Contract FAQs

Updated: September 28, 2016
Top slideshow: 

How much will annual salaries go up if the contract is ratified?

How much will hourly rates for part-timers go up?"

How do our salary increases compare to inflation?

One of the union’s goals was to get retroactive increases. Did we succeed?

Will I receive a retroactive salary increase if I retired before 2016?

When will we get our retroactive pay? And when will we see increases in our annual salary/biweekly pay?

How does the signing bonus work?

Are there any improvements in economic equity for adjuncts?

Did the union consider a shorter or longer contract?

Why the peculiar length of 85 months and 14 days?

Do you anticipate another 6-year wait until the next contract is negotiated?

Questions about Professional Staff Issues

Questions about Full-time Faculty Issues

Questions about Adjunct Multi-Year Appointments

Questions about Graduate Employees, EOCs, CLIP and CUNY Start

Other Issues

CUNY Management Demands

 

How much will annual salaries go up if the contract is ratified?

The short answer:  if the contract is ratified, annual salaries will go up by 8.784 percent as soon as the increase can be accomplished administratively. CUNY has not announced the date by which the increase will appear in current paychecks. (See below for further information about timing.) Then on April 20, 2017, annual salaries will be increased by another 1.5 percent, for a compounded increase of 10.416 percent. 

In more detail: every step of every salary schedule for 10/20/2009 (and every salary range, for positions that do not have steps) will be increased by 1 percent effective 4/20/2012; by 1 percent compounded effective 4/20/2013; by 2.5 percent compounded effective 4/20/2014; by 2 percent compounded effective 4/20/2105; and by 2 percent compounded effective 4/20/2016.  The compounding (applying the new percentage increase on top of the prior increase) results in an increase of 8.784 percent from 10/20/2010 to 4/20/2016. 

Under the proposed contract, every step of every salary schedule will be increased by another 1.5 percent on April 20, 2017.  With compounding, the increase in the salary schedules during the period of the contract is 10.416 percent.

The complete new salary schedules will be posted on the PSC website as soon as they are available after the contract has been ratified.

How much will hourly rates for part-timers go up?

Again, hourly rates for part-timers will go up only if the contract is ratified.  If that occurs, hourly rates will increase by 8.784 percent as soon as the change can be accomplished administratively.  Then on April 20, 2017, those rates will be increased by another 1.5 percent, for a compounded increase of 10.416 percent.

In more detail: every step of every salary schedule for part-time employees will be increased as described in the answer above.  The compounding results in an increase of 8.784 percent as of April 2016.  That means that a teaching adjunct lecturer who was earning $70.15 per contact hour, and who remains on the same salary step, will be earning at the same step the hourly rate $76.31.  For the fall 2016 semester, an adjunct lecturer on this step will earn $3,434 for a 3-credit courseAn adjunct on this salary step teaching two 3-credit courses and receiving the paid professional hour will earn $8,013.

Under the proposed contract, every step of every salary schedule will be increased by another 1.5 percent on April 20, 2017.  With compounding, the total increase in the salary schedules is 10.416 percent.

How do our salary increases compare to inflation?

Inflation is difficult to measure with precision, and there is disagreement among economists on the most accurate measure.  The accepted standard is the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data.  If the contract is ratified, the increases applied through this year keep our salaries about even with inflation.  From the BLS reports, the inflation rate from October 2010 to May 2016 for the New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island region rounds to 8.8 percent.  After the increase of 4/20/2016, the increases in the proposed new contract are 8.784 percent, which rounds to 8.8 percent, the same as the inflation rate.

This contract expires on 11/19/2017, and there will be an additional salary increase of 1.5 percent on 4/20/2017.  We have to rely on projections for the inflation rate through November 2017.  With inflation for 2017 projected at between 1.5 percent and 2.0 percent, it is possible that the compounded increase will be just slightly less than inflation over the period of the contract. But we expect to negotiate an additional increase effective before the end of 2017, at the start of the next contract.

One of the union’s goals was to get retroactive increases. Did we succeed?

Yes.  We fought hard for retroactive pay, and because of our sustained campaign, New York State finally agreed in mid-June to provide funding for back pay for the CUNY unions. New York City and CUNY provided additional money. All of the increases effective through the date of the ratification vote are applied retroactively.  

Watch the PSC website for an online estimator for retroactive pay.

Will I receive a retroactive salary increase if I retired before 2016?

Yes: if you were on active CUNY payroll (including on Travia leave) at any time between 4/20/12 and today, you are eligible for retroactive pay for the period you were on active payroll.  One of the union’s priorities—and one we achieved—was to include those who had retired during the contract period in applicable retroactive pay.  As with other salary, taxes and pension contributions will be deducted from your retroactive pay, and CUNY will make pension contributions based on the amount you receive. It may take several months, however, for the City and State to calculate retroactive pay for retirees. You may not receive the retro pay or the contribution adjustments until 2017, and it may take even longer for those in TRS to have your benefit level adjusted. (For updates on TRS adjustments, contact TRS.) You should contact the payroll office at the college where you worked so they know where to send your check and can tell you when to expect it.

When will we get our retroactive pay? And when will we see increases in our annual salary/biweekly pay?

CUNY has announced that the ratification bonus will be paid in October. Retroactive payment will be made at same time that the new salary rates go into effect, which will be no later than January 2017. The PSC leadership will continue to explore every avenue for expediting the process.

Revised salary schedules have been posted on the PSC website.

How does the signing bonus work?

The signing (or “ratification”) bonus of $1,000 for full-time employees will be paid to employees on payroll on both May 1 and September 1, 2016. (Because it is an addition to this year’s salary, it will be taxed and treated as salary in terms of other applicable deductions.) In order to determine eligibility for the signing bonus, CUNY insisted on having one date that represented continuing employment at the University and a second date prior to ratification. The May date was chosen in order to maximize eligibility, because many part-time employees are off payroll during the summer.

Eligible part-time employees (those with less than 18 contact teaching hours worked during 2015-16) will receive a pro-rata amount. However, the union negotiated some variations to maximize the amount received (assuming employees are on payroll on both May 1 and September 1, 2016):

  • Teaching adjuncts with 18 or more contact teaching hours worked during 2015-16 will receive $1,000. (Non-teaching adjuncts can work a maximum of 225 hours/semester and will be paid on a pro-rata basis. The bonus for those who worked in both teaching and non-teaching adjunct positions will be calculated, as will the bonus for Adjunct CLTs.)
  • Graduate Assistants A, B, and C will receive $750; Graduate Assistant Ds will receive $500.
  • CLIP and CUNY Start teachers who worked during Fall 2015 and Spring 2016 will receive $1,000. (Eligible employees in in the CET title will receive a pro-rata amount.)

Further information about the pro-rata signing bonus for part-time employees will be posted on the PSC website. 

Are there any improvements in economic equity for adjuncts?

Percentage-based increases, such as those negotiated in this contract, generate higher dollar amounts for those with higher pay, and the PSC for the past 16 years has worked to counter that effect by negotiating various kinds of equity for the lowest-paid, including CLTs, Lecturers and adjuncts.  With increases at just about the level of inflation in the current proposed contract, and CUNY management focused on getting salaries above scale for a select few, the union was not able to negotiate a higher-percentage salary increase for adjuncts to begin to close the huge gap in full-time and part-time salaries.  Our demand was, and continues to be, pro-rata pay for adjuncts, commensurate with full-time Lecturers, but achieving that goal would have required more money than is provided in the total increase for everyone in the entire contract period.  Only a transformation of the austerity basis on which CUNY is funded will achieve that—and the union is prepared to build the power it will take to accomplish that change.

But there are major economic gains for adjuncts in this contract.  The first is the provision of health insurance for eligible adjuncts on the same basis as individual health insurance for full-timers.  That includes the rare option for any workers, especially part-timers, of premium-free health insurance.  Agreement on adjunct health insurance was reached after a protracted campaign waged by full-timers and part-timers together, and its economic value—equivalent to almost a full percentage-point in wages, is part of the value of this contract.

The second major economic gain is increased job security.  Adjuncts’ priority demands coming into this round of negotiations were health insurance and increased job security—and we achieved both.  They were the hardest-fought issues of all.  No economic issue is more basic than having a job, and the new provision for secure three-year adjunct appointments represents a significant increase in job security—and the first break in CUNY’s system of radical contingency for adjunct workers.

Did the union consider a shorter or longer contract?

The length of the contract was determined by the economic offer.  The union pressed for a higher percentage increase over a shorter period, and thus a richer contract, but CUNY management refused.  Management’s position was that, with the funding available, CUNY was unable to offer a higher amount. The union would also have been open to a longer contract, but only if there were higher increases in the later years, as there are in the contract settled directly with the City of New York. The settlement CUNY reached with DC 37 the week before our contract closed conformed to the funding New York State and New York City were willing to provide and created an economic framework for our contract. 

Why the peculiar length of 85 months and 14 days?

85 months and 14 days represents the basic economic framework of 7 years, plus an additional month-and-a-half until a new raise can be applied in 2017.  By extending the contract by about 6 weeks, the union was able to generate additional economic value, allowing for an increase to the Welfare Fund and an improvement in benefits.

Do you anticipate another 6-year wait until the next contract is negotiated?

No!  The factors behind the terrible delay this time are unlikely to be repeated.  What happened in this round was that both State and City governments, under Governor Cuomo and Mayor Bloomberg, insisted on imposing economic austerity on public employees, and for five years CUNY management failed to get authorization for funds for its employee contracts.  What broke the deadlock was a year of collective action by the PSC and the threat of a strike.  When CUNY finally made an offer close to inflation on June 12, the union settled the contract within four days.  For the next round of negotiations, Mayor de Blasio has already agreed to contracts with increases in 2017 and 2018; and the state-wide unions, preparing to negotiate with Governor Cuomo, are determined to achieve stronger contracts. The PSC leadership is prepared to start the next round of bargaining even before the new contract expires, and we start ahead because of the power and credibility the union built through our contract campaign.

PROFESSIONAL STAFF ISSUES

What are the gains for CLTs in the proposed contract?

The most significant gains, if the contract is ratified, are the salary increases and retroactive pay. Full-time and part-time CLTs are included in these gains, as are all faculty and staff represented by the PSC. Full-time and part-time CLTs who were on payroll at the specified dates will also receive the $1,000 signing bonus, which will be pro-rated for part-timers. Many CLTs expressed the importance of receiving retroactive pay, and the union would not agree to a contract until significant back pay was included.

In addition, the leadership of the CLT chapter presented a proposal to the union bargaining team to rename the CLT series and revisit the requirements for the three different CLT positions. The current name and requirements, the leadership argued, do not reflect the expanded technological responsibilities and greater job scope of many CLTs. CUNY management was unwilling to negotiate such proposals across the bargaining table, viewing the name and requirements of titles as issues of management prerogative, but the union was able to reach agreement directly with the CUNY chancellor to hold a labor/management discussion on the name of the series and required qualifications. No decision has been made about whether a change will be made, but a full discussion will be conducted. CLT leadership will be involved in the discussion, which the union will work to begin expeditiously.

How will the guidelines for HEO reclassification be changed? Why are the changes not included in the Memorandum of Agreement?

Improvement in opportunities for advancement for HEOs was one of the union’s major goals of this round of bargaining, and we made significant progress. A new criterion for reclassification to a higher HEO title is “volume of work” such that it changes the nature of the job. Previously, a HEO’s duties had to have changed for the employee to be eligible for reclassification. Also, HEO Associates will not be denied reclassification solely because there is already a full HEO in their office or department. HEOs will be able to nominate themselves directly for reclassification to the HEO Screening Committee or its equivalent on each campus, which then recommends to the President. These guideline changes are not changes in contract language but are changes in management practice, as expressed in the “HEO Code of Practice.” They were discussed and arrived at away from the bargaining table as a result of pressure from the bargaining team (and the members) to address HEO advancement.

How does the “assignment differential” for HEOs work?

The union made it clear that the new contract must include greater opportunities for HEOs in the three titles below full HEO to advance in their careers, even though the HEO series is non-promotional. Management absolutely refused to accept any form of automatic movement to a higher salary schedule, but we were able to achieve a new opportunity for HEOs at the top step of all but the full HEO position to apply for a salary increase. Newly-constituted labor/management committees will accept applications for a $2,500 assignment differential, which will be added to base pay, for employees in the titles Assistant to HEO, HEO Assistant and HEO Associate who have been at the top step of their salary schedule for at least one year. Approval of the assignment differential will be based on excellence in performance or increased responsibilities within the title. Eligible employees may be nominated by their supervisor or may nominate themselves. Positive recommendations from the labor/management committee will go to the HEO Screening Committee, which will make recommendations to the President.

Why are nominations for the HEO assignment differential made to HEO labor/management committees?

The union’s position was that HEOs are entitled to peer review, as professional workers in an academic environment. Management was not open to creating a new peer-review structure for the HEO differential, outside of the existing contract. Recognizing the problems with the functioning of some existing labor/management committees, the bargaining team negotiated to improve the language governing these committees by increasing their size from four to six and by having the chair’s position alternate annually between the union and management. The newly constituted labor/management committees will make recommendations on the assignment differential and will also continue hear HEOs’ workload concerns and make recommendations on workload issues to the President.

FULL-TIME FACULTY ISSUES

How does the contract advance the goal of a reduction in teaching load? For the first time, the union has secured agreement with management to reduce the contractual teaching load for all full-time faculty. The teaching load agreement is among the most significant gains in this contract. It will contribute directly to the quality of education for students and the professional life of faculty. In a joint statement appended to the Memorandum of Agreement, CUNY management acknowledges that the teaching load for faculty in all CUNY colleges is higher than at many peer institutions and that a lower teaching load would create more time for research, mentoring and work with individual students.

While the reduction will not go into effect immediately, the contractual agreement mandates that there will be an across-the-board reduction of 3 contact teaching hours in the annual teaching load for all full-time faculty, effective prior to the ratification of the next contract settlement.   A labor-management committee will be formed by October 2016 to identify resources to fund the program and plan for its implementation. We expect to discuss additional external funding and other ways of supporting the change. The union will involve as many faculty as possible in planning for the reduction.  

Why do you see the teaching load agreement as a real commitment and not just another committee?

The joint statement on reducing the teaching load is very different from a promise to convene a committee. It includes a binding commitment by management not just to study but to implement a reduction by a specific time: the ratification of the next contract. We do not know when negotiations for the next contract will conclude, but the next ratification could be within very few years. Planning for implementation must begin now in order to be ready. The agreement also specifies that the reduction will be 3 contact teaching hours, that it will be contractual, and that it will apply to all faculty. Finally, the agreement specifies the date by which the labor/management committee must be convened: October 1, 2016. It is a firm commitment and one the union must work to realize in the most effective way.

Why does the contract include more annual leave for librarians?

More than 25 years ago, the prior leadership of the PSC negotiated a concession in annual leave provisions for library faculty. The scholarly productivity of library faculty has been undermined as a result of this loss of leave time and by the difference between the annual leave provided to library faculty and all other full-time faculty. Library faculty at CUNY are expected to maintain significant research careers and demonstrate research productivity for promotion and tenure. During several rounds of bargaining, the present leadership of the PSC has attempted through negotiations to reverse the concession and establish equity in annual leave among full-time faculty. The proposed contract eliminates the concession and takes a major step toward equity; it provides for 8 weeks of annual leave for full-time faculty working as librarians. While not equivalent to the annual leave period for other full-time faculty, the change will make a real difference in the ability of librarians to continue active research careers.

Why do we need a labor/management committee on online teaching observations?

The CUNY Master Plan emphasizes the expansion of online instruction over the next several years. Historical protections of faculty and staff under the contract must be preserved in this new, rapidly changing context. The union will continue to press for the rights and protections we need. As a first step, we won agreement to negotiate new contractual language that will govern classroom teaching observations for online or hybrid courses. In these courses, there may be no traditional class sessions. A central concern is that observers are able to extend their observations beyond a circumscribed class and “roam” through various parts of course materials and instruction. Several colleges have developed their own non-contractual procedures for observation, and the union has challenged these. The new labor/management committee will develop contract language, agreed to by both CUNY and the PSC.

What does the side letter on salary schedules at the business schools mean?

CUNY management pressed hard for a new, separate (and higher) salary schedule for faculty teaching at Baruch’s Zicklin School of Business. Baruch management argued that higher salaries at business schools are the norm and that certain professional schools within CUNY, such as the schools of law and medicine, already have higher salary schedules. The union refused to agree to a higher salary schedule for some faculty in the context of a contract in which raises for other CUNY faculty and staff remain modest. In addition, the union is aware that Zicklin is not the only business school at CUNY, and that its faculty teach undergraduate as well as graduate courses. The bargaining team is acutely conscious of the inequities that already exist within CUNY and wanted a comprehensive understanding of the compensation issues facing full- and part-time faculty at all the business schools before being willing to consider a new salary schedule. The parties agreed to establish the labor-management committee to examine the issues.

ADJUNCT MULTI-YEAR APPOINTMENTS

What is the importance of the three-year appointments for adjuncts?

The three-year appointments for adjuncts represent the first major break in CUNY’s exploitative system of precarious, contingent employment for more than half its teaching force.  For the first time, CUNY adjuncts will have access to an appointment that provides job security for three years and guaranteed compensation or alternative work if six credit hours of teaching are not available in a given semester. Departments will be able to plan curriculum in advance, and students will have the benefit of knowing that their instructor will be working in the department for more than one semester.  Most important, the three-year appointment will affect how all adjuncts are hired, supported, mentored and evaluated; it will introduce much greater professionalism in the treatment of adjuncts. 

Job security for adjuncts was one of the union’s priority demands, and the agreement on three-year appointments represents substantial progress. Our original demand was that long-term adjuncts be eligible for a certificate of part-time continuous employment, modeled on the CCE for Lecturers. CUNY management refused to consider such a system, and resisted the most important elements of job security until the last night of bargaining.  While the new structure is not everything the union wanted, it is a major change. 

How will the three-year appointments work?

Under a new five-year pilot program, the first three-year appointments for adjuncts will begin in the Fall 2017 semester.  Adjuncts who have taught at least six credit hours per semester in the same department for the 10 most recent consecutive semesters must be considered by the department for a three-year appointment. Following a successful review by the department P & B Committee and approval by the college president, the adjunct will be appointed for three years. Adjuncts on three-year appointments will have secure employment. They will be assigned at least six credit hours of teaching each semester during the appointment.  If, for some reason, the department is unable to offer the adjunct six hours of teaching, the adjunct will be offered either the equivalent number of hours of non-teaching adjunct work or an additional course or courses within the following year.  At the end of three years, adjuncts on three-year appointments will be reviewed for another three-year appointment.  

Why is the three-year appointment for adjuncts only a pilot program? 

The only way the union could reach agreement with management on multi-year appointments for adjuncts was to introduce them as part of a pilot program.  The PSC and CUNY have a history of negotiating structural changes through pilot programs, and in almost every instance in the last 15 years, the pilot has been made permanent.  Paid parental leave, phased retirement, higher investment in PSC-CUNY Awards and other significant contract changes began as pilot programs.  We have every expectation that the three-year appointments will be continued.  Introducing the three-year appointments on a pilot basis allows labor and management to negotiate adjustments if warranted before the provision becomes permanent. 

Is there any provision for immediate multi-year appointments for adjuncts who already have many years of service?

Yes.  The agreement recognizes that adjuncts who have a long record of consistent teaching in a single department are entitled to an immediate longer-term appointment.  Part-time faculty who have taught at least six classroom contact hours within the same department for 14 out of the last 18 consecutive semesters (excluding summer sessions) immediately preceding the 2016-2017 academic year and who have been reappointed for the Fall 2016 semester (many with one-year appointments) will receive an immediate two-year appointment, subject to the usual requirements of sufficiency of registration. Long-serving adjuncts should check the provisions of the agreement on Multi-Year Appointments appended to the Memorandum of Agreement for details. For example, up to four semesters as a full-time Substitute in the same department count for eligibility.

For this one-time transition to the new system, adjuncts are responsible for notifying their departments of their eligibility for the two-year appointment.  If you believe you are eligible, review your employment history and the details of the new program, and notify your department chair before October 15, 2016.

But does the new three year appointment have any real force? What protections does it offer?

The three-year appointment represents a major advance in job protection.  For the first time, adjuncts will have access to a secure appointment, subject to dismissal only for just cause.  If a department is “unable to offer an adjunct a minimum of six classroom contact hours in a given semester, the department chair shall offer the adjunct either: A) an academically appropriate non-teaching adjunct appointment in the current semester for an equivalent number of hours at the non-teaching rate; or B) an additional teaching assignment of the number of hours of the contact hour deficit within the following two semesters or summer session.”  CUNY colleges will now have responsibility for providing adjuncts on three-year appointments with a consistent teaching load. 

What portion of part-time faculty will be affected?

A significant number of part-time faculty members will be eligible for the multi-year appointments.  We anticipate that well over 1,000 adjuncts will be eligible this fall for the two-year appointment, and that a similarly large number will qualify for the three-year appointment in the Fall 2017 semester.  Every year, more adjuncts will become eligible as they reach the requirements for mandatory consideration for the secure appointment. 

I don’t teach six hours a semester and I don’t teach consistently in a single department; will I be eligible for a three-year adjunct appointment?

No.  In order to receive a three-year adjunct appointment, an adjunct must have consistent experience as an instructor in a single department and be able to be reviewed by the department P&B committee.  The multi-year appointment system the union negotiated is designed to treat adjunct faculty with the seriousness and respect of full-time faculty.  A significant number of adjuncts will be eligible for multi-year appointments, and the stability such an appointment ensures will provide more secure, professional conditions for adjuncts and a more stable teaching force for students.  The union bargaining team recognizes that there are many different configurations of adjunct work and that many adjuncts are not able to secure steady six-hour appointments in a single department.  We also recognize that many adjuncts are retirees or have other full-time jobs and prefer to teach only occasional courses to supplement their income. The multi-year appointment system, while it will not be applicable to all adjuncts, represents a major change in the current system of complete contingency for adjunct faculty.

GRADUATE EMPLOYEES, EOCs, CLIP and CUNY START

Are there any advances for graduate assistants in the proposed contract?

Yes, there are advances in addition to the salary increases, retroactive pay and signing bonus that will be applied if the contract is ratified.  Graduate employees’ chief demand was that years of service in graduate assistant titles be counted as years of service required for important adjunct benefits if the graduate employment is immediately followed by employment as an adjunct.  The proposed new contract provides that graduate assistant service will be counted for eligibility for adjunct health insurance when making the transition to a teaching adjunct title at CUNY, immediately after working as a graduate assistant and receiving health insurance through NYSHIP.  The usual requirement of one year of adjunct service before becoming eligible for health insurance will be waived, assuming other eligibility requirements are met.  CUNY management refused to agree to allow service as a graduate assistant to count toward movement in the adjunct salary schedule.

The tentative contract also creates a new benefit for graduate employees: they will be eligible to apply for professional development grants through the Adjunct Professional Development Fund.  The union negotiated additional funding for the Adjunct Professional Development Fund, and, for the first time, made such funding permanent, rather than dependent on each new contract.  Details of eligibility will be developed by the Committee established by the PSC under Appendix B of the contract and will be announced in the fall. 

Finally, the union won agreement that all Grad A, B and C employees who are eligible for the signing bonus, regardless of hours taught, will receive a $750 bonus instead of a pro-rata amount.  The bonus for eligible Grad Ds will be $500. Click here for details.  

Will graduate assistants get a salary increase if the contract is ratified?

Funds for a 10.41 percent salary increase for graduate assistants are part of the economic package of the contract, and graduate assistants are salaried annual employees.  Many graduate assistants receive a fellowship from the Graduate Center that combines salary with a grant.  Graduate assistants report that in the past, they have not consistently received an increase in overall compensation when salaries have been increased.  The amount of their fellowship grants has been reduced so that the total fellowship amount remains constant.  The PSC raised this issue during negotiations, and will work with the Graduate Center to ensure that graduate assistants receive the benefit of contractually negotiated increases, including retroactive pay where applicable.

How will the EOCs be affected by this contract?

There are four Educational Opportunity Centers in NYC, one in each borough except Staten Island. They were established and are funded through SUNY, but are managed by CUNY. They offer tuition-free pre-college and technical certificate programs, and serve some of the most economically at-risk students at CUNY.  The EOCs are staffed by Lecturers, adjuncts, HEOs and CLTs represented by PSC, as well as clerical staff represented by DC 37. Their terms and conditions of employment are covered by a Supplementary Agreement to the contract; in 2009, EOC employees were moved onto CUNY payroll.

In every round of bargaining, the PSC’s goal has been to maintain parity for EOC employees with salary and benefit gains for CUNY employees. In this proposed contract, we were able to reach agreement that salaries for PSC-represented EOC employees will increase at the same rate and on the same dates as CUNY employees, if the contract is ratified. EOC employees are also eligible for the “signing bonus” if they meet the eligibility criteria. For the first time adjuncts at the EOCs will be eligible to enroll in the NYC Health Benefits Program and to receive PSC-CUNY Welfare Fund benefits if they meet the eligibility criteria established for CUNY adjuncts.

How does the contract make gains for CLIP and CUNY Start teachers?

CLIP and CUNY Start are programs within Continuing Education that offer intensive instruction in English language or other basic skills to help students to qualify for CUNY admission.  The most important change the union achieved for instructors in these programs is the establishment of two new full-time titles, into which these teachers will be transferred during Fall 2016. They will receive annual salaries based on the Lecturer salary schedule, as well as annualized health insurance and Welfare Fund benefits. They will be covered by the contractual grievance procedure (Article 20) and have expanded sick leave accruals. For a detailed description of the new provisions, click here. The replacement of hourly payment with annualized salary and health insurance for these CUNY instructors is a major gain in this contract, but more remains to be achieved, because these titles are not covered by all the contract provisions that cover other full-time employees.

OTHER ISSUES

How will the Welfare Fund benefits be improved and when will that happen?

Welfare Fund trustees and staff, aided by technical consultants, are determining the best way to improve benefits with the additional funding achieved in this contract.  They are studying the dental benefit as well as other Welfare Fund benefits.  The Welfare Fund will announce the changes as early as possible in the fall, and will notify members of when the improvements will begin.  Welfare Fund trustees understand the urgency of improving the dental benefit and will determine how to make improvements that work for our members.  The union bargaining team worked hard to gain additional Welfare Fund support because such funding is one of the most effective ways to make a difference in members’ lives through the contract.  Contractual increases for the Welfare Fund are not taxed as salary and benefit all members who are covered by the Fund, regardless of title, salary or full-time or part-time status.

I see a provision for bereavement leave; don’t we already have bereavement leave?

Section 13.3 of the CUNY Bylaws provides that special leaves may be granted by the college president “at his/her discretion” to members of the instructional staff “for personal emergencies of not more than ten working days with pay.” This provision remains in effect.  But the emergency leave provided by the Bylaws is at the discretion of the college president and requires a request.  The union bargaining team responded to members’ call for contractual bereavement leave that would be easily identifiable at a time of great stress.  The new contractual provision makes four days of bereavement leave, for the first time, a right for all full-time faculty and staff.  Additional days may be requested under the Bylaws, and employees are responsible for documenting the loss, if asked to do so.

Do adjuncts get bereavement leave?

Yes.  Bereavement is one of the designated uses for the “personal emergency” leave already available to adjuncts, including non-teaching adjuncts and adjunct CLTs, under Article 14.8 of the current contract.  Use of such leave currently must be requested, even for a death in the family.  What has changed with the proposed new contract is that adjuncts may use the leave for bereavement without a request.  They are expected to notify the appropriate department chair or supervisor in advance of their absence for bereavement, but they do not have to ask permission for use of the leave. 

Did we make any progress on speeding up the grievance procedure?

Yes. The union and management agreed on a five-year pilot program establishing a deadline of 120 days for college presidents to respond to an appeal from a full-time faculty member regarding a negative decision on reappointment or tenure. Currently there is no deadline, and some faculty have had to wait more than four months for a response. For the next five years, the change will apply to Article 9.10, and the union will monitor whether it has a positive effect on speeding up the procedure.

What is “medical separation leave” and how will it be used?

The union and management agreed to a pilot program to avoid disciplinary action if an employee is physically or mentally unable to perform his or her job.  Such situations occur infrequently, but require fair and humane treatment when they do. Under the five-year pilot program, management may place a full-time faculty or staff member on medical separation leave rather than initiating disciplinary proceedings.  Anyone on the leave remains on salary for six months and then may use accrued leave to maintain full salary for up to an additional six months. The pilot program contains procedures for independent medical examinations, for appeal of placement on the leave, and for an individual to seek medical clearance to return to work during the year. After a year on medical separation leave, if an independent medical exam does not certify that he or she may return to work, employment is terminated (or the employee may retire or go on long-term disability, if eligible).

What are the changes in Article 21 of the contract, on disciplinary charges?  

The PSC and CUNY also agreed to a pilot program to replace the current three-step disciplinary process in Article 21 with a two-step disciplinary process.  The Article 21 pilot program also requires CUNY to make additional factual disclosures when University management brings charges against a PSC member and places a 24-month time limit on CUNY’s ability to charge an employee with misconduct.

CUNY MANAGEMENT DEMANDS

What was CUNY management’s agenda in this round of bargaining?

Contract negotiations reveal the parties’ agendas, and in this round management’s agenda emerged very clearly. Almost all of the demands CUNY prioritized involved one of two things: increasing management discretion to exceed the current salary schedule for selected individuals or increasing the use of faculty positions with no job security.  Management wanted much higher salaries for a few and greater contingency of employment; the union wanted higher salaries for all and less contingency.  In this context, our achievement of a new system of job security for adjuncts was particularly significant.  The union made some agreements on management demands, but we held the line against the demand for an unlimited number of full-time faculty with no access to tenure and an unlimited number of short-term, annual appointments.  While the union has been able to work productively with management on many issues, we must continue to fight for our vision of the University.