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November 17, 2008

PSC Fighting for Fair Budgets

Last Wednesday, the Governor announced a proposal for further budget cuts to CUNY, a tuition increase, and major give-backs by State employees.  Sign the letter to lawmakers, asking them to oppose budget cuts and tuition hikes for CUNY.

Meanwhile, the union leadership continues to work with chapter chairs to determine the cause and extent of announced cuts to course offerings and increases in class size.  The PSC contract enforcement staff is working to ensure that the contractual provision for one-year appointments of eligible adjuncts is honored and to protect the jobs and working conditions of our members.  

Last week, Barbara Bowen sent a letter to members explaining that the governor’s proposal for the State workforce does not include the PSC, but that the PSC is organizing resistance to proposed cuts and tuition hikes. Bowen will be making the case tomorrow in Albany at a NYPIRG press conference  and at the One New York coalition rally of New Yorkers affected by Paterson’s refusal to consider progressive revenue options to close this and next year’s budget gaps.

During the next two days in Albany, the union is running a radio ad that will have broad coverage on the airwaves:  Click here to listen. The PSC was also part of the One New York rally and press conference at City Hall last week, and at Councilmember Charles Barron’s press conference.

The PSC's budget campaign page has a fact sheet about tuition hikes, budget cuts, and the PSC position, a timeline for our fight for fair CUNY funding through next semester, and more resources. It’s all here on the PSC website.

On-campus Actions

Members are taking up the cause on campus. Faculty, staff and students have collected 45,000 CUNY Rising cards so far. Union members and students rallied at Hunter on Wednesday, and rallies at LaGuardia and Bronx Community Colleges are planned for next Monday, November 24. At LaGuardia, members and students are rallying from 11:45 am to 12:45 pm in front of the E building. At BCC, members and students are rallying 11 am to 1 pm in front of the Roscoe Brown Student Center. To pledge your support, email LaGuardia Chapter Chair Lorraine Cohen at cohenlo@lagcc.cuny.edu or BCC union activist Nikos Apostolakis at nikos.ap@gmail.com.

The rallies, press conferences, and radio ad are all part of the union’s year-long campaign to win fair budgets for CUNY from the City and State. Public investment is the way out of the recession. Contact your chapter chair (here's a list) or Chris Aikin by email to get involved.

Testify For Increased Public Investment in CUNY

The PSC calls on faculty, staff and students to testify on CUNY management’s proposed 2009-10 budget for CUNY, which will include a tuition increase.  Tuition has risen faster than inflation, yet per-student funding from the State has fallen by 14% since 1991.  If you want to add your voice against shifting more of the cost of CUNY onto students, come to the Board of Trustees hearing on CUNY’s 2009-2010 budget on Wednesday, December 3 at CUNY Central, 535 East 80th Street. To sign up to testify, call the Office of the Secretary at 212-794-5450 before 4:30 pm on Tuesday, December 2, and indicate that you wish to address the budget. There is a three minute limit. 

Tuition Hike Facts: Did you know?

Students shoulder more and more of CUNY’s costs:  In 1975, tuition covered 0% of CUNY’s budget—CUNY was free! In fact it was free all the way through the Great Depression. But by 1989, tuition covered 12% of CUNY’s operating budget. By 2006 tuition covered 42% of CUNY’s budget.

Increasing tuition has not resulted in CUNY having more money to spend. CUNY tuition was raised dramatically in the 1990s—and by the end of the decade CUNY had less in total funds.

More facts are on the PSC’s budget campaign page.

Retroactive Pay Update

Retroactive pay for adjuncts at community colleges paid on 11/14 covered the period from 9/20/07 through 10/18/08. Retroactive pay for 10/19/08 through the next pay period will be paid in the 11/28/08 paycheck.

For Distinguished Professors, the increment included in the November paycheck was at the old 9/19/07 rate.  The PSC worked with management to ensure payment at the correct rate, and the University will increase the Distinguished Professor increment by the percentages of the wage increases—3.15% effective 9/20/07, 4% effective 10/6/08 and 3% effective 10/19/10.  When the University informs the union about the pay date for the retroactive pay due on the increments, it will be announced in “This Week in the PSC.”

Health Insurance Selection Period Continues Through 11/28

All PSC-CUNY Welfare Fund members, including adjuncts, retirees and other eligible employees may change their basic health insurance coverage during this fall’s health benefits transfer period, November 3 to 28. Because 2008 is an even-numbered year, retirees are eligible to participate. More information is on the PSC-CUNY Welfare Fund website.

November is also the “open enrollment” month for doctoral student employees to enroll in the NY State Student Health Insurance Program scheduled to take effect in January 2009. See the 10/27/08 “This Week” for more information.