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This Week in the PSC

This Week in the PSC (09.03.21): Keep Pressing Our Demands for Improved Safety Measures

Oct 24, 2021

Keep Pressing Our Demands for Improved Safety Measures

We know how challenging the transition has been to begin Fall 2021 and how resourceful you have been in facing the challenges. Among these challenges are the inconsistent messages from CUNY Central and a failure to ensure that each campus adheres to stringent safety practices. 

The PSC has been demanding at labor-management meetings, protests and in the press that CUNY issue university-wide guidance on the COVID transmission thresholds for suspension of in-person instruction and on-campus work. Yesterday, the Chancellor promulgated a plan. Union Health and Safety Watchdogs and leadership are analyzing it today.

We continue to press CUNY for improved measures and clear policies. With your help, we have made progress on our demands of the CUNY administration. But additional steps must be taken. Click here to send the chancellor a letter pressing our demands to shut down inadequately remediated spaces, reduce the density of people on campus, expand testing and enforce six feet of social distancing by everyone in all spaces occupied by both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. Once you fill in your information and click “start writing” you’ll be able to send the letter as written or edit it to add your own experience.


Delayed 2% Raise to be Paid in October

CUNY has finally circulated guidance to college Human Resources offices about paying our long-awaited November 15, 2020 2% contractual raise. 

  • October 7, 2021 is the pay date for the lump sum payment of the salary increase retroactive to November 15, 2020 for State-funded employees (Senior Colleges).
  • October 15, 2021 is the pay date for the lump sum payment of the salary increase retroactive to November 15, 2020 for City-funded employees (Community Colleges).

All employees who were eligible for a salary step increase on January 1, 2021 or July 1, 2021 will have that step reflected in their retroactive payment. CUNY has announced that the November 2021 2% across-the-board raise will be in our paychecks in November 2021, consistent with the contract.

Adjunct Pay Dates

For the Fall 2021 semester, teaching adjuncts are scheduled to be paid on eight successive pay dates at two-week intervals. At the senior colleges, the first pay date will be Sept. 9 and the last pay date will be Dec. 16. At most community colleges, the first pay date will be Sept. 3 and the last pay date will be Dec. 10. Kingsborough CC, LaGuardia CC and Guttman CC operate on a different academic calendar with different pay dates starting on October 1. All pay dates are listed here. 

Update on the NYC Retiree Healthcare Change to Medicare Advantage

NYC is changing healthcare for city retirees, including CUNY retirees, from traditional Medicare with supplemental city insurance to a privatized Medicare Advantage plan managed by an Alliance of Empire BlueCross BlueShield and Emblem Health.

The opt out and enrollment dates for the new plan have been changed to September 15 – October 31 from the original 9/1 to 10/15 dates. The New York City Office of Labor Relations will be mailing enrollment packets to city retirees this month. Click here for updated information, important links and a history of the PSC’s response to the City’s healthcare changes. To get your retiree healthcare questions answered, take these steps in this order: (1) Check NYC OLR FAQs and PSC Welfare Fund FAQs; (2) If still no answers, call the Alliance toll free number at 1-833-325-1190, Monday to Friday, 8 am to 9 pm; (3) And if still no answers, only then send an email to the PSC-CUNY Welfare Fund at [email protected]

New Full-Time Hires Have 30 Days to Choose a Pension

New York State law mandates participation in a retirement system for full-time members of the instructional staff (HEOs, CLTs, and faculty). CUNY should have informed new hires that they have 30 days from the date of appointment to choose a retirement program, and that the choice is irrevocable. Full-time faculty and staff can choose between the New York City Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS) and the Optional Retirement Program (ORP) run by TIAA. If a choice isn’t made within 30 days, the law mandates that the new hire be assigned to TRS. The choice between TRS and ORP is about choosing a defined benefit plan or a defined contribution plan. Read more here, and please share this information with your newly hired colleagues; you may meet them before the union is notified that they have been hired. 

Adjunct Health Insurance Enrollment Deadline: September 24

Adjuncts who are newly eligible or have regained eligibility for health insurance and supplemental PSC-CUNY Welfare Fund benefits must submit completed applications/forms to the College Benefits Officer no later than 30 days from the first day of classes. This year, the deadline is September 24. Benefits will take effect the first day of classes. Eligibility requirements are detailed here, along with the list of required applications and documentation.

Organizing Victory at the Graduate Center

Second- and third-year CUNY doctoral students who couldn’t establish NYS residency in 2020-2021 because of the pandemic finally have a commitment from the Graduate Center that they will be charged in-state tuition in 2021-2022. Before the policy change was announced yesterday, the students were facing thousands of dollars in out-of-state tuition fees because they followed the advice of public health experts and didn’t travel to New York during COVID. (See “Punished for Staying Home,” Inside Higher Ed, Aug. 30.) The victory is the result of months of organizing by impacted students together with the PSC chapter at the Graduate Center. Organizers pressed the issue in labor-management meetings. They engaged in targeted outreach to program staff, GC faculty and students, generated letters to GC President Robin Garrell, and collected over 700 signatures on a petition. 

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