Looking toward our next contract
Coming off important gains for CUNY in the New York State budget for the upcoming fiscal year, the PSC is focusing our attention and that of our members on the city budget and on preparation to win a great next contract.
STATE BUDGET GAINS
The infusion of state funding that CUNY will receive is a result of persistent, energetic organizing by PSC members. The increases from Albany, most of which are recurring funds baselined into CUNY’s budget, serve to bolster the university’s operations on a scale that has not been seen in years. It is not enough, by a long shot.
After decades of austerity, CUNY needs more, several hundreds of millions of dollars to bring us to where we should be. This year could have been a year for the state to make even greater funding strides. Our focus must remain on building our power internally and externally to win the full, directed funding demanded in the New Deal for CUNY. This year, our collective efforts succeeded in closing the TAP gap, which has plagued college budgets for many years, winning over 500 new lines for full-time lecturer and professor positions and securing $1 billion in new capital funds to repair and upgrade our campus facilities, among other vital needs.
MONEY FOR COLLEGES
More money for the CUNY budget means that local administrations will have more money in their local budgets that PSC chapters should push to direct. PSC members know best about the many needs that have gone unfilled as campuses have had to cover the TAP gap and make do with less. Now is the time to push locally for necessary hires and other student-, faculty- and staff-centered advances that our campuses have done without.
The increased state funding also improves the context in which we will negotiate a new contract. Our current contract expires at the end of February 2023, and we will have an opportunity, with an engaged membership and a better CUNY budget, to improve upon existing provisions that PSC members struggled mightily to achieve in previous rounds of negotiations.
The PSC has a long history of making critical advances in contracts. That process begins by developing an ambitious bargaining agenda that is shaped by the expressed needs of our members. We are preparing well in advance of February 2023 in order to understand our members’ interests and build the collective power required to win as many of our demands as possible. By participating in an online survey, available this month, you can shape the priorities we pursue in negotiating the next contract. You can also let the PSC Executive Council know how you are willing to participate in the campaign. It is important that as many members as possible in all the titles the PSC represents complete the survey. Please be sure to respond to the online survey and encourage your colleagues to do so also.
The survey is not the only way to participate in the development of the union’s bargaining agenda and contract campaign. In the coming months, we are engaging in one-on-one, member-to-member conversations about the contract and building power to win a strong settlement in our next contract. Campus Action Teams have been formed on every campus, comprised of members in different job titles, to help facilitate these conversations. The union’s principal officers and vice presidents are attending chapter meetings throughout May in an effort to listen and hear from a broad range of members.
The contract survey is another route through which the PSC Executive Council will hear about what we should collectively fight for and what we can do to win. Salary and benefits, job security and promotion, health and safety and remote work and online instruction are some of the issues that members can consider when deciding on how to build on the gains in recent negotiations and how to align the next contract with the evolving conditions in which we work at CUNY.
One of the most important lessons of the state budget cycle was that when the PSC is united and mobilized, we can make huge strides. Members stepped up time and again to participate in our vigorous campaign. The work of our chapter leaders and Campus Action Teams will help to ensure the same intensity of engagement elevates our contract campaign.