Please join us on Tuesday August 24, 10:00 a.m. at CUNY Central (205 E. 42nd St.) for a PSC press conference and safety picket. RSVP here.
News & Events
We are writing again in response to the message we all received from the Chancellor yesterday. The approach CUNY is taking to reopening is inconsistent and, given the Delta variant, inadequate. We are asking you to contact the Chancellor, the Chief Operating Officer, and your college President THIS WEEKEND. Please tell them to take the actions that we argued for at our meeting with CUNY on August 9:
- CUNY should recalibrate the pre-semester reopening plan, as Lehman College and Queens College have just done. Until September 14, only those staff who are genuinely critical to regular operations should be asked to report to in-person work. Others should be permitted to continue working remotely.
- CUNY should permit the conversion of in-person classes to remote through September 14, the deadline for in-person students to upload their proof of vaccination.
- CUNY should make its mask mandate universal. Colleges should implement a mask mandate that complies fully with CDC guidance, if the University does not.
We write with updates on the union’s effort to ensure that CUNY complies with the appropriate health and safety standards in reopening.
The principal officers and PSC Health & Safety committee chairperson met this week with CUNY management about the August 16 return of professional staff and August 25 start of classes. We all know that the Delta variant of COVID is highly transmissible, and vaccinated people have contracted and can spread the virus. Unfortunately, community rates of transmission are categorized by the Centers for Disease Control as “substantial” or “high” across New York City, while vaccination rates are uneven and remain low in many communities. These conditions create tremendous challenges for a safe return to campus, and we expect University officials to do what it takes to furnish a safe learning and working environment.
Send a Letter to the Chancellor and the CUNY Trustees!
When NY State withheld 20 percent of CUNY’s budget allocations for most of 2020-21, the number of course offerings was reduced, many adjunct faculty and college lab technicians lost employment, and enrollment limits were raised on many classes. Please tell the Chancellor and the Board of Trustees, as we anticipate Fall 2021, that last year’s austerity measures must not be repeated. Courses currently on the schedule should be kept intact, not canceled for under-enrollment. This measure will maintain student academic progress and keep faculty on payroll. Sections should be added as registration continues this month, and adjunct faculty who were laid off last year should take priority in reappointment. These are among the express purposes of the three pieces of federal legislation Congress passed for higher education emergency relief.
We’ve been in touch about several important matters since taking office at the end of May, from health and safety in reopening, to changes in retiree health insurance, to the city budget and CUNY’s use of federal stimulus funds. If there were ever a time that faculty and staff needed a strong union, that time is now. Together we can generate the solidarity needed to wage important struggles. The Resolution in Support of the Palestinian People passed by the Delegate Assembly on June 10 has emerged as a test of that solidarity for some, and we are hopeful that we can come out of it a stronger union by working together.
I’m writing with an update on the PSC’s position on CUNY’s current reopening guidance and the Fall semester. The pressure that our members brought to bear around safety in reopening led the administration to postpone the August 2 reopening target to August 16. That was a victory for the union, as it allows for time to conduct necessary campus walkthroughs. During the next two weeks, there are several steps CUNY must take to ensure a safe reopening, which we have communicated to CUNY and outline below.
August 19, 2021
Hello PSC members!
This week, principal officers and other PSCers visited several campuses to welcome returning members and to represent the “Flying Squad” at locations where we had specific concerns. We spoke to scores of members and heard good news and not so good news about occupancy density, ventilation, masking, remote work agreements and testing. We are back in communication with CUNY about things that need immediate attention.
Because of the severity of the Delta variant and because of additional remediation that is necessary in various locations, we have been pressing CUNY to require as few people as possible to return at this time. We have also urged them to allow for a remote start to Fall semester classes.
If you are returning this week or in the near future, please note the measures that are essential for safety in these conditions: masking, distancing, ventilation, cleanliness, signage, and vaccine and testing-related conditions for entry.
Check that ventilation is working or that there is airflow in your workspace. You should observe the spacing of people at six feet, that crowding is avoided, that your space is clean, and that signs are posted to notify people of COVID safety rules. You should observe whether members of the campus community are wearing masks.
On July 29, the Delegate Assembly of the PSC voted to recommend the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the recently bargained RF Field Units contract to the RF Filed Units membership for ratification.
This is the first completely renegotiated contract in the history of the units, since the two previous contracts were extensions of the original. As your elected representatives and full participants in the bargaining process, we present this MOA to you with confidence that the demands were thoroughly prepared, researched, and bargained.
New York — Professional Staff Congress President James Davis released the following statement today after NYS Attorney General Letitia James issued a report finding that Governor Cuomo “engaged in conduct constituting sexual harassment under federal and New York State law” and that the culture of the Governor’s executive chamber “contributed to the conditions that allowed the sexual harassment to occur and persist”: