News & Events

PSC To Legislators: Fully Fund CUNY, Fund Competitive Salaries and 7K for Adjuncts

PSC officers were in Albany Monday, January 28 to testify before a joint hearing of the State Senate and Assembly finance committees on the Executive Budget for higher education. PSC President Barbara Bowen, in her testimony, said, “Despite the claims that State funding for higher education has increased, real per-student spending at CUNY senior colleges has gone down...CUNY needs funding to support its current collective bargaining agreement without cannibalizing itself, and it needs funding to support wage justice and educational justice in the next contract.”

To the newly elected legislators, the new Senate majority members, and the long-time supporters of public higher education in the Legislature, Bowen urged: “Make funding for quality public higher education a top priority. Make class size, course availability, teaching conditions and learning conditions as much an issue of economic and racial justice as financial aid…Put your energy, your imaginations, your power behind CUNY’s ability to transform individual lives and lift communities out of poverty.”

The Legislature has achieved an historic victory for higher education students this session, one that has been a longstanding priority for the PSC. As college faculty and staff, PSC members have been proud to teach and mentor—and learn from—the thousands of Dreamers at CUNY. We have seen their courage, their passion for education, their determination to open doors for the next generation that were closed to them. Thank you to the Senate and Assembly majorities for never giving up, for enabling thousands of courageous students, brought to the United States as infants or children, to have a meaningful opportunity for a college education.

Passage of the José Peralta NYS DREAM Act, at the same moment when the administration in Washington is doing its utmost to criminalize young immigrants and violate international law on asylum, sends a strong message about how New York values immigrants and public higher education. We call on New York State to send an equally strong message on New York’s commitment to public higher education through this year’s budget.

The Professional Staff Congress (PSC), the trade union of 30,000 faculty and professional staff at the nation’s largest public urban university, City University of New York, stand in support of our colleagues in the AAUP Wright State University faculty union in their decision to strike to defend union rights and working conditions.

After two years at the bargaining table, The United Teachers LA has gone on strike.

Teachers in Los Angeles are demanding wage increases and, just as important, funding for community schools and other crucial services for their students such as counselors, nurses, smaller classes and less testing. They have gone on strike, and although they do not face the same legal restrictions and penalties of NY State's Taylor Law, they need the support and solidarity of union locals from across the country!

Please sign up today to testify at the CUNY Board of Trustees hearing this Wednesday, January 9.

The CUNY Board of Trustees finally released CUNY’s draft budget request for State and City funding last week, only days before Governor Cuomo is expected to announce his executive budget for next year. The trustees’ request does not call for full funding for our contract by New York State, does not name an acceptable level of funding for the new teaching load reduction, and never mentions the word “adjunct.” Instead, it boasts about programs whose success is entirely dependent on our labor but makes only vague references to how the funding for our contract will be resolved (see pages 5 and 17).

The CUNY Board must hear from us about why their request is unacceptable. They are holding a last-minute hearing this Wednesday, January 9, at the Manhattan campus of BMCC, starting at 4:30. I am asking you to change your plans for Wednesday afternoon and be there to speak. There is no need for elaborate testimony; just speak from your experience about what CUNY needs and what you need to do your job.

In order to speak, you must register your intent to testify by emailing the CUNY Board Secretary before 4:30 tomorrow: email

The union will be taking our campaign directly to Albany in February and March, but the start of that campaign is here at CUNY this Wednesday. We cannot let up on the pressure now; January 9 is also the first day of the legislative session in Albany, and the message we send by testifying will reach far beyond the hearing room. We will also be issuing a collective message to Albany, City Hall and any potential candidates for the CUNY chancellor position.

The Maintenance of Effort bill has been vetoed, despite having passed both houses of the Legislature with overwhelming bipartisan support. The bill won widespread support because it would have ensured that the state’s public universities, CUNY and SUNY, receive funding to cover mandatory costs such as rent and electricity increases, negotiated salary agreements, and the difference between the highest TAP award and the actual cost of tuition.

Without such funding in place, CUNY has been forced to cannibalize its own inadequate budget and increase the amount students pay in tuition and fees in order to cover costs that should be publicly funded. CUNY colleges have cut back on academic courses and computer support, reduced library hours, shortchanged student services and increased their reliance on adjunct faculty, who are paid a near-poverty wage.

A progressive state should provide the funding necessary to maintain high-quality college education at its public universities. The PSC is grateful to the legislators who championed the bill, and we will work with the Legislature and the Governor during the budget process to make 2019 the year in which CUNY is fully funded.

The PSC has sent this letter to the CUNY administration about their unqualified support for the Amazon deal. Before developing a position on the agreement for Amazon to receive massive public subsidies in return for locating in New York City, the PSC leadership believes we need answers to our questions about the cost of the agreement, its impact on our neighborhoods, its implications for CUNY and more.

Albany—President Barbara Bowen urged the State to increase funding for CUNY in testimony delivered Wednesday, December 5 to the Assembly Higher Education Committee. She also called on the governor to sign legislation soon to be before him that would enhance the State’s Maintenance of Effort (MOE) for CUNY and SUNY.

“The City University of New York is reaching a breaking point—in large part because the normal costs of doing business are not covered in the State’s annual budget allocation to the University. The current funding model for CUNY, even with the present MOE in place, is unsustainable. It forces the University either to cut existing academic programs to make up for the budget shortfall or to rely on huge numbers of low-wage workers as instructors or to escalate the pace of tuition and fee increases (thereby also enlarging the unfunded TAP gap) simply to stay afloat. In the absence of a full MOE, CUNY is being forced to cannibalize its own inadequate budget to cover costs that should be automatically funded by New York State,” she testified. Read the full testimony here.

Demanding A Fair Contract, Funding for Quality Education

Elected leaders of the faculty and professional staff union at the City University of New York (CUNY) were arrested today while demanding a contract that will help ensure a quality education for the half-million CUNY students across the city. Seventeen protesters, including the union president, vice president and secretary, local campus leaders and members of the executive council, blocked the doors to Baruch College near the Flatiron District of Manhattan during a meeting of the CUNY Board of Trustees. Hundreds more CUNY faculty and staff chanted “CUNY Trustees, do you job! Demand the funding CUNY needs!” during the blockade.

CUNY’s 30,000 faculty and staff have been without a contract for more than a year. Their union, the Professional Staff Congress, is demanding that the University Board of Trustees use its power and press the State and City to provide the funding needed to pay competitive salaries to faculty and staff and raise the near-poverty wage currently paid to 12,000 adjunct faculty.

Deadline for filing Declaration Of Candidacy form: January 11

Seventeen PSC chapters are scheduled to hold elections in the spring of 2019. They will elect chapter officers, delegates and alternates to the PSC Delegate Assembly, along with representatives to the PSC-CUNY Welfare Fund Advisory Council. Candidate Declaration forms are available at the PSC office and here on the PSC website. (Click here to download a form to declare a slate.). To vote in the Spring 2019 PSC elections, you must have signed a PSC membership card and returned it to the PSC office before December 3, 2018. Only members can vote in union elections or contract ratification votes. The deadline for filing the Candidate Declaration form is January 11, 2019. Click here for the list of chapters that will hold elections, the election rules and other deadlines.