June 14, 2021
At its June 10 meeting, the PSC-CUNY Delegate Assembly approved a “Resolution in Support of the Palestinian People.”
CUNY faculty and staff have deeply felt convictions on all sides of this issue. The PSC has a long history of socially engaged unionism, staking out positions and struggling over issues from civil rights, to open admissions, to U.S. militarism, to universal healthcare, to over-policing in New York. We are engaged in the communities CUNY serves, and we seek to elevate progressive movements nationally and internationally. The Delegate Assembly resolution is a statement of solidarity with Palestinians. Specifically, it is a commitment to engage in conversations this Fall, member to member, about what kind of actions to take as a union, including whether to support the international call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions of Israel. The process of considering does not presuppose a particular outcome. But the premise is to engage colleagues about how best to exert the PSC’s influence within the labor movement on U.S. military support for Israel. The PSC will continue to challenge racism in all forms, including anti-Semitism, which we do not equate with criticism of Israeli state policy.
We honor the diverse viewpoints and experiences of PSC members and will pursue constructive discussions. We are, after all, an academic union, and where better to undertake difficult conversations on matters of urgent public concern than a public university with CUNY’s extraordinary legacy. The resolution approved by Delegates is available here.
Meanwhile, we are also engaged directly with our employer; as summer approaches so does the prospect of a gradual reopening of campus facilities. It’s CUNY’s job to keep us safe in the workplace, and our job to hold them accountable. The PSC has negotiated pre-occupancy walkthroughs of any facility approved for reopening, with union reps present. Our Health & Safety Watchdogs developed a set of clear safety standards and a checklist for the walkthrough process. By June 15, each college will have submitted a Fall reopening plan for CUNY’s approval, and the week of August 2, many staff and library faculty will begin gradual return to in-person work. Over 100 PSC members across the campuses have been trained by the Watchdogs to conduct walkthroughs (you can be trained too!) and union designees serve on each campus Reopening Committee. The PSC also negotiated a remote work agreement with CUNY. We remain in dialogue with the university administration on a number of critical fronts to ensure a safe and fulfilling return to work for our members.
James Davis, PSC President