The standards presented below represent the PSC’s position on the measures that must be in place before the University reopens on a larger scale in the Fall 2021 semester.
CUNY students, faculty and staff are eager to resume working and learning together on campus after a year of isolation—but only if we can do so safely. We are intensely conscious of the value of in-person learning and interaction at CUNY, especially because the communities CUNY serves have been pummeled by deaths from COVID, loss of income, and the intensifying effects of systemic poverty and racism.
But there must be no return without a safe return. As the employer, CUNY has a legal and contractual responsibility to provide a workplace that is free of recognized hazards that could cause serious illness or death. To date, the CUNY administration has failed to provide unified guidance or enforcement of the standards that must be met in order for colleges to reopen more broadly. Instead, responsibility for developing reopening plans has been delegated to the individual colleges, with the result that the University community is faced with a patchwork of plans and uneven enforcement.
Union Demands CUNY Use Federal Stimulus Funds to Help CUNY Recover, Reverse Cuts and Layoffs, Protect Health and Safety
New York—More than 200 faculty, staff and students marched through midtown Wednesday, April 28 with the Professional Staff Congress demanding that CUNY “Free The Funds!” and use the stimulus money Congress allocated to CUNY for pandemic relief.
CUNY colleges have been allocated more than $891 million in federal stimulus funds that can be used for institutional purposes related to the pandemic (see college-by-college allocations). The colleges received additional funds for direct aid to students, a provision the union vigorously supports.
“Congress allocated $891 million in institutional aid to the colleges—not to CUNY central. The CUNY administration must release plans for the colleges to put that money to work to protect the quality of a CUNY education, the health and safety of the CUNY community and the livelihood of CUNY workers during the pandemic. CUNY must reverse the cuts and layoffs of the last year,” said Barbara Bowen, president of the Professional Staff Congress. “With the federal funds addressing emergency needs, the City and State must urgently invest in baseline funding for CUNY. Whether New York generates an inclusive economic recovery depends in large part on whether it invests in CUNY.”
"We fought hard in the American Relief Plan to deliver billions of dollars in critical support for higher education in New York, including to CUNY, an institution I love, because it is a direct investment in a better future for millions of students -- and for America. It is vital that those funds are used to keep education affordable for students and to preserve the quality of education offered, including maintaining and restoring a full amount of the professors and instructors needed to deliver that education. When we were in the depths of the covid crisis, all entities had to tighten their belts, but now that we have delivered this much-deserved and generous aid package we should make every effort to restore operations to optimal levels," said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
Barbara Bowen, Outgoing PSC President, Named NYSUT Higher Education Member of the Year for 2021
Mike Fabricant, Former PSC Principal Officer and Legislative Representative, Named Higher Education Member of the Year for 2020
Barbara Bowen, a fierce advocate for workers, students and progressive causes, is returning to teaching after more than two decades as president of the Professional Staff Congress representing faculty and academic staff at CUNY. She was honored recently as Higher Education Member of the Year by PSC’s statewide affiliate, NYSUT.
During her 21 years as PSC president, Barbara Bowen has become an influential voice within the labor movement and higher education nationally. She has been an outspoken advocate for a labor movement in service of the entire working class and in opposition to racist austerity.