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News & Events

New Definition of Essential Personnel

Mar 24, 2020

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Good afternoon, Members and Colleagues,

I hope you are well. The PSC continues to work to ensure that you are safe on the job, and we have begun to make progress on negotiating some temporary contractual changes to protect our rights during this crisis. I will report on that shortly.

Earlier today I sent the letter below to the chancellor, seeking clear information about any of our colleagues who may still be designated “essential employees.” I’ll let you know as soon as we have a response.

Meanwhile, please stay as safe and connected as you can.

Barbara Bowen
President, PSC/CUNY


March 23, 2020

Dr. Félix V. Matos Rodríguez
Chancellor, The City University of New York
205 East 42nd Street
New York, NY 10017

Dear Chancellor Matos Rodríguez:

Governor Cuomo’s Guidance on Essential Services under the New York State PAUSE Executive Order lists the “businesses or entities” that are deemed essential and whose employees may continue to work in the physical workplace. As you know, the executive order concerning essential businesses became effective at 8:00 p.m. last night, March 22.

Given the confusion about “essential employees” at CUNY last week, the PSC wants to be certain that the executive order is being correctly-and uniformly-implemented throughout the University. Please provide to the PSC by close of business today a list, by name, job title and college, of any PSC-represented employees whom the University now designates as performing essential functions. Please include instructional staff at the Educational Opportunity Centers and Research Foundation workers who are represented by the PSC.

The PSC is also concerned that any PSC-represented employees who have been designated “essential” have been provided with all necessary protective clothing and equipment and that their workplaces have been properly and safely cleaned. Please provide the PSC with information concerning the protective clothing and equipment provided to each employee designated “essential” and concerning how their workplaces have been cleaned. All cleaning and disinfecting, of course, must be done in a manner that does not expose our fellow workers at CUNY to danger.

The PSC takes the position that employees who are required to report to work during a pandemic should receive additional compensation, and we seek to negotiate that with you.

I look forward to receiving your response today. Last week’s experience demonstrated the danger of delayed responses and lack of information. Our members are entitled to clear information and to know that they are not being exposed to potentially life-threatening illness every time they enter the workplace.

Thank you, and stay well.

Barbara Bowen
President, PSC/CUNY

cc: Members of the PSC Bargaining Unit
Vincent Alvarez, President, NYC Central Labor Council
Henry Garrido, Executive Director, AFSCME DC37
Gregory Floyd, President, Teamsters Local 237
James J. Claffy, Jr., President, IATSE Local 1
Joseph Colangelo. President, SEIU Local 24

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