Vote Yes for Contract Ratification

Updated: September 2, 2016
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A Message From President Bowen

Dear PSC Members:

You will receive an email Monday, July 11 from the American Arbitration Association with the information you need in order to vote on ratification of the proposed new contract. Watch your email for a message; voting instructions will be in the message and are posted on the union website.

I urge you to vote "yes" for ratification. A majority "yes" vote by the membership will allow CUNY to start processing salary increases and retroactive pay.

Read the FAQs on the union website for details of the increases and back pay. And watch for the new issue of Clarion, which contains full texts of the proposed agreements, comments by the bargaining team and much more.

A "no" vote on ratification would mean no salary increases and no retroactive pay unless they are agreed to by CUNY, the City and the State as part of a renegotiated contract.

PSC members have never worked harder for a contract, and I know that we wanted more and deserve more. Our militant campaign, culminating in a 92 percent strike authorization vote, enabled us to defeat certain fiscal austerity policies of New York State and wrest substantial gains out of CUNY management. But without a statewide or class-wide movement and against entrenched power, we were not able to break the structure of economic austerity.

At 10.41 percent, the salary increases are at the minimum acceptable level. They are almost exactly even with inflation for our region through the current date and close to projected inflation for next year. The retroactive pay is significant-and was not agreed to by CUNY until the final week of bargaining.

The raises, however, are not enough to lift all CUNY salaries to competitive levels or to close the gap between part-time and full-time pay. But the PSC campaign gave us the leverage to achieve a proposed contract that defies austerity in critical arenas other than salary-teaching load, advancement for HEOs, annual leave for library faculty, and major equity gains for adjuncts. (Click here for FAQs on the equity gains and more.)

A "yes" vote on ratification would allow these advances to be implemented, along with the raises and retroactive pay:

  • Commitment to reduce the full-time faculty teaching load by 3 hours
  • The first-ever multi-year appointments for adjuncts at CUNY
  • Accrued sick days for adjuncts on multi-year appointments
  • Changes in HEO reclassification guidelines
  • Opportunity for HEOs on top step of lower three titles to receive $2500 addition to base pay
  • Increased annual leave for library faculty
  • New annual positions for CLIP and CUNY Start instructors
  • Additional Welfare Funding, to allow a benefit improvement
  • Elimination of waiting period for health insurance for graduate employees who move to adjunct positions
  • New contract language on online teaching

What happens if the majority votes "no"? If the contract is not ratified, no salary increases or new provisions will be implemented, and the union will seek to return to negotiations with CUNY. We would most likely begin organizing for a strike-with both the potential power and the risk such a step involves. While the bargaining team is prepared to do whatever is needed, its members voted unanimously to recommend the proposed contract because we believe that the best way to increase the union's power is to build on the considerable gains this contract achieves.

The union's Delegate Assembly voted by an overwhelming margin to recommend the proposed contract for ratification. Representing the whole PSC membership in all of its diversity of needs, salaries and positions, they urge you to vote "yes."

A "yes" vote is an affirmation of what we achieved because we fought; it is a vote to claim our victories. It should also be a vote to build on the power we developed in this fierce contract struggle and use it to work toward a larger movement.

I salute you for the work you did for this contract, and I believe it is worthy of that work. I urge you to vote "yes."

In solidarity,
Barbara Bowen
President, PSC/CUNY