News

March To Honor the History of the Civil Rights Movement and Build Its Future

PSC members will join the “Selma is Everywhere” march across the Brooklyn Bridge this Sat. to mark the 50th anniversary of the first march for civil rights from Selma, Alabama, to the state’s capital of Montgomery. Sponsored by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, the event will memorialize the famous crossing of the Edmund Pettus Bridge and reaffirm our shared commitment to civil rights, racial equality and progressive reform. Marchers will gather at 10:30 AM, Sat., Mar. 7 on the Manhattan side of the Brooklyn Bridge. To find the PSC contingent, look for the white and red PSC signs and PSC Secretary Arthurine DeSola. (Email dbrill@pscmail.org to let us know you’ll be there.) A press conference at 11:00 AM will be followed by step-off for the march at 11:30 AM. Brooklyn Borough Hall is the destination of the march. When we get there, we will gather to watch President Barack Obama’s address to the nation from Selma.

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"We've kept our promises. Albany, it's time to keep yours."

The PSC is airing a radio ad in the Capital District and New York City urging Albany to honor CUNY’s legacy and keep its promises to students.

In a release announcing the ad buy, PSC President Barbara Bowen said, "New Yorkers need to know the State is in danger of breaking an important promise to students and their families. Albany can keep its promise this year and fix the broken promises of the past by providing the full funding to CUNY.”

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After a successful week of organizing during National Adjunct Action Week (click "read more" for photos), adjunct faculty are working with their PSC chapters to build adjunct power in the union and support the union's contract demands for job security and movement toward pay parity. To get involved in the contract campaign and the adjunct union membership drive, contact Sam Lewis (slewis@pscmail.org) or come to the next "first Friday" meeting of the committee for part-time instructional staff.

Know an adjunct who's not a member of the union? Send them the We Are CUNY Adjuncts Flier/Fact Sheet.

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A hardy group of PSC members and leaders attended the Monday evening CUNY Board meeting despite the forecasted blizzard to keep pressure for a fair economic offer on the CUNY Trustees. The members carried signs that said “Still No Offer” and “No Contract. No Peace.” While at the meeting, President Bowen delivered a letter reminding the Trustees that the union holds them responsible for authorizing a contract offer without delay.

“During the more than five years since our last raise, costs in New York City have soared, CUNY enrollment has grown, salaries at competing institutions have kept pace with inflation, and CUNY faculty and staff have been required to take on bigger workloads as initiatives by college presidents and CUNY administration proliferate,” said President Bowen in the letter. “We doubt that any of you would work at your positions for five years without a raise, and you clearly did not expect a chancellor to work at the pay rate of 2009. Why, then, should we?”

CUNY Responds. But Where's the Urgency?

Board of Trustees Chair Benno Schmidt responded to President Bowen's message with a letter stating that the Board shares the Chancellor's desire to complete negotiations for collective bargaining agreements with faculty and staff. He closes by urging the PSC to continue working with the CUNY administration through "appropriate channels." As long as there is no fair economic offer on the table, the union will continue to communicate the urgency of our demand using all available channels.

PSC members, help press our demand for a fair economic offer by taking part in the Virtual Mass Action this Monday, February 2. Watch your email Monday morning for instructions on how to participate.

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For the Spring 2015 semester, teaching adjuncts are scheduled to be paid on eight successive pay dates. At the senior colleges, the first pay date will be Feb. 19 and the last pay date will be May 28. At most community colleges, the first pay date will be Feb. 13 and the last pay date will be May 22. Kingsborough CC, LaGuardia CC and Guttman CC have different pay dates because they operate on a different academic calendar. The dates are posted here on the PSC website.

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Statement from PSC President Barbara Bowen on the Governor’s plan to link the NYS DREAM Act with the Education Tax Credit:

“A cheer went up among the CUNY faculty and staff when the Governor announced his support for the NYS Dream Act in the Executive Budget, but it was immediately tempered by the news that the Governor had linked the DREAM Act to the unjust use of public dollars for private schools. There is no logical reason to link the two - the DREAM Act should stand on its own and not be held hostage to a regressive proposal on tax credits.

The DREAMERs are our students. As college faculty and staff, we see daily their courage, their passion for education, their determination to open doors for the next generation that were closed to them. They are the kind of students we dream of.
Passing the NYS DREAM Act this session would be a victory for everyone. All New Yorkers win when all New Yorkers have a real chance for a college education."

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Last week, President Obama announced his "America's College Promise" initiative to provide community college education free to students who maintain 2.5 GPA. Under the plan, the federal government would pay three-quarters of the average cost of community college through the state, and the state would fund the rest of the cost. Students would have to go to school at least half-time and would continue to be eligible for full Pell grants and loans for other expenses (e.g. living expenses, room and board, transportation, etc.). In addition to the college GPA requirement, students would have to make progress toward graduation, certification or transfer to a 4-year baccalaureate program. The white house description of the program cites CUNY’s ASAP initiative (Accelerated Study in Associate Programs) was cited by the White House as an example of how this level of investment in community college students can dramatically improve student outcomes. Here are links to a NY Times article and an endorsement of the program from AFT president Randi Weingarten.

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The Moral Monday campaign, which has swept across the South and dared to demand that state budgets be moral documents, is coming to Albany this Monday, January 12. The focus of its initial Monday this year is public education. It is important that PSC members be there.

Many of us are not teaching in January, so this is the perfect chance to get on a bus to Albany and take a stand against the immorality of unequal education in New York State.

Please join teachers, parents, professors and education workers from across the state in a demonstration inside the Capitol at noon this Monday. Buses leave from different locations in the city in the early morning and are free of charge. Check here for the one nearest you.

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Dr. Arnold Cantor, executive director of the Professional Staff Congress/CUNY and one of its predecessor organizations for 25 years, died December 22, 2014. Long retired, Dr. Cantor was a resident of Stow, Ohio at the time of his passing. Colleagues posting condolences on the NY Times Obituary Guest Book remember Dr. Cantor as a staunch union man and an enormous influence on the development of the PSC into a major academic union.

“The PSC officers and staff mourn the passing of Dr. Arnold Cantor and offer our condolences to his friends and family,” said Steve London, PSC’s first vice president. Those who wish may contribute to the Dr. Arnold Cantor Memorial Fund, c/o The Cleveland Music School Settlement.

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The Professional Staff Congress/CUNY condemns the murder of Detectives Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos. During this period of mourning, we send our deepest sympathy to their families, friends and colleagues. Even though many classes are not in session, PSC colleagues have held moments of silence in their memory at several colleges.

The PSC will continue to work peacefully for a justice system that is fair to all and for a world no longer deformed by racism. Those are goals that can unite us all.

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