Bargaining Update #6
The PSC bargaining team was joined by dozens of members Wednesday, September 6 for the sixth session with CUNY. President James Davis shared four of the union’s proposals for salary equity:
- The Continuing Education Teacher minimum hourly rate shall be equal to the minimum hourly rate of the CUNY Start (annualized) salary.
- In addition to across-the-board raises, each step on the Chief College Laboratory Technician, Senior College Laboratory Technician, and College Laboratory Technician salary schedules shall be increased by $10,000.
- In addition to across-the-board raises, the rate of pay for adjunct Lecturers shall be no less than ⅛ of 80 percent of the median step of the full-time Lecturer salary schedule. The adjunct Lecturer hourly rate shall be modified accordingly.
- In addition to across-the-board raises, each step on the Assistant to Higher Education Officer salary schedule shall be increased by $4,000.
For each demand presentation, Davis explained that the union has consistently demanded additional salary on the base for employees in these titles, who are among the lowest paid members of our bargaining unit. People of color comprise the majority of the Assistant to Higher Education Officer and College Laboratory Technician titles, underscoring the racial disparities in pay at CUNY and the racial justice of increasing the salaries in these titles. Similarly, many Continuing Education programs serve non-traditional and diverse students, many of whom find a path to higher education through the dedicated work of their too-often underpaid Continuing Education Teachers.
Concerning the issue of parity pay for teaching adjuncts, Davis shared this graph, comparing the total number of full-time and adjunct faculty at CUNY over the past two decades:
Drawing attention to the years of austerity budgets at CUNY, he observed that the adjunctification of the faculty has effectively subsidized the university – through the underpaid and contingent labor of teaching adjuncts. It is time for teaching adjuncts to receive equal pay for the teaching work they do.
Bargaining team members Amy Jeu (Hunter College, CLT) and Lynne Turner (Graduate Center, Teaching Adjunct) spoke to specific demands. On the issue of equity raises for CLT titles, Jeu explained that CLT roles and responsibilities have dramatically transformed and expanded since the title was created decades ago, while salaries have remained uncompetitive and out of step with other professional staff. Turner elaborated the myriad ways in which the expertise and pedagogical skill of teaching adjuncts supports student success, “yet we are paid approximately half what full-time faculty are for teaching the same class next door or down the hall.”
Davis argued that the union and university have the opportunity to build on the progress the parties made in previous rounds to make the needed investments in these members who make the university strong. Achieving pay parity for adjunct faculty, he continued, would constitute a major breakthrough for CUNY and benefit the entire academic community.
CUNY management shared five additional proposals with the union. They included an expansion of the “job abandonment” definition to strengthen management’s hand; greater managerial discretion to modify the annual leave year governing time accrued by the non-teaching instructional staff; making notice of non-reappointment effective on the administration’s sending date rather than on the employee’s date of receipt; increasing the 180% cap on “salaries above base” and expanding eligibility to contingent visiting titles; and making the provisions in the Appendix N pilot program, which allow faculty to accrue workload credit for summer teaching rather than salary, permanent and universal across CUNY. In response, Davis expressed preliminary concerns that, taken together, these proposals would increase job insecurity and contingency while increasing managerial control, serve to further stratify the bargaining unit, and threaten faculty workload and research time. In addition to the discussions of the union’s proposals and those introduced by CUNY management, Davis reiterated the PSC position that an economically just contract for the faculty and staff is a reasonable expectation despite the university’s fiscal challenges. The PSC is seeking an economic offer from CUNY management as soon as possible.
Bargaining Update #5
The PSC bargaining team continues to press ahead to accomplish as much as possible this summer. In its August 22 session with CUNY, the PSC bargaining team – joined by a dozen PSC members observing – began with a rejoinder to CUNY’s August 8 overview of their bargaining agenda (read CUNY management’s demands here). President Davis indicated the union’s willingness to review proposals from CUNY management but expressed the union’s objection to the direction that management’s bargaining agenda sought to take the University. The PSC bargaining agenda goes to the heart of what will improve the quality of a CUNY education by taking care of the people who make the university run, he noted – more job stability and less precariousness, better wages and benefits, and a more just academic community – while management’s agenda seems motivated by three concerns: (1) to reduce operating costs at the expense of PSC members and educational quality; (2) to maximize managerial authority and “flexibility,” which means less job security for PSC members and fewer opportunities for advancement and promotion; (3) to diminish the union’s ability to represent our members effectively.
Rather than accept the cramped horizon of an institution defined by “structural deficits,” as management calls the budget gaps at several CUNY colleges, the PSC called on the administration to look up from the ledger-sheet and advocate for the contract we deserve. We insisted that they obtain the funding from Albany and City Hall that honors the extraordinary work we do with the students who attend CUNY – the funding necessary to fairly compensate the faculty and professional staff who brought CUNY through the pandemic, having already endured years of austerity.
The PSC has proposed annual salary increases of 8 percent in the first two years followed by 4 percent in each of the subsequent three years. CUNY has not made a counter-proposal. We strongly objected to CUNY management’s assertion that our contract would not include a salary adjustment retroactive to the end-date of the last contract; other recent public sector agreements with the City and State have included retro-pay, and the PSC will fight for ours too. We rejected management’s arguments that CUNY’s current salaries for full-time faculty and staff are already competitive with comparable institutions. We countered the data purporting to support these arguments with our own. It is not unreasonable to expect CUNY management to provide salaries above inflation, we reiterated, especially in a city as expensive as ours and in response to the erosion over time of the real-dollar value of our salaries. We pointed to the egregiously high, inflation-beating raises that the Board of Trustees granted many members of the CUNY administration during the CUNY budget crisis year 2022-23. (CUNY’s lead negotiator countered that they’d also accepted work furloughs.) We insisted that any PSC member who is promoted or reclassified at CUNY should receive an increase of at least one salary step on their new salary schedule. Further, promotions and reclassifications must not be susceptible to denial on the basis of “budgetary constraints,” as CUNY management has proposed, but should be decided, as our contract indicates, on the basis of merit and professional achievement.
Over several rounds of negotiations, the PSC has succeeded in curbing CUNY management’s quest to expand contingent appointments and the precariousness of work at our colleges. That fight is not new, we face it again in this round, and we must prevail for the sake of our colleagues – present and future – and our students. The first shot across the bow was management’s attack in June on the teaching adjunct job stability provision (3-year appointments for long serving adjuncts) to which the PSC and CUNY agreed two contracts ago. Now entering its 8th year, the important pilot program has made it possible for nearly 2,500 of CUNY’s longest serving teaching adjuncts to predict their schedules and incomes and, for many, to rest secure in the continuity of their health insurance. It has also helped to make it possible for other academic labor unions in our region, and indeed around the country, to achieve stronger job stability provisions for the contingent instructors they represent. Despite CUNY management’s support for this provision in 2016 and again on renewal in 2019, the current administration put it in the crosshairs they have lined up against job security more broadly. When we hear management demanding an unlimited number of appointments to the only full-time teaching positions without access to tenure, we must understand they’re seeking to undermine job security. When we hear management demanding no restrictions on the duration of these appointments, we must understand again they’re seeking to undermine job security. The academic freedom of any body of faculty corresponds directly to their level of job security. A faculty comprised largely of at-will employees is a faculty without substantive academic freedom. A professional staff member who must perform eight consecutive years of successful service to acquire job security (13.3b) should not then be vulnerable to termination if they receive two “negative performance evaluations” within 6 months. Rather than allow CUNY to operate according to the “shock doctrine” – shifting control and safety up the organizational hierarchy while shifting the costs and risks to those lower down – the PSC will defend the job security of all our members in this round of contract negotiations, as we have done before.
Bronx Community College Mathematics Professor Sharon Persinger, a PSC bargaining team member and former PSC Treasurer, pointed out how CUNY management’s bargaining agenda would erode tenure, fairness in promotion decisions, and democratic shared governance.
The PSC bargaining team had the opportunity at this session to discuss with our members in attendance five specific proposals that CUNY introduced. These proposals concretize the authority CUNY is pursuing to:
- Offer teaching assignments to “qualified” HEOs as part of their 35-hour workweek. (HEOs are not contractually prohibited from teaching at CUNY, but CUNY is required to compensate them separately from their HEO salaries.)
- Deregulate adjunct appointments to permit up to 15 contact hours per semester at any combination of CUNY campuses. (CUNY is currently prohibited from appointing teaching adjuncts to more than 9 contact hours on one campus and one additional class of up to 6 contact hours at a second campus. The PSC opposes further deregulation of adjunct appointments as a stay against the full adjunctification of CUNY’s already highly unbalanced teaching workforce; there are nearly twice as many teaching adjuncts as full-time faculty.)
- Reduce the threshold for management to terminate HEOs with a Certificate of Continuous Administrative Service. (CUNY is currently prohibited from terminating HEOs who have attained Article 13.3(b) due process protections unless they receive three negative annual performance evaluations.)
- Create a procedure to pay out 50% of accumulated temporary disability leave to instructional staff in lieu of time in the form of Travia Leave.
- Require four weeks notice in writing of an employee who resigns to be eligible for a payout of unused annual leave time. (Introduces a new pre-condition for payout of earned annual leave time.)
The PSC bargaining team also had the opportunity to respond to a presentation by CUNY’s Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management. The presentation showed that enrollment CUNY-wide has begun to rebound, though unevenly and not at a rate that will soon close all the budget gaps at the colleges. PSC First Vice President Vásquez challenged CUNY management to reset their own expectations for what would be possible if the University were less reliant on student tuition. We are thrilled that more students want to enroll at CUNY, she said, but our raises and benefits should not be predicated on their enrollment. Moreover, our ability to recruit, retain, and graduate our students is directly related to the stability and morale of the faculty and staff.
It will take all of us to win the contractual provisions our members deserve! Please click here to join your Campus Action Team. Please consider attending a bargaining session – we hold regular online orientations to bargaining for PSC members. We will continue to provide updates on our progress toward a just and fair contract for #APeoplesCUNY.
Bargaining Update #4
At the August 8, 2023 bargaining session, CUNY management introduced their bargaining framework for the next contract. In short, it is a blueprint for a degraded, hollowed out university. The PSC’s agenda for fair raises, workplace respect, job security, and a thriving academic community stands in stark contrast. The union will continue fighting hard to advance that vision for the sake of our members and the students we serve, and to oppose the administration’s quest for deeper cost savings and broader managerial control. By engaging our members in the contract campaign over the past year, the union is well prepared to take this fight on and prevail. But it will take all of us, together.
The “flexibility” and “fiscal reality” that CUNY management would like us to accept is a corporatized university in which faculty relinquish their intellectual property rights, professional staff may be fired more easily, non-tenure bearing positions are expanded at the expense of professorial appointments, and all are made vulnerable to weakened contractual due process protections. Several concerning themes are apparent in their bargaining agenda.
Other than management salaries, CUNY should operate on the cheap. CUNY management proposes to include budgetary considerations in promotion decisions that should be based solely on merit. Clearly, the Board of Trustees did not use this standard when awarding massive raises to several Executive Compensation Plan administrators recently while imposing cuts to college budgets, a hiring freeze, and a central vacancy review board. Their “operational limitations” would even eliminate the contractual requirement that new facility construction include faculty office space. Appallingly, after delaying the start of contract negotiations for six months, and putting no economic offer on the table, CUNY management stated their intention to exclude retroactive pay from the contract settlement. Every New York City and State union that has reached contractual agreements recently has received retroactive pay for their members. Nothing more vividly illustrates CUNY management’s contemptuous orientation to these negotiations.
Disrespect and disposability for professional staff. CUNY management seeks to erode the contractual job security provisions for HEOs with a Certificate of Continuous Academic Service (13.3b) and to make it easier to non-reappoint HEOs whether they have the CCAS or not. CLT promotions – based now on job performance and contractual goals for proportions of each rank at the colleges – could instead be decided on the basis of budgetary availability. Current contractual provisions for professional staff members who, after four years, are denied reappointment or promotion to receive reasons for the decision would, in CUNY’s vision, be eliminated. Tellingly, much of CUNY management’s bargaining agenda is devoted to undermining the PSC’s ability to represent our members effectively and prosecuting alleged employee misconduct.
Academic freedom, job security, and intellectual property are placed at risk. CUNY management seeks to curtail academic freedom by circumventing tenure for the professoriate and weakening Certificates of Continuing Employment for lecturers. They aim to roll back hard-won job security provisions for long-serving teaching adjuncts while dramatically expanding full-time contingent appointments and short-term highly paid visiting professorships. They propose enhanced salaries above base for a select few, and the separation from the PSC bargaining unit of members whom the union currently represents. In short, CUNY envisions a teaching faculty composed of a small number of well compensated professors on short-term contracts and a majority of instructors who lack substantive job security. CUNY management’s proposal to assert ownership of intellectual property created with stipended work indicates their disregard for the intellectual work that faculty perform.
Complacency toward further diversifying the faculty. CUNY’s “strategic roadmap” and preliminary budget request both express the value of faculty diversity and goals for improvement. In negotiations, however, CUNY management was disappointingly satisfied with the lack of progress in increasing the proportion of CUNY faculty who identify as Black or Hispanic. Is CUNY management willing to invest “in retaining CUNY’s post-tenure Black, Indigenous, and People of Color faculty rather than losing them to opportunities at better-resourced colleges and universities,” as their preliminary budget request says? Speaking against the PSC’s salary proposal, CUNY management stated that current salaries are not a deterrent to recruiting and retaining faculty of color.
At this critical juncture, we need every member of the faculty and professional staff to join the union and engage in the collective struggle to win our vision of #APeoplesCUNY – a fully funded university where students, faculty and staff are supported, respected, and have the resources necessary to provide a great education to all. Especially when academic freedom and tenure are under attack nationwide, CUNY management must not erode academic freedom and tenure here. As academic labor unions across the country are making critical gains against austerity and contingency, PSC members must come together to fight for what we and our students deserve.
Together, we can win the PSC’s demands and fend off CUNY management’s austerity agenda. At every college, the PSC has formed Campus Action Teams so that we can continue to scale up in this struggle throughout the coming academic year. Sign up to join yours today.
We will be calling on all members to build our strength and unity, speak out to the Board of Trustees, hit the streets together, be visible to elected officials, and demonstrate our collective power.
- Participate in Union Week actions on your campus (Sept. 18-22).
- Join the PSC contingent in the NYC Labor Day Parade, Saturday September 9.
- Attend a bargaining session. The next orientation to PSC bargaining with CUNY, required of all observers, will be offered on Zoom the evening of Monday, August 28.
- Plan to attend the PSC’s Contract Town Hall on zoom the evening of September 27.
James Davis, President
Bargaining Update #3
July 12, 2023
The PSC bargaining team, with the support of members in the room, met with CUNY on July 10 for our third bargaining session. We are sending this update to all members directly, in addition to posting it, as it concerns two deeply significant issues – the union’s main salary demand for this round, and the status of adjunct job security.
Beginning our presentation of economic demands, the PSC made several major salary proposals at this session. The remaining salary demands, including key equity proposals for our lowest-paid full-time and contingent members, will follow at a subsequent session. First, however, President Davis set the record straight about the status of the multi-year appointment provision for teaching adjuncts, a pilot provision that benefits more than 2,000 adjuncts.
CUNY administration issued premature and inflammatory guidance to college officials on July 5, claiming to have unilaterally discontinued the program “effective immediately.” However, the contract makes clear that the pilot program, formalized in Appendix E of the PSC-CUNY contract, continues through the end of the 2023-24 academic year. The administration has not met its obligation to complete discussion of potential modifications to the program before determining next steps. President Davis reiterated the position that the PSC emphasized in our preliminary June 26 meeting with the administration about this program: securing a measure of job stability for long-serving teaching adjuncts has been a key priority for the union for many years, so if the administration sought to end this program, we would not accept that. Negotiations about adjunct multi-year appointments are far from complete – in fact, they’ve only just begun. The union’s position therefore is that CUNY must adhere to the contract and that departments should honor the multi-year appointments currently in effect and continue to track eligibility and conduct teaching observations toward the performance review of eligible adjuncts required by the current program.
The administration’s refusal to rescind the July 5 memo compels the PSC to take necessary next steps to protect adjunct rights and protect our contract, and we hope all reading this will join and support these efforts, including but not limited to a public campaign highlighting the importance of this hard won provision. While the administration seeks to move the university backward, toward deeper contingency in faculty appointments, the union and our members must instead push forward, toward a more fair and extensive system for increasing stability for the appointments of long-serving teaching adjuncts.
PSC proposed across-the-board annual raises for each member of the bargaining unit, starting with 8% in each year for 2023 and 2024, followed by 4% in each year for 2025-2027. Davis explained that historic disinvestment in CUNY over decades has eroded the real value of CUNY salaries. He noted that high rates of recent inflation compounded the impact of this historic disinvestment. Further, he provided data about the failure of CUNY salaries to compete with peer institutions in the region, a key factor in the challenges to recruiting, hiring, and retaining well-qualified faculty and staff. Finally, he cited the skyrocketing cost of living in the NYC area, stressing the affordability problems that even average-salaried full-time employees face seeking to live where they work, or even within a commutable distance. Davis observed the large raises that the CUNY Board of Trustees approved for many Executive Compensation Plan employees last fall, when enrollment was plummeting and storm-clouds had gathered over the state and city budget processes, and he pointed out that the same rationale must extend now to PSC-represented employees: it takes a competitive salary to recruit, hire, and retain a talented, well-qualified workforce. This is particularly so when racially diversifying the workforce is a priority. When a university compensates the faculty and staff well, that communicates something critically important about the value of the students they educate; conversely, failing to do so is a way of undermining the quality of a CUNY education.
Making this presentation, Davis was supported by four PSC members: Tanya Agothocleus (Hunter faculty), Howard Meltzer (BMCC faculty), Larissa Swedell (Queens faculty), and Esther Llamas (Medgar Evers HEO). They each spoke poignantly to the need for improved salaries across the board at CUNY, citing their own personal experiences and reporting on those of their colleagues.
PSC First Vice President Andrea Vásquez introduced demands to improve the process of HEO reclassification and salary differentials for HEOs and CLTs. Building on past contractual gains, the union seeks further changes to the reclassification process for HEO series employees, 70% of whom are women and 65% people of color. Reflecting the joint work PSC and CUNY have done recently on respect in the workplace, the PSC put forward a notification timeline along with an explanation for denial of reclassification. We also seek a peer review decision-making committee.
On salary differentials, the PSC proposed the use of accumulated contractual funds to support the first year of any HEO salary differential award. Funds remaining from last contract agreement would be disbursed to the campuses and carried over until they are fully expended on HEO salary differentials. We also called for an explanation for denial of a differential application, arguing that HEOs often spend many months preparing for a request for reclassification or applying for a differential only to then wait as long as a year for a decision. The PSC proposed extending the salary differential for advanced degrees for CLTs and Assistants to HEO to include HEO Assistants, and proposed that the amounts be increased in each instance.
Two other sets of demands, for additional monies to top steps and for salary increases with promotion, were also presented by the team. Read below for the specific demands put across the table by the union at the July 10 session.
James Davis, President
Andrea Vásquez, First Vice President
Felicia Wharton, Treasurer
Penny Lewis, Secretary
PSC proposes five years of annual across-the-board salary increases as follows (Article 24)
- 2023: 8%
- 2024: 8% compounded
- 2025: 4% compounded
- 2026: 4% compounded
- 2027: 4% compounded
To be applied to each salary step and salary range, and to every member of the bargaining unit, including employees of the EOCs.
PSC proposes to address salary compression in full-time titles (Article 24)
- An additional salary increase of $5,000 shall be added to the highest step of each salary schedule for full-time employees.
- For employees in the titles listed in Article 24.2, the time to eligibility for the penultimate salary step shall be reduced from five years to three years.
HEO reclassification improvements
- Amend Article 2.3.1 of HEO Code of Practice to include: “Within 60 days following the college’s Office of Human Resources’ receipt of a request for reclassification, the College President or designee will submit their recommendation to HRAS and simultaneously notify the employee and the PSC of the recommendation. Within 30 days after the College’s submission of the recommendation to HRAS, HRAS will notify the college Director of Human Resources, the employee and the PSC of the final decision.”
- Amend article 2.3 of the CUNY Code of Practice to include: “For any denial of reclassification, the college shall include a written explanation of the denial to the employee and the PSC. The denial and explanation may not be used or relied upon in any way in any evaluation of the employee or any other personnel action.”
- Amend article 17 of the CUNY Code of Practice to provide for peer review. It is unfair, given the pivotal role HEOs play at the university, that HEOs seeking reclassification are denied peer review. We propose a change in the composition of the College HEO Committee to create a 50% peer review screening committee, with four members appointed by PSC and four by CUNY management.
HEO discretionary assignment differential improvements
- Side agreement on the use of remaining funds identified in CBA appendix O.
The parties will agree upon the exact amount of all unused contractually accumulated HEO Salary Differential funds. Remaining funds, in their entirety, shall be apportioned in the same manner they were apportioned on January 1, 2020. Funds shall be apportioned to each college based upon the number of Assistants to HEO, HEO Assistants and HEO Associates who have completed one or more years of service at the top salary step of their respective salary as of January 1, 2023. The funds shall be used to cover the full $2500 salary differential for the first year for each HEO who is granted the differential. The distribution of the funds accumulated during the pilot program will continue as defined above until all funds are expended.
- Amend Article 22.5c to provide employees with rationale for having been denied the discretionary salary differential in order to understand the decision. Add: “Employees who receive a denial of a discretionary assignment differential shall be entitled to receive a statement of the President’s rationale for the decision.”
Improvements to CLT and HEO salary differential for advanced degrees
- The differential for advanced degrees for all employees in the CLT series and Assistants to HEO shall be expanded to include HEO Assistants.
- The differential award amount for the Master’s degree shall increase from $1,000 to $2,000 and the differential award amount for the PhD shall increase from $2,500 to $4,000.
Automatic step increase with promotion or reclassification
All employees who receive a promotion or reclassification shall receive a simultaneous increase of at least one step above the step on their new schedule that is equal to or most closely greater than their current step. Such increase is understood as a minimum; additional step increases with promotion and reclassification are a best practice.
Bargaining Update #2
June 30, 2023
The PSC and CUNY management met for the second negotiations session at the CCNY Center for Worker Education on June 29. Forty PSC members observed the meeting, which began with a response from President Davis to the administration’s budget presentation at the previous meeting. He laid out a different budgetary vision and analysis. Funding for CUNY is political, he said, so while not always predictable, it is neither fixed nor immutable. The PSC has helped to secure millions of dollars in public funding for the university, and Davis made the case that supporting faculty and staff is a strategic investment the university must make and that it requires political will and ingenuity. We added that recently negotiated state public sector contracts have been accompanied by paybills (out-of-cycle budget appropriations), and CUNY should use its political power to assure that the state covers their full collective bargaining costs, as the city does, notwithstanding the practice of the previous Governor. Finally, Davis noted encouraging trends in the university’s FY2023 third quarter report that caution against treating CUNY’s pandemic-era budgets as predictive of its future financial position. CUNY Senior Vice Chancellor Doriane Gloria, CUNY’s chief negotiator, responded by noting the efforts the university has made to secure increased operating aid. She affirmed the work of the External Affairs and Government Relations office and the Institutional Advancement office. PSC First Vice President Andrea Vásquez emphasized the broad support the union has built for the New Deal for CUNY, particularly by engaging with students and legislators, adding that CUNY and the PSC must do more during the next legislative session.
CUNY made a proposal on “ground rules” to guide the parties during negotiations. The PSC indicated the bargaining team’s willingness to consider a few of management’s suggestions and declined the majority. President Davis reviewed the limited ground rules from the last round of negotiations and the expectations the union has made of members observing sessions in this round of bargaining. CUNY agreed to defer discussion to a later date and proceed with scheduling subsequent bargaining sessions. The next session has been scheduled for July 10 at the CUNY central office. The bargaining team wishes to thank our members who attended this session – we appreciate the strong sense of unity and purpose expressed by your engagement.
Bargaining Update #1
PSC-CUNY bargaining begins!
June 28, 2023
We are happy to report that the PSC and CUNY sat down together at the bargaining table on Tuesday, June 27th for the first session of contract negotiations. Our 2017-2023 contract expired February 28, 2023, and having requested dates since December 2022, we were eager to finally begin. We will share regular updates here following our sessions.
Tuesday’s bargaining took place at CUNY Central and included two dozen members in addition to the 17-person bargaining team. Sitting across from each other the teams introduced themselves, and the PSC presented our bargaining proposals. President James Davis explained our overall bargaining agenda, and spoke to our salary demands and enforcing the contract. Other members of the bargaining team and additional PSC members spoke to the remaining sections of the agenda: Penny Lewis – Benefits; Larry Bosket and Habib Girgis – Work Life Balance and Professional Respect; Sharon Persinger – Educational Technology; Lynne Turner and David Hatchett – Job Security; Andrea Vásquez – Workload and Professional Development; Susan Fountain – Health and Safety; Sharon Utakis and Zoe Hu – Support for the Academic Community; John Pittman and Jen Gaboury – Racial Justice and Support for the Common Good. Members spoke to the commitment, flexibility and excellence of work that members have exhibited during these difficult COVID years, and the ways in which we carried the university forward. Speakers stressed key achievements of previous rounds of negotiations, and our goals of economic security that competitive salaries and improved benefits provide, job security, health and safety, professional respect, and support for our academic community and the students and communities that we serve.
CUNY Chief Operating Officer Hector Batista thanked PSC for the presentation and responded by indicating some areas of shared interest. He promised that CUNY would soon share their contract proposals, which he said would be aimed at improving efficiencies, accountability and the sustainability of CUNY. Provost Wendy Hensel also spoke to common interests between the parties, and also about CUNY Online. University Executive Budget Director Cathy Abata shared a presentation highlighting CUNY’s budget challenges. PSC emphasized the need to increase state and city funding to CUNY, specifically to fund our contract and improve our working conditions and students’ learning conditions.
Throughout the session, PSC solidarity and purpose were made evident by the sentiment we all wore on our lapels: “Union Proud.” Members gathered early, attended closely to the exchanges at the table, and stayed to confer after the session. As one member said, “We showed how unified we are as a union by having people of different titles speak about each other’s issues!”