Professional Staff Congress | 61 Broadway, 15th Floor, NYC 10006 | 212-354-1252 |212-PSC-CUNY | firstname.lastname@example.org | AFT Local #2334
Saving Adjunct Health Insurance
Adjunct Health Insurance, through the Welfare Fund, is extended for 14 months
On Wednesday, April 24, 2013 PSC President Barbara Bowen wrote a letter to adjuncts informing them that:
Adjunct health insurance through the PSC-CUNY Welfare Fund has been extended for a year and two months—through June 30, 2014. An agreement between the PSC and CUNY on the 14-month extension was reached today [4/24/13], and was supported by a vote by the Welfare Fund Board of Trustees.
Bowen explained that:
I had hoped to be able to announce a permanent shift of adjunct health insurance to the City of New York, but agreement with the City has not been reached. Rather than ask you to live in uncertainty any longer, the PSC worked with CUNY to negotiate an extension of the current adjunct health insurance program through the Welfare Fund. We are grateful to the CUNY administration and to the Welfare Fund Trustees and staff.
"Coverage through the Welfare Fund is not a permanent solution," Bowen noted, "and the union will continue to work with CUNY on a long-term structural solution [placing adjuncts on a public plan]. Meanwhile, we have agreed on the extension."
Funds for Adjunct Health Insurance Included in the State Budget
After a budget season of intense advocacy from the PSC and our statewide affiliate, NYSUT, the Legislature passed a final State budget for fiscal year 2013 that fully funds CUNY’s mandatory cost increases, including funding for adjunct health insurance.
The PSC has begun negotiations with CUNY to determine how the benefit will be implemented.
Funds for Adjunct health Insurance Proposed in the Executive Budget
January 18, 2012
The PSC was heartened to see that the Governor’s proposed budget for Fiscal year 2013 (academic year 2012-2013) includes funding for adjunct health insurance, at CUNY’s request. Inclusion of the requested funds in the proposed budget is a major step in the process toward achieving permanent, equitable health insurance for CUNY adjuncts, and we thank the Executive Office. But the process is not yet complete. Now we must work with CUNY, the Legislature and the Governor’s office to ensure that the funding remains as part of the final budget.
About the Issue and the Campaign
Adjuncts teach more than half the courses at CUNY; the University depends on their labor. For ten years, CUNY resisted the union’s demands for a permanent source of adjunct health insurance. As CUNY expanded its reliance on adjuncts, it covered less and less of the total cost of their insurance. Now CUNY covers only 20 percent. Hundreds of adjuncts, including those who have taught at CUNY longest, stand to lose their health insurance unless the University resolves the problem this year.
On July 25, 2011 the Trustees of the Welfare Fund passed a resolution stating that unless sufficient funding or an alternative source of adjunct health insurance is made available by the end of August 2012, the current adjunct health insurance plan will be discontinued and a severely reduced benefit will be put in its place.
The union is leading the fight to preserve adjunct healthcare. We’re pressing CUNY to solve this problem once and for all. We believe we can win—but only if this becomes everyone’s fight.
There has been important movement on this issue -- but there is still a long way to go. On Monday, September 26th, CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein announced at the monthly Board of Trustees meeting that the University will seek funding for adjunct health insurance in its upcoming State budget request.
Goldstein made his announcement as 500 PSC members protested inside and outside the meeting which was held at the Baruch Vertical Campus.
"It's the first time CUNY has ever moved on adjunct healthcare," PSC President Barbara Bowen told a jubilant crowd afterward. Bowen cautioned that CUNY's request to the State is "only the first step" and "each step is going to be difficult." [Click here for coverage of the 9/26/11 rally and Goldstein's announcement.]
At a Board hearing on Monday, November 21, more than 20 part-time and full-time faculty and staff presented testimony demanding that CUNY follow through with their commitment to seek funding for adjunct health coverage. Another dozen submitted written testimony on the same subject. A week later, on November 28, at the stated November Board meeting, the B.O.T. formally made funding for adjunct health insurance part of its budget request to the state.
If you’re an adjunct potentially affected by this threat to your healthcare insurance, contact the PSC-CUNY Welfare Fund with questions about your coverage.
Read a message to all adjuncts from President Barbara Bowen and Vice President of Part-Time Personnel Marcia Newfield (8/15/11).
Read a message to all PSC members from President Barbara Bowen (8/17/11).