In budget testimony before the State Legislature on February 8, President Bowen released startling new data that showed that despite consistently praising the education CUNY offers, Governor Cuomo has actually cut per-student funding at CUNY senior colleges by three percent since taking office – even before considering this year’s proposed $485 million cut to CUNY.

Read PSC’s State Budget Testimony.

President Bowen also pointed out that Governor Cuomo’s Executive Budget includes a $240 million budget line to fund “fair and affordable agreements with CUNY labor unions.” “We are glad that the budget finally earmarks money for the raise that CUNY professors and staff need in order to allow CUNY to attract and retain the best professors. But professors cannot teach and students cannot learn without adequate resources in the classroom. New York State needs to show the 500,000 students in New York City who depend on CUNY to succeed that government cares enough to provide the funds CUNY needs,” she said.

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The PSC has launched a radio, print and online ad campaign calling on State lawmakers to invest in CUNY. "The professors, staff and students of CUNY believe in the work we do. Why doesn't Albany?" the ad says. The Daily News covered the campaign here.

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January 26, 2016

“Having failed to make an economic offer to the union for five years, and having finally offered what amounts to a salary cut, The City University of New York has now claimed that contract negotiations are at an impasse. A declaration of impasse - if supported by the State Public Employment Relations Board - would result in the appointment of a mediator to resolve contract negotiations with the Professional Staff Congress.

“CUNY management failed to give the union any advance notice of their declaration of impasse, and we are studying the legal filing now. We will review CUNY's claim that contract negotiations have reached an impasse and will respond to the State Public Employment Relations Board when appropriate. Meanwhile, the union will continue to fight to reverse the State’s disinvestment in CUNY and its impact on the education of CUNY students. Governor Cuomo has included $240 million for resolving CUNY contracts in his proposed budget. CUNY should join the union in fighting to ensure that those funds are part of an overall increase in public investment in CUNY.

“If the CUNY administration had advocated more aggressively for public funding for CUNY rather than accommodating to scarcity, they would not be trying to create an impasse now. Instead, we waited five years for an economic offer. CUNY’s half-million students deserve a high-quality education. To ensure that, the University must complete a collective bargaining agreement that pays faculty and staff fairly for the important work we do and that makes CUNY competitive for the faculty and staff that CUNY students deserve.”

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President Barbara Bowen's Statement on the State Budget Testimony of Mayor de Blasio and Comptroller Stringer

January 26, 2016

“The PSC is heartened by Mayor de Blasio’s call for a fair resolution of the PSC-CUNY contract today and by his reiteration that the NYC will pay its proportionate share of the cost of raises in a final labor agreement. And we are grateful for the aggressive defense of CUNY mounted by several members of the Legislature during today’s budget hearing.

“In his budget testimony today, NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer offered further evidence of the state’s failure to invest adequately in quality education for CUNY’s students, who are predominately people of color. The comptroller’s analysis shows that investment in CUNY has lagged far behind growth of the overall state operating budget. CUNY, Comptroller Stringer said, would have $637 million more in state funding on hand today for senior and community colleges if the CUNY budget had grown at pace with the state budget over the past seven years.

“The City University of New York needs increased public investment, not cuts from the state, to ensure that CUNY’s half-million mostly low income students get a quality education and that CUNY’s faculty and staff—who have not had a raise in six years—are paid fairly for the important work they do. The Governor’s Executive Budget provides $240 million “to ensure fair and affordable agreements with CUNY labor unions.” It is critical that those funds be part of an overall increase in public investment in CUNY.

“In addition to collaborating to find efficiencies at CUNY, the governor and the mayor must ensure that CUNY is fully funded and end the pattern of public disinvestment that has left CUNY starved of resources and unable to compete for the faculty and staff that CUNY students deserve.”

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Barbara Bowen, president, Professional Staff Congress, the union of 25,000 CUNY faculty and staff, on Governor Cuomo’s 2016-17 Executive Budget:

“We welcome and hope to build on the Governor’s acknowledgement of the need to provide funding for retroactive raises for CUNY’s 25,000 faculty and staff—who have not had a raise in six years—but are alarmed at what appears to be a massive funding cut.

“A preliminary reading of the Executive Budget shows a proposal for a $485 million reduction in state funding for the City University of New York. If the budget is indeed proposing a massive cut of one-third of CUNY’s senior college funding, it would amount to one of the biggest cuts to public higher education in recent memory.

“In his speech today, the governor called education a ‘ladder to climb out of poverty,’ but a $485 million budget cut would destroy that ladder for CUNY students.

"We look forward to working constructively with the governor and the Legislature in the coming weeks to restore full funding for CUNY and enable the resolution of our contract."

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On Monday, January 11, two days before the release of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Budget, clergy and representatives of the city’s most active community groups, civil rights organizations, and unions urged Governor Andrew Cuomo to restore state funding for the City University of New York and invest in CUNY’s students, faculty and staff. The call came at news conference held outside Cuomo’s midtown office building.

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Senior Colleges:
February 18, 2016
March 3, 2016
March 17, 2016
March 31, 2016
April 14, 2016
April 28, 2016
May 12, 2016
May 26, 2016

*Community Colleges:
February 12, 2016
February 26, 2016
March 11, 2016
March 25, 2016
April 8, 2016
April 22, 2016
May 6, 2016
May 20, 2016

*This schedule does not apply to Kingsborough CC, LaGuardia CC and Guttman CC. These campuses are on a different academic calendar.

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Low-wage staff members and student workers at the State University of New York will receive a much-needed increase in wages because of executive action taken today (January 4, 2016) by Governor Andrew Cuomo. But thousands of staff and student workers at the City University of New York are being denied the $15 minimum wage. Meanwhile, Governor Cuomo has continued to keep per-student funding at CUNY basically flat, leaving CUNY funding 14% below 2008 levels.

“Lifting the wage floor for fast-food workers, state employees and now SUNY workers is the right thing to do. Governor Cuomo listened to the growing demand from workers, students, labor unions, faith leaders and others. But singling out CUNY’s workers on the state payroll for exclusion is a monumental failure of progressive leadership. No institution embodies the progressive, pro-worker, anti-poverty goals of the minimum wage more than CUNY. No institution does more than CUNY to overcome the income inequality that the governor decries.” said Barbara Bowen, president of the Professional Staff Congress, the union of CUNY faculty and staff.

“The decision to exclude CUNY from the wage increase is a slap in the face to the thousands of low-wage workers whose labor helps to make a college education possible for CUNY’s 500,000 students. It is part of a pattern of refusing to invest the necessary funds in CUNY: the governor continues to deny any state funding for pay increases for CUNY’s academic staff, who have not had a raise in five years. Cuomo’s continuing refusal to invest in decent pay for CUNY workers is hurting the whole University. Full-time faculty are beginning to seek other jobs, and there are part-time faculty on food stamps because their CUNY salaries are so low,” Bowen continued.

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Senator Bernie Sanders, presidential candidate and Brooklyn native, is calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo to invest in the City University of New York and fund a fair union contract for CUNY faculty and staff. The message from Senator Sanders came in a letter delivered to Governor Cuomo last Friday, the same day he vetoed legislation to fund CUNY and SUNY.

Senator Sanders tells Cuomo in the letter that “CUNY represents hope for economic and social justice.” Sanders calls the recent cuts that CUNY senior colleges have been forced to make due to underfunding from the state “unfair to New York’s students and unfair to our country’s future.”

Read about the letter and the veto in the New York Times.

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overnor Cuomo’s veto of legislation to protect educational quality for a half-million mostly low-income CUNY students undermines CUNY’s ability to offer an excellent education and betrays the hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who rely on CUNY as a route to a better life, according to CUNY’s faculty and staff union.

After the veto of the MOE bill, the PSC announced a social media ad campaign to press Governor Cuomo to change course and stop starving CUNY of resources.

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