A long wait
The more than 10,000 CUNY workers covered by the white- and blue-collar contracts of District Council 37 and several other unions no longer have to guess when they will receive their contractual raises or their retroactive pay based on the contracts that were settled last year.
“After much pushing and pressuring management, we have confirmed CUNY pay dates,” said DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido in the Chief -Leader.
“We are working closely with [DC 37] to ensure that staff are paid what they are due in the near future,” a CUNY spokesperson told Clarion.
At CUNY’s senior colleges, full-time staff who are DC 37 members were paid on August 1 and college assistants will be paid on September 26. The pay date at CUNY community colleges was August 23, according to a CUNY senior administrator.
CUNY’s failure to meet its simple and straightforward obligation to implement the contract has led to months of frustration for DC 37 and other union members eager to receive their fair pay. Worse, the delay in pay adjustments raised fears in the CUNY community that CUNY was simply unable to meet its basic financial obligations. (Meanwhile, PSC retirees have voiced outrage that CUNY has been unable to submit updated salary information to the Teachers’ Retirement System. See story on page 4.)
The white- and blue-collar contracts settled November 2019 and ratified overwhelmingly the following December specified that employees covered by these contracts were owed more than two years of retro pay.
CUNY cited unforeseen technical problems in its payroll records as the reason for the delay, according to a May post on the DC 37 blog. DC 37 officials who spoke to Clarion, however, did not know specifically what has taken CUNY payroll so long to meet its contractual obligations.
DC 37, one of the largest municipal unions in the city, is affiliated with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and represents college assistants, custodians, information technology workers and other CUNY staff. In addition to employees covered by DC 37 Locals 375, 384, 1407, 1597, 2054, 2627, 1797 and motor vehicle operators in Local 983, CUNY employees who are members of the New York State Nurses Association, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 306 and Service Employees International Union Local 300 are covered by the contracts, which won 8.24 percent raises over a 52-month period and retroactive pay starting in February 2017.
DC 37 leaders lashed out against the unexplained delays in payments during a CUNY Board of Trustees hearing April 30 at LaGuardia Community College. Local 2627 President Laura Morand told the trustees at the hearing, “You have failed to keep up your end of the contract. Why must we wait so long to get what is agreed upon? Our members are suffering. One of my members is on the verge of being evicted. She works very hard and has kept up her part of the bargain.”
In May, PSC delegates passed a resolution of solidarity with their DC 37 colleagues, calling on the CUNY Board of Trustees and Chancellor Félix Matos Rodríguez to commit immediate resources to resolving the issue.
DC 37’s Garrido, who has been a vocal supporter of PSC’s call for wage justice for all CUNY employees, including part-time faculty, used it in pressing CUNY to set pay dates.
Additional reporting contributed by Ari Paul.