[On Friday, March 6 President Bowen sent a message to Chancellor Matos-Rodríguez asserting the union’s right to information about health and safety procedures during the coronavirus epidemic and our right to negotiate over any changes in employment conditions in response to the virus. The Chancellor’s written response is posted here.]
Late this afternoon (Monday, March 9) the PSC sent Chancellor Matos-Rodríguez a preliminary list of demands on coronavirus issues that must be resolved immediately. PSC members cannot wait for answers to our urgent needs.
Many, many members wrote in response to my letter on COVID-19; thank you. Your thoughtful comments helped to shape this first round of demands on the issue. The union may propose additional demands as conditions change and may need to take other action.
PSC officers and staff will continue to fight to ensure that your health and your rights are protected. We are actively monitoring other school and college closings.
Again, thank you for your generous responses to my last message, many of which expressed concern for the specific needs of the CUNY student population. Keep washing those hands and take care of yourselves, and each other.
Barbara Bowen, President, PSC
Professional Staff Congress/CUNY
Preliminary Collective Bargaining Demands on COVID-19 Issues
March 9, 2020
The PSC makes the following preliminary demands concerning the terms and conditions of employment for PSC bargaining unit members on issues relative to COVID-19. The union reserves the right to advance additional demands on COVID-19 issues as further information becomes available.
- CUNY will immediately issue information to the entire University community on each college’s schedule for regular and rigorous cleaning and decontamination of all facilities to minimize the risk of contamination. CUNY will provide information to the PSC and other CUNY unions on the disinfectants used in such cleaning and will permit access to facilities, if requested, by licensed health and safety inspectors retained by the PSC.
- Effective March 10, 2020, CUNY will permit members of the bargaining unit aged 60 or older, members of the bargaining unit who self-identify as at serious health risk if they contract COVID-19, and members of the bargaining unit who share a residence with someone who would be at serious risk if infected with COVID-19 to work temporarily from home or other off-campus location, provided that they notify the College Human Resources Office and make arrangements for off-campus work with their department chair or immediate supervisor. Such employees will be responsible for their normal responsibilities.
- Faculty with expertise in online instruction shall be identified in each college and invited to provide training for other faculty about effective temporary use of distance learning technology, to be used in the event of a short-term closing of a college or an individual employee’s need, for health reasons, to work remotely. Full-time faculty who agree to provide training will be compensated through the pilot provision on stipends or through appropriate reassigned time. Adjunct faculty who lead such trainings shall be paid at their full hourly rate. Adjuncts and other hourly workers who attend such trainings shall use their paid professional hours, if available, or be paid at their full hourly rate.
- Professional staff, both full-time and hourly, shall be offered the option of staggered shifts wherever possible in order to allow employees to travel to work at times when public transportation may be less crowded than at peak times.
- Effective March 10, 2020, a member of the bargaining unit who has contracted COVID-19 and who has exhausted their temporary disability leave or, for adjuncts and other employees named in Article 14.8, their personal leave, shall be paid for days absent while ill with COVID-19.
- All employees working at CUNY, including student employees and employees not on the CUNY payroll, shall be allocated full-paid sick days, to be used if necessary.
- CUNY will immediately report on the availability of hand-washing facilities in every public restroom located in a CUNY building, specifying whether the restroom provides running water, soap and drying facilities. The report will be updated weekly, and restrooms without adequate facilities for hand-washing will be corrected within 24 hours.