Responding to the State of the State
Governor Cuomo’s State of the State address focused on the economy and job creation. While highlighting SUNY’s role in State economic development, he made no mention of CUNY, the State’s greatest source of economic opportunity for low-income students, immigrants and people of color. Assembly Speaker Silver, in his remarks before Cuomo spoke, laid out three priorities for advancing the working poor. One of the three was to increase state funding for community colleges, which have been cut by more than 20% over the last three years.
“I am delighted that Speaker Silver has heard and acted on the message of the PSC—that New York State must increase its investment in CUNY. Starting with community colleges, of both CUNY and SUNY, is a good strategy, because there is a crying need for restoration of State funds.”
PSC-Backed Coalition Calls for an End to Corporate Tax Loopholes
99% New York, a large coalition of community, labor, student, faith and Occupy organizations, including the PSC, is urging lawmakers in Albany to start a corporate tax reform effort that will raise over a billion dollars for this year’s state budget and make New York’s corporate tax structure enforceable, fair, and transparent. Even with the recent modest improvements to the State’s tax code, New York is still facing a $2 billion budget deficit, so these reforms would help balance the budget without more cuts to education and human services. (Learn more.) While more sweeping tax justice is still needed, closing tax loopholes would be an important first step. Governor Cuomo also signaled a willingness to “close tax loopholes, promote efficiency in administration, enhance collection and enforcement” in the State of the State.
“PSC members, CUNY students and millions of other ordinary New Yorkers have borne the brunt of an economic crisis they didn’t create. The 99% have paid too much already. It’s only fair that New York State narrow the budget gap by making tax evaders pay up, and ending tax loopholes for real estate tycoons and hedge fund managers,” said Barbara Bowen, president of the Professional Staff Congress.
Get Active: Advocate Priorities to Lawmakers
PSC activists continue to meet with lawmakers in their districts and in Albany. PSC members will have more opportunities to meet with State lawmakers in Albany to demand tax fairness and restoration of CUNY funding. We will continue to press for an end to attacks on public sector pensions and full support of CUNY’s budget priorities, including adjunct health insurance. (See a full list of PSC priorities.) The union works with our state-wide affiliate, NYSUT, on a series of concentrated advocacy days: March 5-6, March 19-20 and May 21-22. We need you there! Transportation, food and housing costs are covered by NYSUT. Reserve your spot. We also schedule district visits with lawmakers. Please contact Amanda Magalhaes to learn more and sign up to participate.
Paid Parental Leave Renewed
The PSC has succeeded in negotiating an agreement with CUNY management to continue the paid parental leave benefit without interruption for full-time CUNY employees in the PSC bargaining unit who meet the eligibility guidelines (Clarion coverage). Money for the current benefit would otherwise have run out December 31. For further details, see the Our Benefits section of the PSC website or talk to your HR office.
The Adjunct Health Care Push Continues
Latest Clarion coverage of the campaign to fully fund health insurance for eligible adjuncts is available online. Now that CUNY has requested funds for the benefit, PSC members will advance the issue on two fronts: on campus, we’ll continue to press CUNY to keep adjunct health insurance high on the University’s list of priorities. In Albany, we’ll be urging lawmakers to provide full funding for CUNY’s priorities, including adjunct health insurance. Go to your next chapter meeting to join the on-campus campaign, or contact Amanda Magalhaes to join the union’s efforts in Albany.
PSC-CUNY Research Award Deadline This Week
The application deadline for the next round of PSC-CUNY grants is Sunday, January 15, 2012, at 5:00 PM. All applications must be submitted electronically via the CUNY Research Foundation website. (Learn more.)
Reservations Still Available for the Retirees’ January Luncheon
Please join the Retirees Chapter for their annual winter luncheon, with guest speaker Jonathan Buchsbaum, chair of the PSC’s Labor Goes to the Movies film series. The event will take place Tuesday, January 17, 12:30 pm in the Richard Harris Terrace at BMCC (199 Chambers St.). Tickets are $24 per person. Call Linda Slifkin at 212-354-1252 for more information or reservations.
HEO and CLT Handbooks are Online
A few members have requested a digital version of the HEO or CLT handbook. Click these links to download the HEO and CLT handbooks from the PSC website.