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November 23, 2009

Budget Cuts, Tier V Still Discussed in Albany
CUNY faculty, staff and students have sent almost 4,000 messages to their 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. There are better ways to balance the State’s budget.  A lower pension tier will do nothing to close this year’s gap, and the State should be using its $1.5 billion in reserve funds, closing loopholes, and ending expensive contracting-out before it imposes any cuts on CUNY. 

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.  

Strike Looms at RF Central Office
Despite a year of negotiations and the RF’s stable financial position, CUNY’s Research Foundation has yet to put a fair offer on the table. The Research Foundation has, however, spent several hundred thousand dollars this year on a union-busting law firm – more than the cost of a fair raise for all the PSC members at the Central Office. Principal Investigator Nancy Romer, who has helped bring in more than $5 million in grant money, wrote an opinion piece in the November Clarion on the Research Foundation’s wrong choice about how to spend the money it receives for administering grants won by the faculty and staff.

In September, PSC members held a one-hour walk out and voted to authorize a strike. Today, Inside Higher Ed reported that workers might strike tomorrow if tomorrow’s negotiations aren’t productive. (RF-CUNY members are private employees and not covered by the Taylor Law.)

Call or email Research Foundation president Richard Rothbard and tell him that the faculty and staff of CUNY urge the RF to stop wasting grant money on anti-union lawyers, and instead give the workers a decent raise.  Settle the contract at tomorrow’s bargaining session!  You can email Mr. Rothbard at: Richard_Rothbard@rfcuny.org or you can call him at 212-417-8507.

Full-time and Adjunct Faculty: UFS Survey Deadline is Wednesday
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.

Only Some Adjuncts Due Reappointment Letters on 12/1
The information about appointment letters for adjuncts in last week's “This Week”  was only partially correct.  Adjuncts who have a semester appointment must be notified by December l. However, adjuncts who have letters of yearly appointment (anyone hired for the seventh consecutive semester, exclusive of summers) must be notified by May 15 of appointment for both the following Fall and Spring semesters. If you are a yearly appointee and do not receive a class for the spring semester, please call the a grievance counselor for adjuncts in the PSC office, 212-354-1252. Continuing Education teachers (including CLIP) are not entitled to appointment letters. 

Bronx Community College Holds “Wall of Shame” Event Tomorrow
Students, faculty and staff at Bronx Community College will convene tomorrow to voice their outrage at their crumbling campus. They’ll show and tell the ugly truth – squirrel infestations, freezing classrooms, no drinking water (because the water in many buildings isn’t safe to drink!), dirty bathrooms with no soap, hot water, or paper towels, dirty air – and a new sinkhole. Come see for yourself from noon to 6 pm in the Meister Hall lobby at BCC. 

The BCC chapter will also tell lawmakers how Gov. Paterson’s proposed $9.9 million cut to community colleges will worsen maintenance and demand the BCC administration improve what it can.

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 since young people are particularly vulnerable. PSC President Barbara 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.

PSC Mourns the Passing of Vice Chancellor Ernesto Malave
"The Professional Staff Congress mourns the passing of Ernesto Malave, CUNY Vice Chancellor for Budget and Finance," said PSC President Barabara Bowen. "Vice Chancellor Malave dedicated literally his whole working life to CUNY, having begun as student government president at BMCC in 1980, and rising through the ranks in the CUNY administration, which he joined in 1983.  He served first as an advocate for increased University funding and student access, then moved to the area of budget and finance, where he rose to the position of Vice Chancellor in 2003.

Members of our Executive Council knew Ernesto as a brilliant student and a dedicated administrator.  The PSC officers and staff remember Vice Chancellor Malave with gratitude, as someone always willing to provide information and assistance in service of goals shared by the PSC and CUNY.  On behalf of the Professional Staff Congress, I want to express our deepest sympathies and condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues. 

PSC Office Closed Thursday and Friday
The PSC office will be closed Thursday and Friday for the Thanksgiving holiday. The leadership and staff of the PSC wish you a Happy Thanksgiving.