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Home » Clarion » 2023 » October 2023 » RF Central contract ratified

RF Central contract ratified

Securing hybrid schedules and other gainsBy ARI PAUL

Research Foundation members hold a lunchtime picket outside the Central Office. (Credit: Erik McGregor)

Research Foundation members hold a lunchtime picket outside the Central Office. (Credit: Erik McGregor)

PSC members at the CUNY Research Foundation Central Office (RF Central) ratified a new collective bargaining agreement that lifts pay, enhances health and dental benefits, and protects hybrid schedules.

Getting to this agreement wasn’t easy. Management was intransigent on many of these issues, resulting in a spirited rank-and-file organizing campaign that involved numerous lunchtime pickets outside RF Central’s Midtown Manhattan office and ultimately a vote supporting strike authorization. It was a hard-fought campaign, but also a testament to the fact that rank-and-file union organizing and on-the-job agitation wins real contract gains.


PSC members at the RF are private-sector workers and are thus not subjected to the state Taylor Law, which outlaws work stoppages by public-sector workers. RF management countered the strike vote with retaliatory threats. This summer, the union reported that the foundation’s president, Héctor Cordero-Guzmán, “threatened to cancel workers’ vacations and declared a 100% return to in-office work in retaliation for a strike authorization vote supported by almost 80%” of the members in the bargaining unit.

Eventually, workers achieved a settlement without a work stoppage. The union won annual raise increases with the following schedule: 3.5% on January 1, 2023, in addition to a $1,000 signing bonus; 3.5% on January 1, 2024, compounded; 3.25% on January 1, 2025, compounded; 3.25% on January 1, 2026, compounded; 3.25% on January 1, 2027, compounded. The new contract also increases the dollar amount for longevity payments for RF workers with 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 years on the job.

PSC members at RF Central said over the course of the last several months that enshrining some protection for hybrid schedules was a major priority, not just for worker safety reasons, but because flexibility with remote work has yielded enormous work-life balance improvements. While the Research Foundation management had been reluctant to agree to any language enshrining the hybrid work schedules workers have had since the pandemic, the new contract maintains the current remote work practices – although management has the right to change or eliminate such practices upon 60 days’ notice to the union. Management must begin impact bargaining with the union within the 60-day notice period, unless both the union and management waive their right to do so.


Charles Chaung, the PSC RF-Central Office chapter chair, told Clarion that while the wage increases are not as high as many members wanted, the contract was an overall victory. “We were able to secure a remote work policy, and while the wage increases weren’t what we were hoping for in light of the extraordinary inflation, they reversed the trend of the decreasing wages over the last several contracts,” he said.

Chaung added, “We also improved and secured benefits focused on supporting families, such as making the 20-day family sick leave side letter into a permanent policy, expanding the dental care reimbursement – that was won last contract but interpreted too narrowly by the RF – to cover all family members under the company insurance plans, significantly improving the life insurance covered by the RF, and changes to some rules to reduce the potential for bullying.”

Published: September 27, 2023

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