When the priority categories for access to COVID vaccines were expanded last month to include “educators,” the PSC took the lead in pushing for inclusion of higher education faculty and staff working on campus in “phase 1B.” Together with the union’s statewide affiliate, NYSUT, and counterpart union at SUNY, we succeeded in getting explicit inclusion of higher ed employees working in person. Even though the category is described officially as “instructors and faculty,” the PSC takes the position that all instructional staff working in person—that is, professional staff as well as faculty—are included. If you are working on campus for any period this semester, you are encouraged to seek an appointment.
The PSC has also won agreement by CUNY management to provide two hours of paid leave time for all full-time CUNY employees who have a vaccination appointment, for a total of four hours per person, covering two doses of the vaccine. The union will continue to press to achieve the same provision for part-time faculty and staff. President Barbara Bowen said, “While I am pleased that CUNY management moved quickly on the union’s proposal for paid time off for vaccinations, the provision should also be extended to part-time employees. If the only time you can get an appointment is during work hours, you should not be prevented from taking it.”
The PSC has offered to facilitate delivery of vaccines to our members, in response to the governor’s statement that unions could play this role. To date, requests to both New York State and New York City governments are awaiting responses.
Watch your email for messages from the union about a Town Hall on the COVID vaccine with the New York City Department of Health that will be offered for PSC members early in February.