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November 16, 2009

Budget Cuts, Tier V Still Discussed in Albany
CUNY faculty, staff and students have sent 3,749 messages to state lawmakers telling them: No more cuts to CUNY, and no to a lower pension tier that would reduce take-home pay by 3% for future employees after ten years. If you haven’t yet, you can still send your budget message and Tier V message now. PSC President Barbara Bowen and First Vice President Steve London are in Albany today pressing our case – add your voice to the thousands who have already spoken out against the cuts and pension tier.

If you’d like to become more involved, contact Amanda Magalhaes in the PSC office, 212-354-1252; this is the time to defend our working lives and our students’ futures.  

RF Workers Continue to Mobilize for a Fair Contract
PSC members at the central office of CUNY’s Research Foundation (RF-CUNY) continue to struggle for a fair contract. PSC and RF-CUNY management have met at the bargaining table nine times since the union members held a one-hour walk out and voted in September to authorize a strike; the parties are finally making a little progress, but RF-CUNY has yet to put a realistic offer on the table. Please email Kian Frederick or call her in the PSC office, 212-354-1252, to find out how you can help in the fight for a fair contract.

Full-time and Adjunct Faculty: Fill Out the UFS Survey by 11/25
The University Faculty Senate is conducting an important survey on faculty quality of life at CUNY.  The results could make a difference at the bargaining table next year.  Don’t miss the chance to participate; high levels of participation will increase the survey’s impact. If you were a full-time or adjunct faculty member on April 1, 2009, you should have received a postcard with your user I.D. and password for the UFS Faculty Experience Survey. The survey data is being collected by a non-CUNY entity, Votenet.

If you have lost your postcard, you can call the toll-free Votenet number at 1-866-975-7133. Upon verification, you will receive your user I.D. and password. If you have questions about technical aspects of taking the survey, call Votenet. For other questions about the survey, you can email the UFS office or the principal investigator, PSC Executive Council member Kathleen Barker.

Reappointment Letters Due 12/1
Adjuncts and other part-timers must receive written notice of reappointment (or non-reappointment) for next semester by 12/1. This letter should include your title and your hourly rate. If by 12/1, you have not received a letter, or your letter does not include your title and hourly rate, please call a part-time grievance counselor at the PSC office, 212-354-1252. Class assignments, however, depend on the budget, curriculum, and sufficiency of registration. Once you have received an appointment, you must be told of changes in the conditions which affect your employment as soon as the college knows of them.

As of their second year of service, full-time faculty, CLTs and instructors are also due written notice of reappointment with tenure (or non-reappointment) by 12/1. If you do not receive a letter, or if you receive a letter of non-reappointment, immediately contact a PSC grievance counselor, 212-354-1252. The last day the union can file a grievance challenging a denial of reappointment is 1/14/2010.

H1N1 Flu: Is Your Campus Prepared?
Although New York City appears to have been spared widespread illness so far this fall, the union continues to press the City and CUNY to do more to be ready for this fall’s expected H1N1 epidemic since young people are particularly vulnerable. Bowen’s testimony to the state legislature 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 in their buildings and report them directly to the union. Take the survey by clicking here.

Afghanistan War Forum Held
More than 60 people pressed into the PSC Union Hall last Thursday to participate in a discussion about the position organized labor should take on the Afghanistan War. The forum, organized by the PSC, brought together diverse perspectives, including panelists’ analysis, descriptions of personal, on-the-ground experience, and extensive audience participation.  

Support Striking Grad Employees at the University of Illinois Urbana - Champaign
As of 8 am CST, graduate employees at the University of Illinois Urbana – Champaign are on strike.  The Graduate Employees’ Organization IFT/AFT 6300 represents roughly 2600 teaching and graduate assistants at the main campus of the University of Illinois in Champaign Urbana. The main sticking point is the University’s refusal to guarantee tuition waivers as a basic benefit of employment.

For graduate employees at research universities, tuition waivers are a standard benefit without which few could pursue advanced degrees. (The PSC made this issue a central demand in collective bargaining of the 2002-07 contract. Through a combination of collective bargaining, direct pressure on management, and legislative pressure, the union succeeded in winning a dramatic increase in the number of tuition waivers CUNY offers to doctoral employees.)

The consequence of eliminating or cutting tuition waivers would be to drastically curtail access to the university.  The union is asking supporters to call or email University of Illinois administrators and tell them that you support the strike, favor grant tuition waiver security, and urge them to honor the university’s mission as a public land grant research university.  Contact Robert Easter, Interim Provost, (217) 244-4545 or email and Christopher G. Kennedy, University of Illinois Board of Trustees Chair, (312) 527-7890 x7890 or email. More, and up-to-date, information is available on the union’s website, www.uigeo.org