With CUNY facing a half-billion dollar cut in State funding, the city’s most active community groups, civil rights organizations, labor unions and faith-based groups are mobilizing to save their university. They have formed the CUNY Rising Alliance to demand investments in CUNY students, faculty and staff. The Alliance groups will launch their campaign with a mass rally, march and meeting on Thurs., Mar. 10. The action will begin at 5 PM with a rally outside Gov. Cuomo’s Manhattan office (633 Third Ave., between 40th and 41st).
April 1 Message From President Bowen
Dear PSC Member,
Until early evening yesterday, the PSC was receiving word from legislators in Albany that the final State budget would include at least some funding for retroactive pay for our contract. That the Legislature was prepared to move toward fairness for us and for CUNY was the result of the extraordinary campaign the PSC waged this year. When the final agreement with Governor Cuomo was reached, however, all funding for our back-pay was eliminated.
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.”
Sign the Petition. And Share It!
The City University of New York has seen a dramatic growth in enrollment over the last decade, as more low- and moderate-income New Yorkers rely on CUNY for a top-quality education they can afford. CUNY is a lifeline for working-class New Yorkers and people of color; three-quarters of CUNY undergraduates are Latino, Black or Asian. But Governor Cuomo has refused to restore the 14% of State funding that CUNY has lost since the 2008 recession. Instead, he has kept per-student funding essentially flat and failed to invest in support for the faculty and staff. Cuomo promised that higher tuition would allow CUNY to “add faculty, reduce class size, expand program offerings, and improve academic performance,” but instead it has gone to fill the state funding gap. Tell Governor Cuomo that austerity for CUNY hurts all of New York. Now is the time to invest in CUNY and its faculty and staff.
Pledge your commitment to vote "yes" on strike authorization. Please consider this pledge carefully and add your name. Give the union the power we need. By signing, you pledge that you will vote "yes"--and indicate that you are prepared, if necessary, to join a strike or other job action. As the list of names grows, we will make the names public. The more signatures we gather, the stronger our message will be: the PSC means what we say when we refuse to accept substandard pay and conditions at CUNY.
It is perfectly legal for the union to take a strike authorization vote and for you to pledge that you will vote "yes." While the union might easily get a strong "yes" vote if we were to hold the vote today, the PSC is committed to conducting the vote in a way that allows for maximum democratic participation, thoughtful decision-making, and the development of the solidarity a decision to strike would require. That process takes time. Already hundreds of member-to-member conversations about the strike authorization vote have begun. The vote will be conducted early in the spring semester, after all the colleges have resumed classes in early March.
It took five years, multiple protests, the announcement of a strike authorization vote, and a sit-in to get the CUNY Administration to move, but they finally put an offer on the table at Wednesday's bargaining session-as PSC members assembled for a demonstration on the street below and prepared to risk arrest. Collective action works.
But we must keep the pressure on. The proposal CUNY management made on Wednesday falls far short of what is needed to pay us decently for the important work we do. It also fails to provide the investment needed to protect high-quality education at CUNY. Our last raise was in October 2009, and our contract expired in 2010. Here is Chancellor Milliken's economic proposal:
All full-time and part-time faculty and staff eligible for the NYC Health Benefits Program are eligible to transfer their health benefits and/or enroll during the month of October.
A Message From PSC President Barbara Bowen
This Thursday, October 1, the PSC and allies from across the city will be delivering a wake-up call to Chancellor Milliken. Why? Because Milliken needs to wake up to the urgency we are experiencing after six years without a raise. We are taking the message to where he lives in order to make the need for a new contract as real to Milliken as it is to us. Will you be with us? Click here to say yes.
Milliken accepted the position of chancellor and the big salary and apartment that go with it. He is ultimately responsible for putting money on the table for our contract. It’s true that he has spoken up in Albany and made efforts to resolve the issue of State funding. Making an effort is good, but it is not enough. We need results.
As chancellor, Milliken has not offered the vision or strategy needed to resolve the difficult political situation in Albany he inherited. He has not effectively challenged the economic austerity agenda for CUNY.
Pensions probably don’t top the list of concerns for most newly-hired CUNY faculty and staff. Yet within 30 days of their start date, new full-time CUNY employees must choose between two radically different pension plans. The decision is irrevocable, and making a wise choice requires careful consideration of several factors.
Download This New Publication
Defend and Expand the Social Safety Net: A Call to Action
The PSC Safety Net Working Group has published an updated edition of Defend and Expand the Social Safety Net: A Call to Action. (Download a digital copy. Hard copies will soon be available at the PSC office.) The committee is hosting workshops across NY State for trade unionists, educators, community groups, seniors and social justice advocates. The booklet is part of a toolkit used in the workshops, which aim to help local activists widen advocacy in their own communities. Learn more about the Safety Net Working Group.