On Wednesday, January 26, the PSC bargaining team met with CUNY management to begin negotiating a new successor agreement to the contract that expired on October 19, 2010. The session focused on preliminary matters: understandings about how the negotiations would proceed, and time-sensitive contract provisions and agreements that may be renewed or extended. While no formal ground rules were established, the two sides reached a shared understanding about how future sessions and subcommittees would be conducted.
Reaching agreement about procedures went much more smoothly than in the past. This time, there was no discussion of limits on the union’s ability to invite members to attend sessions as observers—a right we have fought for and won in the past. The PSC bargaining team believes that the faculty and staff we represent should have the chance to see the bargaining process at work, and we invite you to attend future sessions. We will notify you as soon as future dates are set.
In addition to the procedural issues, the negotiating teams agreed to establish three subcommittees, which will begin work immediately and make recommendations to the full bargaining teams. The groups will focus on: 1) paid parental leave; 2) an existing agreement on certain payroll practices; and 3) issues involved in determining the cost of the contract.
Neither side presented contract demands, although the PSC gave a brief statement on our position that a short-term economic crisis must not be used to degrade working conditions at CUNY. We have seen in the past how temporary fiscal crises can lead to permanent damage for the University. The PSC indicated that it is prepared to present demands, and asked CUNY for an economic offer. Management’s representatives discussed the relation of CUNY to New York City and New York State, and said they were not yet prepared to make an economic offer.
The real work of negotiations happens not at the table, however, but in the chapters and on the campuses, as we build support for the union’s strong agenda. We invite you to contribute to the union’s power by joining the Committee of 500, and to be an observer at future bargaining sessions.
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