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November 26, 2007

Bargaining Tomorrow, What You Can Do Today  

The next bargaining session with CUNY management will be tomorrow, Tuesday, November 27, from 9:30 to 12:30.  As pressure on management mounts to make an economic offer in the wake of statewide settlements, the union will press CUNY at this session to resolve a number of outstanding issues.  The PSC will be working to advance the bargaining agenda discussed at the mass meeting.  You can show your support by attending this negotiating session; please consider attending this critical meeting. To come as an observer, contact Amanda DeJesus Malgalhaes to sign up.

Even if you cannot attend the session tomorrow, you can show your support.  The PSC bargaining team is asking all faculty and staff to wear a blue contract button this week in solidarity with the efforts at the bargaining table.  The buttons say “CUNY needs a raise,” “CUNY is contingent on us,” “Hands off salary steps,” “Hands off HEOs” and “Hands off Department Chairs.” Get yours today by talking to your chapter chair or contacting Nick Cruz at the union office.

Visit the negotiations section of the website for all the latest news and updates on bargaining.

Last Week for Open Enrollment Period on Health Plans

This is the last week that PSC members on the City Health Plan can switch insurance plans. Also ending November 30 is the annual opportunity to switch dental plans through the Welfare Fund, and for adjuncts to switch health plans. For more information, see the website.

To Vote in April PSC Elections You Must be a Member in Good Standing as of 12/3/07

There will be elections for chapter leadership in half the union’s chapters in April 2008. In order to vote in these elections, you must be a member in good standing as of December 3, 2007. To check your membership status, contact the union’s membership department by calling the office at 212-354-1252. For more information on chapter elections, see the website.

Call for Testimony at Higher Ed Commission 12/5

In May 2007, Governor Eliot Spitzer announced the formation of a Higher Education Commission, whose mandate it was to identify ways to improve the quality of higher education in New York State. The commission’s hearings and deliberations offer a critical opportunity for the PSC to influence the debate about state higher education policy, and particularly to make the case for a historic reinvestment in CUNY to counteract the historic disinvestment of the last three decades. The commission is holding a public hearing on Wednesday, December 5, 2:30-5pm at the CUNY Graduate Center. The union encourages interested members to testify and/or attend. If you would like to testify, you need to register by December 3 on the commission website. Please also e-mail Kate Pfordresher at the PSC so that we know who is coming. The commission’s preliminary report is due to be released at the end of this week, and the union will post a link to it as soon a it is public. 

PSC Members Testify on CUNY Budget

PSC members and officers testified last Monday at the CUNY Board of Trustees public hearing on the proposed 2008-2009 CUNY budget. The PSC leadership discussed the union’s support for several of CUNY management’s budget requests, but called for full funding of CUNY’s programmatic needs, stressed the importance of improving salaries and other conditions of employment, and reiterated its long-standing opposition to financing improvements at CUNY through increased tuition for students. For background information on what’s at stake in this budget, analysis of the CUNY proposal, copies of testimony from last week and more, visit the PSC website.

“Campaign of Outrage” Visits Baruch and Bronx CC Presidents

In the ongoing effort to shame five CUNY colleges into abandoning their practice of not paying adjuncts fully for the 15th week of the semester, PSC activists last week visited the presidents’ offices at Baruch College and Bronx Community College. Dressed in a turkey suit and armed with a plush toy  turkey to present to the presidents—both meant to convey the message,  “Don’t be a turkey, pay adjuncts for the work they do”—organizers and members were met by security administrators at Baruch, who accepted the plush turkey, and office workers at Bronx, who refused the gift. Afterwards they handed out flyers on both campuses to educate students about the practice of paying adjuncts only for any proctoring they do during finals week, not for the teaching they do. For photos and more information on the campaign, visit the website.

Writers Guild Rally Tomorrow

The PSC urges members to join the Writers Guild of America (WGA) at a rally tomorrow in support of their strike; the rally will be from 12-1:30pm in Washington Square Park. WGA members, who write the scripts of the television shows that keep our nation entertained, have been on strike for four weeks. At issue in the strike is the TV studios move into new media and their refusal to pay writers for their work when it is published online. The issue is familiar to faculty and others who have also dealt with questions of intellectual property rights and payment for work originally written offline but then repurposed on the Internet. “An injury to one is an injury to all,” as the labor slogan goes, so please join your union brothers and sisters tomorrow at noon!

"When I visit a campus, faculty and staff always ask me questions about what’s happening at the bargaining table. The best way to answer that is to come to a negotiating session yourself.  The PSC bargaining team fought hard for your right to observe the sessions because we believe that our members are entitled to know how we are representing them.  You have a chance to come to an important session tomorrow; if your teaching and work schedule permits, I urge you to attend.  Those who do inevitably find it eye-opening.” ~Barbara Bowen, President