FEDERAL JUDGE HALTS PATERSON’S FURLOUGH PLAN FOR CUNY PROFESSORS

5/12/10

Issues temporary restraining order, hearing on injunction set for May 26.

Today, US District Judge Lawrence Kahn issued a temporary restraining order to stop New York State from furloughing state workers, including CUNY faculty and staff. Their union, the Professional Staff Congress/CUNY, filed the motion arguing that the furloughs violated the New York State and US Constitutions.

PSC President Barbara Bowen called the illegal legislation “a fake solution to the deficit.”

Four public sector unions affected filed similar motions – the SUNY faculty union, UUP; CSEA; and PEF. “The members of all four unions achieved a victory today against the scapegoating of public employees and the undermining of the people we serve,” Bowen said. “The furlough legislation was never about closing the budget gap. Furloughs were expected to produce $250 million in savings for the State—yet the budget deficit is more than $9 billion. I hope the governor and the legislature will stop playing with people’s lives and get down to business. The only way to solve the budget problem is to accept the proposals for new revenue—closing corporate loopholes and restoring a fair tax system.”

Judge Kahn scheduled a hearing for May 26, when the court will hear arguments for a preliminary injunction against the furlough legislation.

“The callousness of the legislation couldn’t be more obvious: it came in the middle of final exams at CUNY—the worst possible time for students,” Bowen noted. “The governor and the legislature were willing to put students’ grades and graduation at risk, rather than adopt fair sources of revenue.”