Pressing for accountability from lawmakers can begin in your own neighborhood. One union member shares how she organized a packed community meeting where attendees voiced their support for progressive causes to their state senator, Jose Peralta, who recently joined the Independent Democratic Conference, which has enabled Republican control of the state senate.
PSC members under the age of 65: Congressional gunslingers have painted a bullseye on your prospective retirement and safety net benefits.
Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act and other safety net programs are in the crosshairs of the 115th Congress. Given the louder and louder drumbeat of cutbacks and privatization, we are urging members – in service and retiree – to become 15-minute activists by making phone calls to their representatives in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.
Council Member Dan Garodnick will host an informational session on the StuyTown Lottery Monday, February 27, 6:30-8:30pm at Simon Baruch Middle School, 104 Auditorium, 330 E. 21st St.
A small number of 1 and 2-bedroom apartments are expected to become available at below-market rents at Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village. Located on the east side of Manhattan, below 23rd Street, this housing complex of over 11,000 apartments was recently taken over by a division of Blackstone Group. Download a flier.
In an arrangement negotiated with the deBlasio administration as part of the takeover, 40% of the apartments are to be offered at below-market rents as they become vacant. The management company expects the rent-stabilized rents for apartments that become vacant this year to be about $2800/month for a one-bedroom unit and $3400/month for a 2-bedroom unit.
The management company is running a lottery to create lists of interested potential tenants. There are minimum and maximum household income requirements for eligibility.
PSC members are invited to register for the lottery by clicking on the lottery webpage here and submitting the requested information between Monday February 6 and Friday March 10. Those who register are assigned random numbers. After March 10th, a certain number of random numbers will be drawn and will be placed on a list for income verification and for eligibility to be offered a lease as apartments of the desired size become available. The lottery will not be held until the end of the registration period; there is no advantage to registering early. You must be in a position to sign a lease within 90 days of the offer. You will be notified if your number is not drawn and you are not placed on a list.
With the election of Donald Trump as president and Republican majorities in both the House and Senate, we are entering a period of existential crisis for unions and our organized power. The coming months and years are going to call for a spirit of maximum solidarity.
PSC member Saira Rafiee granted re-entry to U.S.
Saira Rafiee, the PSC member and CUNY doctoral student who was denied entry into the U.S. as a result of President Trump's atrocious executive order banning legal immigrants from seven countries, has been granted re-entry to the United States. Ms. Rafiee landed Saturday in Boston.
CUNY student activists, lawyers from CUNY's Citizenship Now! program, family members and others were at Logan Airport to greet her. That Saira was able to return is thanks to a huge collective effort-together with her own political courage and vision. Even while the outcome of her own case was uncertain, Saira insisted that she be seen as one among many; she called on us to elevate the cases of people without unions and with less access to public voice.
Union support matters. Hundreds of PSC members responded to the union's call for messages urging action on Saira's case, helping to focus public attention on her case. (Click here for a sample of media coverage on PSC and student actions last week.) PSC officers sought advice from the extraordinary immigration lawyers who work at CUNY, and enlisted the support of Senator Schumer, the American Federation of Teachers, Mayor de Blasio, and several other Congressional and local representatives. All deserve our thanks.
Praises Strong Support of Public Higher Education and Universal Pre-K
The Professional Staff Congress (PSC) announced today its endorsement Mayor Bill de Blasio for re-election. The union is backing de Blasio because of his progressive track record over the last four years, particularly his strong support of public higher education.
PSC President Barbara Bowen said: “Mayor de Blasio came into office promising to fight for universal pre-K, expand the paid sick leave law to cover thousands more workers, and raise the minimum wage for all City employees and contractors. He did that. He has also, with less public attention, increased funding for the City University of New York. And in the weeks since the election of Donald Trump, he has reaffirmed New York’s status as a sanctuary city. As CUNY faculty and staff, we understand the vital role public higher education plays in combating income inequality, and we know that increased City funding for CUNY is making a difference. We also understand the urgency of asserting a progressive agenda at this political moment. There is still more to be done, and we will work with Mayor de Blasio to advance a progressive agenda for New York.”
With the Presidential campaign barely over we must now turn our attention to the City elections in the fall of 2017. The outcome of the national elections makes local races even more important today than in the past. On January 26, the PSC Delegate Assembly will debate and vote on a proposed endorsement of the incumbent Mayor of NYC, Bill de Blasio. The legislative committee of the PSC voted overwhelmingly to endorse him, and the Executive Committee recommended endorsement by a significant margin. This democratic process will conclude with a DA debate and vote on January 26.
Dear PSC members,
We have confirmed dates! In our meetings and phone calls with CUNY's Office of Human Resources Management, we continued to stress PSC members' anger at the length of time it has taken for the hard-won pay increases to actually show up in their paychecks. We insisted that the timetable announced in the first update must be made firm, and now it has been. We are assured by CUNY, New York State, and New York City that our retroactive pay back to 4/20/2012 will be paid in the second paycheck of January 2017, on January 19, 2017 at the senior colleges and on January 27, 2017 at the community colleges. In addition, faculty and professional staff who are on biweekly payroll on those dates will receive the biweekly pay reflecting salary increases through 4/20/2016.
For more details on the salary increases, back pay, tax-deferred retirement savings plans and reappointment letters, read the rest of this message. For even more information, you can follow this link to CUNY's "Frequently Asked Questions" on salary increases and retroactive pay, posted at the website of CUNY's Office of Human Resources Management.
CUNY faculty, professional staff and retirees will soon receive a letter from the PSC-CUNY Welfare Fund announcing a significant enhancement of benefits. This became possible with an infusion of new money from the contract and the movement of adjunct healthcare out of the fund to the city plan
There are three areas of expanded benefits:
--Dental: Guardian DentalGuard Preferred Network
--Vision: PSC-CUNY Welfare Fund Davis Vision Premier Collection
--Hearing: HearUSA Network
A summary of benefit enhancements is available on the website of the PSC-CUNY Welfare Fund -- or you can click "read more" below
Chapter Officers, Delegates and Alternates to the PSC Delegate Assembly and PSC-CUNY Welfare Fund Advisory Council
Deadline for filling the Candidate Declaration form will be January 6, 2017.