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Betrayal: CUNY refuses to implement equity raises

Feb 11, 2021

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A message from Barbara Bowen and Andrea Vásquez, PSC President and First Vice President:

At the end of the day yesterday (February 10), we received a call from CUNY’s Offices of Labor Relations and Human Resources informing the union that the Chancellor had made the decision not to implement the equity raises agreed to in the contract for Assistants to HEO and Lecturers this spring. They conveyed the Chancellor’s and their own apologies for failing to inform us sooner.

The CUNY officials indicated that the raise would be paid eventually, but they gave no date. The union leadership has consistently bargained for increases for the lowest-paid titles in addition to the across-the-board raises, in order to narrow gaps in the salary scale and address inequities of race and gender.

CUNY’s decision to withhold the raises is a betrayal of the 1,295 Assistants to HEO, the 1,262 Lecturers, and every member of the PSC. It is also a blatant breach of our contract. Every member of the PSC is betrayed when management believes they can disregard the most basic part of our contract: our pay. The PSC leadership is speaking to the Chancellor today, and we will demand that the decision be reversed.

The union cannot allow the contract to be violated. We will fight with every means available to restore these raises and ensure that our contract is respected. Expect to hear more from us tomorrow as plans to fight back develop.

On December 16 at the PSC/CUNY labor management meeting, the PSC officers raised the issue of contractual equity increases and asked for confirmation that they would be implemented. Chancellor Matos-Rodríguez responded, in no uncertain terms, that the $1,000 equity raise scheduled for all Assistants to HEO on February 1 would be applied. We were also assured that all equity raises and annual salary steps would be implemented as contractually agreed. Only the 2% across-the-board raise effective November 15 would be delayed, as it has been for all New York State employees.

On Monday, February 8, we wrote to all aHEOs advising you to look forward to this hard-fought raise and to expect to see it in your pay stub. The $1,000 equity raise is separate from the 2% across-the-board raise that was withheld from all state workers. The decision not to give the raise is CUNY’s alone.

There is no excuse under any circumstances for withholding a contractual raise, but with CUNY still holding tens of millions of CARES Act money, it is totally outrageous. Enough is enough!

Please join us as we fight for equity and adherence to our contract. Those are everyone’s issues.

In solidarity,
Barbara Bowen
Andrea Vásquez
President and First Vice President, PSC

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