This Week in the PSC (12.18.19): Contract Approved by Board of Trustees | Fix CUNY

PSC-CUNY Contract Approved by Board of Trustees

The CUNY Board of Trustees voted to approve the collective bargaining agreement between the PSC and the University at a meeting held Monday night at Baruch College. The approval process is now complete. The union’s bargaining team and Contract Enforcement department will be monitoring the implementation of the contract. PSC leaders have already begun pushing the CUNY administration and City and State officials to pay the retroactive salary increases and begin paying members at their new salary rates as soon as possible. CUNY management has not yet announced dates. (Read the FAQ on the timing of the raises.)

Fix CUNY

PSC President Barbara Bowen and Treasurer Sharon Persinger testified before the NYS Senate Higher Education Committee Monday at a hearing focused on the capital needs of SUNY and CUNY. (Their testimony begins at the 48:40 timestamp of this video.) Enrollment at CUNY has increased 40 percent since 2000, but college facilities have not been expanded and improved to adequately accommodate CUNY’s enlarged student body. Maintenance of many of CUNY’s 300 buildings has also been long deferred. CUNY’s five-year Capital Budget Request calls for $4.5 billion in State funding (see page 23 of the University Budget Request).

President Barbara Bowen testified in support of the five-year plan and focused on the need for critical maintenance citing examples from Brooklyn College and Hunter College. “Lack of investment in critical maintenance sends a material message to our students that New York doesn’t care about their education,” she said. “It actively undermines the project of teaching and learning at CUNY.”

Treasurer Sharon Persinger described in painful detail the degraded conditions at her campus, Bronx Community College, and urged the Legislature to fix CUNY. “We need funding for basic heating system maintenance, for equipment upgrades that are required, and for the staff to see that those systems run correctly.”

CUNY student leaders delivered moving testimony about the state of their campuses and showed the Senators dozens of photos of crumbling facilities (time stamp 1:30:00).

Calling for Increased City & State Funding, Not Tuition Hikes

PSC Treasurer Sharon Persinger called for a more ambitious approach to City and State funding for CUNY that doesn’t depend on tuition hikes during a press conference organized by the University Student Senate. The press conference was held Monday at Baruch College before the CUNY Board of Trustees convened a meeting to approve the University Budget Request for academic year 2020-2021. CUNY is requesting an additional $277.4 million for CUNY operations next year, but proposes to fund a large portion of the increase with a $200 per year tuition hike and a $120 “Health and Wellness” fee.

In her statement at the press conference, Sharon Persinger said, “It’s time for Albany and City Hall to fully fund CUNY’s ability to transform individual lives and lift communities out of poverty. . . . CUNY students need many more counselors and advisers and more full-time faculty, not higher tuition and fees. The adjunct faculty who teach the majority of the courses at CUNY need higher pay and better working conditions. Increased public funding is the way to fund these investments.”

Meet with State Lawmakers about CUNY Funding
Sign Up for Lobby Days in February and March

The PSC’s campaign for a major increase in public funding for CUNY will include chances for members to take action online, on campus, in the community, at City Hall, and in Albany. Three lobby days in Albany are already scheduled and dozens of members have signed up. We need you there too; the first registration deadline is coming soon.

• Monday, February 3 and Tuesday, February 4. Register by Friday, January 4 for NYSUT’s statewide Higher Education Lobby Day.
• Thursday, February 27: coalition action by CUNY and SUNY faculty, staff and students
• March 2-3: NYSUT Committee of 100 Lobby Day.

Transportation, food and hotel costs will be covered. Click here to register and for more information.

Support Divestment from Fossil Fuels

The union’s Delegate Assembly passed a resolution in early 2019 in support of divesting public pensions and other retirement savings from fossil fuels. Divestment is a way to help protect our planet and our retirement savings. PSC members can help press the CUNY administration and the managers of CUNY employees’ retirement funds to take action. Visit the PSC’s Divest CUNY webpage to sign one of two petitions for CUNY workers with their retirement funds invested in either the Teachers Retirement System or TIAA.