Contract Update--July 8, 2019
PSC President Barbara Bowen
Dear PSC Colleague:
I hope your summer is going well. I am writing to update you on contract negotiations. PSC negotiations are complex, so there was no way to make this a short email. Thank you for reading it.
Where do negotiations stand?
We do not yet have a new contract, but progress is being made and negotiations have become much more productive since late spring. I am hopeful that we will have an agreement by the beginning of the fall semester.
The PSC leadership saw an opportunity to push for an agreement in June as New York City budget negotiations coincided with the end of the State legislative session and the first months in office of a new chancellor. The momentum the union created in the spring continues to energize contract talks. Chancellor Matos Rodríguez has shown responsiveness to the hundreds of letters he received from PSC members on his first day in office and the exuberant presence of union activists at CUNY graduations this spring.
What is holding up negotiations?
The major challenge in this round of bargaining is that the PSC is determined to achieve salary and benefit increases for everyone while at the same time achieving a historic gain in adjunct pay. That is a huge task in a political system dominated by "pattern bargaining" and economic austerity. Both Albany and City Hall restrict all public-employee unions to the same inflation-level increases ("the pattern"), allowing few resources to remedy longstanding issues of wage justice, equity and competitive salaries. The PSC is campaigning against that austerity logic.
While many of us have been encouraged by breakthroughs on progressive legislation in Albany this year, the progressive wave has not yet shifted Albany's approach to the budget. Fiscal austerity prevails. The PSC is working in coalition to change that.