News & Events

Dear PSC Members,

I hope this finds you well as the end of the semester approaches.

Like many of you, we are alarmed by the rapid resurgence of COVID-19 in New York City and concerned for the health and safety of our students, colleagues, and families. The PSC has consistently advocated sensible mask-wearing indoors at CUNY during the pandemic, regardless of vaccination status. We recognize the tradeoffs with respect to comfort and ease of communication, but also know that safety is paramount. On Tuesday, I contacted Chancellor Matos to strongly urge that mask-wearing be required once again at CUNY...

The CUNY Research Professors Bargaining Committee announced Friday, May 6 that their proposed contractual agreement with CUNY has been ratified—with a 100% yes vote! And the Research Professors’ ratification vote has set a PSC record for participation: 96% of eligible members voted. What a tremendous show of engagement and support! The agreement was approved by the CUNY Board of Trustees at their May 16 meeting.

The agreement ensures salary increases on par with other CUNY faculty, retroactive pay, codification of benefits that were at management’s discretion, and essential legal and workplace protections that come with union representation. The Research Professors, serving in a title that CUNY created many years ago outside our bargaining unit, are now part of our union, and their terms and conditions of employment are part of our contract.

PSC President James Davis and Secretary Penny Lewis sent a letter to all CUNY department chairs on Thursday, May 5 urging them to “consider the qualifications of CUNY’s excellent adjunct faculty” as they seek to fill the new full-time faculty lines won in the latest State budget. The letter is just part of a much larger effort to help “promote our talented, qualified faculty colleagues whose prospects for a full-time appointment have been curtailed by austerity conditions” while at the same time increasing the racial diversity of the full-time faculty. To help, get involved with your PSC chapter or the Committee for Adjuncts and Part-timers.

May 3, 2022

In 2004 our union endorsed the March for Women's Lives, aimed at keeping abortion safe and legal in the United States. Nearly 20 years later, in the greatest setback to women's rights we have seen in our lifetime, the Supreme Court is set to overturn the constitutional right of people who are pregnant to make their own reproductive choices. As we have done before, labor must stand unequivocally with women in this country, and around the world, who must have the right to control their own bodies. We urge PSC members who are able to join the demonstration called today, at 5:00 pm at Foley Square, and from there continue to join efforts to reverse this attack on women's rights.

After years of pressure from the PSC, UUP and NYSUT, the New York State Education Department has finally dropped the onerous education teacher performance assessment (edTPA) requirement for teacher certification.

While we await final details about the New York State fiscal year 2023 enacted budget, I want to provide a preliminary report and congratulate everyone who participated in this year’s extraordinary budget campaign. From the huge marches in the city, to the rallies and press conferences in Albany, to the thousands of letters, phone calls, and tweets, your advocacy made the difference this year!

PSC members elevated the New Deal for CUNY, and our perseverance and sense of possibility raised public awareness and pressure on elected officials to support public higher education. As a result, while it doesn’t include all that we wanted, this state budget represents the largest year-over-year increase in funding to CUNY in decades, breaking with the austerity of recent years, and setting us on a path to make critical advances.

The enacted budget includes major additional expenditures above the previous year.

  • $122 million in new recurring operating aid to CUNY, including funding to
  • hire 540 new full-time faculty across the system
  • close the TAP gap this year
  • increase the SEEK program investment, and
  • support childcare centers on all CUNY campuses
  • $40 million in one-time operating aid to CUNY senior and community colleges
  • $67 million to cover CUNY employee fringe benefits
  • $1 million to enhance student mental health services
  • $1 billion in new capital funding, to improve CUNY’s physical infrastructure
  • Expansion of TAP to part-time students
  • Restoration of TAP to incarcerated individuals

James Davis, President of the Professional Staff Congress, the union representing 30,000 faculty and staff at the City University of New York, released the following statement about the Fiscal Year 2023 New York State budget after Governor Hochul announced a conceptual agreement.

“We thank Governor Hochul, Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Speaker Carl Heastie and their leadership teams, higher education committee chairs Senator Toby Ann Stavisky and Assemblymember Deborah Glick, and the New Deal for CUNY prime sponsors, Senator Andrew Gounardes and Assemblymember Karines Reyes. The tenacious advocacy of PSC members, CUNY Rising Alliance groups, and the 76 New Deal for CUNY cosponsors made possible the increased funding for full-time faculty lines, fringe benefits, critical infrastructure, part-time TAP, closure of the TAP gap, TAP for incarcerated individuals, childcare centers and other investments.

While some details remain uncertain, it’s clear this budget demonstrates a renewed understanding and appreciation of CUNY’s ability to uplift our communities, build futures, and power New York State’s economy. It sets us on a course to a New Deal for CUNY, which we must follow for the sake of future generations of CUNY students. Public institutions such as CUNY that support working people and communities of color have been chronically underfunded for too long; undoing that damage will require more transformative investment. CUNY will receive the largest year-over-year increase in decades, but the senior colleges will still be left next year with per-student funding below 2009 levels.

So we welcome the important steps taken in this budget, reaffirm our commitment to work with the Governor and Legislature, and redouble our collective effort to fund the CUNY that New York deserves.”

Jean Grassman, PSC Health & Safety Coordinator

Jean Grassman was honored recently at the NYSUT Representative Assembly. A member of NYSUT and the PSC for two decades, Jean has been a PSC Health and Safety Watchdogs coordinator since 2009. In that role, she helped build and maintain a robust infrastructure of campus-based Health and Safety representatives on all our campuses.

We are less than one year out from the end of our contract. We have repeatedly achieved strong advances through bargaining and united struggle. But these past two years have been among the most difficult we have all faced in our time at CUNY. What must we fight for today?

Some chapters have already begun to host meetings to talk about our priorities for our next contract. Colleagues will be reaching out to each other by phone, and the union is sending out a survey to members this Spring, to hear what we want to see in the next contract, and what we all are willing to do to win a great one. We face management powerfully when everyone we represent is in our union together, and when we move in solidarity to advance our interests and demands collectively, with one voice.

 

 

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