Two More Weeks to Ensure a Safe Return

Updated: August 3, 2021
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Colleagues,

After weeks of advocacy and public pressure from PSC members, particularly the Health & Safety Watchdogs and local chapters, CUNY management has announced plans to push back the August 2 return to work target to August 16.

The walkthrough agreement and strong protocols negotiated by the PSC and management put us in a position to win this additional time. By following the science, insisting on the walkthrough provisions we negotiated, and increasing the pressure on the presidents we have moved the university to a more sensible position.

When the PSC principal officers and Watchdog co-chair Jean Grassman met last week with university management, we raised many of the questions and concerns PSC members have raised. We let them know that pursuing an inflexible, across-the-board reopening target of August 2 was unfeasible and unwise, especially given the delays at various campuses in scheduling pre-occupancy walkthroughs with union reps.

Chapter chairs and walkthrough committees have been doing an amazing job under pressure, as have the Watchdog committee chairs and PSC organizing staff. More than 200 of our union colleagues have been trained to conduct walkthroughs. (Sign up for training.) Seventy-five PSC members have joined the Safe Return Flying Squad, which bolstered a Hostos Community College chapter rally last week and is poised to respond if a college administration fails to promptly address health and safety threats. (Join the Flying Squad.) Now we have two additional weeks to examine workspaces, and colleges have additional time to address issues requiring remediation.

Let's keep up the good work during this reprieve and continue to ensure that anyone who does report back to work prior to the new August 16 target has a safe workplace. Our collective work in the PSC made this happen.

We remain in active dialogue with CUNY about related matters, including guidelines on vaccination, testing, mask-wearing, and distancing. We will be in touch again soon.

In solidarity,

James Davis, President
Andrea Vásquez, First Vice President
Felicia Wharton, Treasurer
Penny Lewis, Secretary