a recession.
We have turned back cuts to CUNY before and we can do it again.  One critical step is to tell the legislature that they must say “No” to this cut.  It is in their power to stop it.  Click here to send a message directly to your legislator.  

Movement in Salary Schedules on 10/20
On Tuesday, 10/20, salaries for all PSC members increase 3%. Those at the top steps of all annual salary schedules with steps receive a 6.1% increase; and those in all adjunct titles at the top steps will receive an increase of 8.75%. Adjuncts at most colleges are paid a blended rate, which means the value of the increase has been averaged across the semester and included in their checks since the first pay date last month. Senior college full-time employees should see a couple of days’ increase in their 10/22 check and full value of the increase in the following check. Community college full-time employees will not see the increase until their 11/27 paychecks because of City payroll delays, and should receive the value of their increase since 10/20 in that check.
If you have questions about whether your check is right, first call your campus payroll office. If your question is unresolved, call a grievance counselor at the union, 212-354-1252.
For more on how the union won the raise, see pages 9 and 12 of the new Clarion, out today.

Environmental Health and Safety Workshops Begin Next Wednesday
The PSC Environmental Health and Safety Watchdogs will again hold workshops this fall. Both workshops feature health and safety expert Dave Newman and consistently garner rave reviews from member participants. The first, on Wednesday, 10/21, will address Indoor Air Quality and the second will cover your rights to a clean and safe campus – and how you can help win improvements – on Wednesday, 10/28.  They are both at 5:30 pm in the PSC Office, 61 Broadway, 15th Floor. RSVP for one or both to the Watchdogs via email or by phone, 212-354-1252.

Graduate Assistants, PSC Pressure Grad Center President On Late Paychecks
Approximately 20 graduate assistants and adjuncts confronted Graduate Center President Bill Kelly at a community meeting on 10/5 about their overdue paychecks. Several spoke about the potentially catastrophic hardships they faced as a result of missing or late paychecks: penalties for late rent, damaged credit status, and financial burdens compounding the already abundant stress of academic work. Graduate Assistants, joined by PSC President Barbara Bowen, pointed out how harmful late pay is to part-time employees who are already in a contingent status and lack pay parity with full-time faculty.

Kelly acknowledged that several hundred graduate assistants did not receive timely paychecks in September, calling the problem “beyond acceptable in any way, shape, or form.”  In spite of Kelly’s assurances that the underlying problems are resolved and graduate assistants will not continue to miss pay periods, there were reports that some graduate assistants were not paid as scheduled on Friday, 10/8. If you have not received a paycheck, call Albert Muñoz in the PSC office, 212-354-1252 or email him.

RF Workers Continue to Mobilize for a Fair Contract
PSC members at the central office of CUNY’s Research Foundation (RF-CUNY) have met RF-CUNY management at the bargaining table once since the union members voted to authorize a strike. RF-CUNY made some encouraging moves, but maintains its proposal to increase the employees’ share of the health insurance premium to 19% in the third year and keep it at 19% in a newly proposed fourth year. 
To join other PSC members in supporting the RF workers, or with any questions about their mobilization, please email Kian Frederick or call her in the PSC office, 212-354-1252.

Learn the Contract: Workshops Continue Wednesday
Contract orientation workshops will provide members with a basic overview of contractual rights and benefits, the union's structure for contract enforcement, Weingarten rights and CUNY's various policies that impact on terms and conditions of employment. This training is intended for chapter activists and members interested in learning more about basic contractual rights. If you’d like to come, please RSVP to PSC Coordinator of Contract Enforcement Albert Muñoz.
The Summer Clarion covered the PSC contract enforcement department, and how it protects your rights. Click here; it is on page 7.

Stella D’oro Workers Protest Plant Closing
Stella D’oro closed its Bronx bakery a day ahead of schedule Thursday, October 8th, officially putting its 136 unionized employees out of work. Several PSC members participated in the rallies last week. Read more about the closing here.

Student Organizing Training This Sunday, 10/18
After a very positive response last year, the PSC is again sponsoring the US Student Assocation’s GrassRoots Organizing Training this semester. At the first day, students came to learn how to make change on their campus. Students who couldn’t come last weekend are welcome at the second day, this Sunday, 10/18, for in-depth training on the facts about public funding for CUNY’s budget. Please let your students know! They can learn more or sign up here on the PSC website.

Rally for Puerto Rican Workers’ Rights
Unions, political leaders, and community activists are rallying on Thursday, 10/15 against the massive layoffs of union workers in Puerto Rico. The rally is sponsored by the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLCAA), an affinity group of the AFL-CIO.