Dear PSC Members,
I am happy to be able to wish the faculty of the Hunter College Campus Schools a great first day of in-person classes tomorrow! And I hope you will join me in congratulating them on their successful campaign to protect the safety of students, families, faculty and staff.
The teachers’ key demand was for an independent safety inspection. Today, after an 85% “yes” vote on strike authorization and much subsequent negotiating, we were on the brink of a strike. Finally, CUNY allowed an independent inspection. The inspectors presented a report that indicates that the ventilation system is acceptable and that it delivers "the maximum amount of fresh air with little to no return air."
In a meeting tonight, the HCCS teachers affirmed the recommendation of the chapter leadership not to strike tomorrow, but they added that they must have a structure of continuing labor/management meetings to address safety problems as they arise. And they have required a commitment that a certain classroom that not certified for use not be used.
The faculty and staff of the Hunter College Campus Schools took a brave stand for the safety of students, teachers and the community. Because of their advocacy and the active support of the whole PSC, Hunter Campus Schools have been forced to implement a whole series of new safety protocols: a commitment to regular COVID testing, a safety inspection by an independent inspector, containment of dangerous mold, and a temporary restraining order that impelled Hunter to install HEPA air filters in classrooms. None of these protections was in place until the teachers and their union fought for them. Our fight was a fight for everyone in the HCCS community.
And it is an indication of the PSC’s determination to protect every member at every worksite. The courage of the HCCS teachers in standing up for their own safety and the safety of the community is a powerful example of how we can stand together to protect our health and the health of the students we serve. Please let us know if you have been called back to on-site work so we can make sure that your safety is protected.
Many thanks to the teachers at HCCS; to the members who came out to the HCCS rally; to the PSC’s national and state affiliates, AFT and NYSUT, who intervened at critical moments; and to the union members from other campuses who signed up for picket duty. The PSC will continue to fight to make sure that every reopening is a safe reopening.