PSC President James Davis (right) signs an agreement concerning CUNY research professors with CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez. (Credit: Erik McGregor)
After more than a year of negotiations, the PSC and CUNY came to a final agreement on securing contract protections for around two dozen research professors, who are nonteaching faculty who perform valuable scientific research at the university. The research professors ratified the proposed agreement with 100% approval in May. (The agreement terms can be read here: tinyurl.com/CUNY-research-prof-agreement. It is part of the PSC-CUNY contract.)
The research professors no longer have separate contracts but now fall under the general PSC-CUNY contract, said Naomi Zauderer, the union’s former associate executive director, who led the negotiations.
“The union’s position was that the PSC contract should apply to them in its entirety. Management created the position outside the bargaining unit in 2012 because they refused to give them tenure,” Zauderer told Clarion. “The research professors decided to organize because they were not given the salary increases in the 2017–2023 PSC contract. We negotiated to have as much of the PSC contract apply to them as we could.”
Most of the professors are based at the Advanced Science Research Center at the Graduate Center, although others work at Hunter College, John Jay College and the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy.
From a PSC summary of the memorandum of agreement:
- “Salary increases identical to those in the current PSC contract: 2% per year in 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021, plus a final 2% increase in November 2022. Depending on the date of hire, the total raise under this agreement could be as high as 10% plus compounding. The salary ranges for research professor titles will also increase.”
- “Lump-sum retroactive pay for the salary increases applied during the time they were on payroll from 2018 until now.”
- “Protections fundamental to being covered by a union contract, such as the grievance procedure (Article 20) and coverage by ‘just cause’ for discipline and discharge under the same terms as HEOs (Article 21.9).”
- “All aspects of the once discretionary ‘terms and conditions of employment’ are now enforceable through the contractual grievance procedure.”
- “Rights and benefits not specified in the ‘terms and conditions of employment,’ such as paid parental leave (Article 16), travel funds (Article 28), tuition waivers (Article 29), PSC-CUNY awards (Article 25), Welfare Fund benefits (Article 26) and voluntary phased retirement (Appendix K) are enforceable under the contract rather than ambiguous unwritten conditions that may or may not apply.”
- “The agreement sets a 35-hour-per-week workload as a benchmark with the provision that research faculty have a professional obligation to devote the time necessary to accomplish all required work. Research faculty are protected, however, against being assigned an excessive number of hours or an unreasonable schedule.”
- “Research professors gain an official evaluation procedure and an enforceable timetable for reappointment that conforms to CUNY’s fiscal year.”
- “A new part-time research professor title will be created. Importantly, colleagues in this title will be paid on the basis of parity with those on full-time lines and are eligible for full health benefits and prorated leave if they work at least 20 hours per week and have an assignment of more than six months.”
Salary increases and retroactive pay negotiated in this contract are scheduled to be included in research professors’ paychecks on October 6.
Published: September 28, 2022
Last Modified: November 9, 2022