3,200 Faculty and Staff Sign Petition Calling for a Safe Return
President James Davis delivered the union’s Spring Safe Return Petition to Chancellor Matos Rodríguez on Thursday, January 6. The petition, launched before the Omicron COVID surge, called on the Chancellor to meet the conditions laid out by the PSC for a smart, gradual, and safe return and to recognize that a universal 70% minimum mandate for in-person instruction is unwarranted. President Davis’s letter and a link to the signed petition are posted here. The petition was delivered along with a demand that CUNY permit remote work for non-essential employees during the inter-session to reduce the risk of infection for PSC members and students. The Chancellor has not acceded to this demand; however, his latest communication said CUNY professional staff will “operate at 50% in-person capacity” through February 28, when a 70% threshold will take effect. Add your voice to our demand for remote work during January by retweeting our message about the petition and by writing the Chancellor at [email protected].
Seeking Clarification About the Vaccine Mandate
Governor Hochul’s announcement and the Chancellor’s January 5th message both indicate that “all faculty will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19.” The PSC believes the new policy should apply to all faculty and professional staff and supports it as a critical layer of protection in our workplace, and an extension of the existing policy for students. We are seeking clarification from CUNY and the State about whether the mandate includes all PSC-represented employees.
PSC Statement on the Governor’s State of the State Address
Governor Hochul delivered her first State of the State address last Wednesday, January 5.
We applaud Governor Hochul for championing public higher education as an engine of economic mobility, and for identifying key investments in areas like child care and TAP reform. We look forward to working with the governor to ensure that the executive budget meets the needs of CUNY communities by investing in new full-time faculty, academic advisors, mental health counselors, and infrastructure, setting the stage for a New Deal for CUNY. While the Governor’s State of the State address featured SUNY more prominently than CUNY, her overarching policy goal of a secondary degree for two-thirds of adult New Yorkers by 2030 can only be achieved by enhancing CUNY and increasing State operating support. The PSC and our allies continue to communicate with the Governor and her staff about the investments CUNY needs in the Executive Budget. See the next item for more information and to take action.
Urge Your Legislators to Support the New Deal for CUNY
Our work, and that of the CUNY Rising Alliance, to help educate and mobilize our students, alums, and our broader community about the ND4C is more important than ever. The PSC has mobilized New York labor leaders to write to the Governor in support of the New Deal for CUNY this week. We have also been working with key legislative co-sponsors of the New Deal for CUNY to ensure that the Governor’s Executive Budget includes a major increased investment in CUNY. If you haven’t yet, please send this CUNY Rising Alliance letter to your elected officials and call on them to fully fund the University Budget Request and pass the New Deal for CUNY.
Add Your Name to Demand the Protection of Voting Rights
Core democratic rights in the U.S. are under threat! We need to pass the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021 and the Freedom to Vote Act. It should be a simple 50-vote majority, but Senate Republicans are using the outdated filibuster procedure to stop the vote.
It shouldn’t be this hard to pass laws that protect basic voting rights. Sign here to say: Sideline the filibuster, not the hopes, aspirations, and representation of the people.
Demand Transparency, Fairness,
and Affordability in Hospital Costs
The PSC has joined the Coalition for Affordable Hospitals campaign to rein in the skyrocketing costs of hospital care in New York. Please sign this petition the PSC and other members of Coalition are circulating to presidents of the five largest hospitals in New York. It’s time for these institutions to be transparent about their charges and negotiate reasonable and affordable prices. New Yorkers pay some of the highest prices for medical care in the country. Advocating for transparency, fairness, and affordability in hospital costs (the Coalition is advocating for the Hospital Equity and Affordability Law “HEAL”) can help to address the difficulty in accessing healthcare so many New Yorkers and PSC members face. PSC members who are interested in participating in the campaign can contact Bettina Damiani at [email protected].
Congratulations to the Student Workers of Columbia
Student workers at Columbia University ended their 10-week strike on Friday after reaching a tentative agreement with the University. The union has announced that they will hold a 15-day discussion period followed by a one-week ratification vote January 22-27. Classes resume at Columbia next week.
Thanks to the many PSC members who walked the picket line and to the hundreds of members who pledged not to be a scab during the strike.