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This Week in the PSC

This Week in the PSC (12.16.13): Contract Rights Upheld in Pathways Grievance

Dec 16, 2013

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Look for the next issue of This Week in the PSC in January 2014. Best wishes to all for the holiday season.

Contract Rights Upheld in Pathways Grievance

CUNY management was defeated in its attempt to block consideration of a union grievance on the way the University implemented Pathways, and has been told in no uncertain terms that faculty’s curricular duties are terms and conditions of employment covered by the PSC’s contract. The ruling was issued on Friday by an independent arbitrator of a grievance filed by the PSC. CUNY had petitioned for the grievance to be dismissed, arguing that issues of governance are not covered by the PSC contract and cannot be challenged by the PSC. The petition to dismiss was an attempt to narrow scope of the contract, and was soundly rejected by the arbitrator.

The grievance, filed by the PSC in 2012, alleges that in its implementation of Pathways CUNY failed to act in accordance with University Bylaws and college governance plans established for the development and execution of curriculum changes. The grievance also alleges that the implementation of Pathways was a violation of academic freedom and that CUNY retaliated against members of the faculty for acting in opposition to Pathways.

The arbitrator ruled that the grievance was subject to arbitration, or “arbitrable,” in its entirety and ruled against CUNY on every point. The arbitrator held that the ability to maintain some degree of control over curriculum was an integral part of faculty members’ terms and conditions of employment and was therefore subject to the grievance and arbitration procedure in the PSC-CUNY collective bargaining agreement. The PSC will now be permitted to present evidence to establish the violation of Bylaws and college governance plans that have occurred in CUNY’s headlong rush to implement its deeply flawed Pathways Initiative.

The grievance should not be confused with the two lawsuits filed by the PSC against Pathways, which are still moving slowly through the courts. The grievance is limited to violations of the PSC-CUNY contract and is an entirely separate proceeding. The grievance challenges only the implementation of Pathways, not the adoption of Pathways.

PSC Chapter Elections Candidate Declaration Deadline—Jan. 6

Fourteen PSC chapters are scheduled to hold elections in the spring of 2014. They will elect chapter officers, delegates and alternates to the PSC Delegate Assembly and representatives to the PSC-CUNY Welfare Fund Advisory Council. Candidate Declaration forms are available at the PSC office and here on the PSC website. The deadline for filing the Candidate Declaration form will be January 6, 2014. Click here to see the Notice of Nominations and Elections – Spring 2014 published in the latest Clarion. Click here for the election rules.

We Still Need Adjuncts’ Stories of Job Insecurity

Representative George Miller (California), the ranking Democrat on the House’s Education & The Workforce Committee is holding an eforum to collect stories from adjunct faculty from across the nation—exactly the types of stories the PSC is collecting to support a campaign for adjunct job security.
Miller and the other Democrats on the committee want to know about “working conditions of the over one million contingent faculty and instructors at U.S. institutions of higher education, including part-time adjunct professors and graduate teaching assistants, and how those working conditions may impact students’ education.” This is a chance to help make adjunct issues visible in the coming debate over the Higher Ed Act re-authorization.

The union is submitting the stories that have already been collected to Congressman Miller and the Committee Democrats, but we need more! If you work as an adjunct at CUNY, please submit your story of job insecurity at psc-cuny.org/JobSecurity. (Congressman Miller’s website has its own web form. But if you submit via the union’s web form your story can help with the PSC’s job security for adjuncts campaign, too. We’ll forward your story along to the congressman.)

PSC Volunteers and Elected Officials Celebrate at PSC Event

Progressive candidates endorsed by the PSC swept the elections this year—and we’re very happy about it. The PSC hosted an Election Celebration and Holiday Party on Thurs., Dec. 12 at the union’s central office. PSC members, staff and friends who volunteered to get out the vote for mayor-elect Bill de Blasio were joined by Public Advocate-elect Letitia James and other newly elected officials, including Manhattan Borough President-elect Gale Brewer. At the party, the candidates thanked our members for their active support, and union leaders reiterated the PSC’s commitment to fight to advance a progressive policy agenda. A slideshow of the event is posted on the PSC website.


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