Recent Victories

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Much of our power comes from a mobilized membership and close alliances with our affiliates, students and their communities. Through the agency of an organized membership, the PSC has in the past won key contract provisions (e.g. winning the first paid parental leave benefit for public employees in NY state -- see picture above). Similar -- and sometimes even bigger membership mobilizations and key alliances -- have secured victories beyond the contract. Over the past year the PSC has:

Past Victories

Over the years, the PSC has activated thousands of members in campaigns ranging in focus from contract to budget to workload to equity for adjuncts to parental leave – and more. Below is a gallery of photos and videos showcasing the breadth of PSC's work and the level of participation in our campaigns.

GrinchYouTube.jpgRF WORKERS SAY "FIGHT BACK!" Joined by the Grinch, Research Foundation field workers took their fight for a first contract to the RF headquarters at a pre-holiday rally on 12/22/10. The RF didn't express it's holiday spirit that day, but the workers succeeded in winning a first contract in the following semester. It went into effect on 6/1/11. Click the image to the left to see a video of the Grinch and the 12/22/10 rally.

Students at 5/28/10 graduation marching in the procession wearing stickers reading “Fund CUNY: Build Our Future,” The stickers were directed at the BCC commencement speaker, Governor David Paterson. This was part of year long budget campaign organized by the PSC and joined by students and many other allies.
BCcgrad protest052810.jpg
Success! The parental leave campaign mobilized thousands of supporters -- and won! Above: Parents and children who took advantage of the leave benefit at a celebration at the PSC Union Hall, 10/24/09.
In July 2009, the PSC and CUNY agreed that, effective with the Fall 2009 semester, teaching adjuncts across CUNY will be paid the same amount in the last week of the semester as they are for all the other weeks. Adjuncts, with support from full-time faculty and staff, mounted a PSC “Campaign of Outrage” targeting the five colleges that did not consistently follow this practice: Baruch, College of Staten Island, and Bronx, Kingsborough and Queensborough Community Colleges. As the campaign intensified near Thanksgiving, a "turkey" joined union activist Diane Menna to tell college presidents, "Don't be a turkey!" Above, campaign of outrage action at Baruch, Nov. 2007.
On Valentine’s Day 2008, PSC members on 13 campuses (including BCC above) protested the university’s failure to provide any paid parental or family leave. They gathered thousands of signatures on postcards to CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein. The postcards say “CUNY, stop breaking our hearts! Give us time with our families!” and call on the university to agree to the union’s bargaining demand for paid leave.
Contract rally in front of the 5th Avenue office of Board Chairman Benno Schmidt, April 19, 2005
More in This Section

CUNY Postpones Anti-Labor Bylaws Revision

After the PSC urged CUNY to delay voting on a set of sweeping changes to the university’s bylaws that have the potential to strip PSC members of important rights and undermine shared governance, the Board of Trustees removed the item from the agenda of its June 27 meeting. The union also objected to the administration’s misleading assertion that the changes are simply updates or ministerial corrections and takes issue with the timing of the vote.

CUNY Trustees Reversal: Tony Kushner to Receive Honorary Degree

At its monthly meeting on Monday, May 2nd, the CUNY Board of Trustees denied authorization to John Jay College to grant an honorary degree to Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Tony Kushner at its spring commencement. After a firestorm of protest, the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees, on Monday, May 9th, reversed the Board's initial decision and voted to grant Kushner an honorary degree.

Research Foundation Workers Ratify Contract

Congratulations and welcome to our newest PSC members—the CUNY Research Foundation workers at New York City Tech, LaGuardia Community College, and the Graduate Center. By a vote of 177 to 0, the RF workers voted to ratify their new contracts. The votes were counted and certified by the American Arbitration Association on Monday, May 23.

Kristofer Petersen-Overton Gets His Job Back

We are delighted to announce that Brooklyn College has reversed its decision and approved the hiring of Kristofer Petersen-Overton for the course in Middle East Politics for this spring. Congratulations to Mr. Petersen-Overton, who calmly stood his ground, and to the Brooklyn College Political Science Department, who stood with him, and to the hundreds of PSC members and scholars across the country who protested the violation of academic freedom.

$ 4 Million restored to CUNY Community Colleges

On January 6, the City Council restored $4 million to CUNY community colleges out of a $11.8 million mid-year cut proposed by Mayor Bloomberg. The bulk of the $4 million restoration will be directed to instruction.

Elections: Union Action Makes Difference in Key Races

Grassroots action by the PSC and other unions helped elect a number of pro-union, pro-CUNY candidates in a year when Republicans racked up electoral gains with calls for cuts in public spending.

HEO Overtime Victories

On July 19, 2007, an arbitrator ruled that the PSC contract bars CUNY from regularly scheduling employees in the Higher Education Officer series titles (HEOs) for more than 35 hours a week. The arbitrator also ruled that the contract allows CUNY to grant compensatory time off to HEOs.

Join the campaign to put teeth into enforcement of overtime agreements!Contact PSC Organizer Sarah Hughes at

PSC Successfully Blocks New and Inferior Pension Tier at CUNY

In December 2009, the PSC successfully blocked the imposition of an inferior pension tier (tier V) for new CUNY employees.

PSC Stops PHEEIA Plan to Privatize CUNY and SUNY.

The PSC won a major victory when the New York State Legislature finally passed a budget in early August that did not include the “Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act” (PHEEIA), a plan that the Governor and some key legislators tried to attach to the budget legislation. PHEEIA would have charged different tuition for different majors and replaced public funding for CUNY and SUNY with private tuition dollars.

PSC Court Action Stops Paterson's Furlough Plan

Albany, May 28. Today US District Judge Lawrence Kahn issued a preliminary injunction against Governor Paterson’s plan to furlough state workers, including CUNY faculty and staff. The Professional Staff Congress/CUNY, one of several unions opposing the plan in court, argued that the furloughs would violate the New York State and US Constitutions in a motion filed on May 11.

PSC and CUNY Settle Substitute Grievance

The PSC and CUNY entered into an important settlement agreement affecting the use of substitutes by the University that will end the abuse of the substitute title and establish new rights for PSC members who serve in substitute titles.

PSC and CUNY Settle Substitute Grievance

The PSC and CUNY entered into an important settlement agreement affecting the use of substitutes by the University that will end the abuse of the substitute title and establish new rights for PSC members who serve in substitute titles.

PSC-CUNY Awards Expanded

After prolonged negotiations, the PSC and CUNY management have reached agreement on changes to the PSC-CUNY Research Award Program, in a three-year pilot program that both sides greeted as a significant advance.

Dedicated Sick Leave Agreement--April 2010

The PSC and CUNY have negotiated a Dedicated Sick Leave program allowing eligible participants to donate and receive sick days in cases of serious injury or illness.