Category Archives: From the Chairs

Messages from the chapter chairs to the chapter members

Chair changes, and Alternate Delegates elections

Dear John Jay Chapter,  [from Zabby Hovey]

I must tell you that John Pittman resigned on Monday, June 2 as my Co-Chair (and the John Jay Chapter’s nominal Chair), but I am happy to report that this was his thoughtful treatment of a sabbatical year which will start imminently.   John continues to serve on two union-wide committees, but will not be chair or co-chair for the last year or our slate’s 3-year term.

       On Thursday, the PSC Elections Committee recognized me, then the nominal Vice Chair, as the acting Chapter Chair and recognized that the chapter had a new vacancy at Vice Chair.   On Friday your chapter Executive Committee* voted by acclamation to elect Nivedita Majumdar as Vice Chair.   The Executive Committee proceeded to direct us, as we also desired, to serve as co-chairs, sharing power and responsibility equally as we serve this chapter throughout the coming year.
       For those of you who are not aware, before Nivedita served the whole union as the PSC Secretary for several years, she and John Pittman originated the co-chair approach to chapter leadership.  When the PSC Elections Committee meets this week, we expect it will certify Nivedita’s election to Vice-Chair, acting as chapter Co-Chair.  Of course, I am pleased to again share chair responsibilities with someone with proven dedication to our chapter and union.

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New contract bargaining

Dear Colleagues —   Hopefully you’ve had a chance to catch a breath during the ‘spring break’ week; may the sprint to the ‘finish line,’ through the last three weeks of classes begin!  Once this semester ends, only the regular Fall ’22 semester stands between us here, now, and the end of our current PSC-CUNY contract, which ends on the last day of February, 2023.
You might think, ‘well, that’s still a ways off!’ but time has a way of catching up with folks.  So we need to start thinking and planning for the bargaining for and winning a good new contract NOW.  What should the PSC’s priorities be?  What are the most important needs and demands for each of the many job categories covered by a PSC-CUNY contract: Faculty, both full-time and part-time; HEOs (Higher Education Officers); CLTs (College Laboratory Technicians); NTAs (Non-teaching Adjuncts), …?  Our strength will come from understanding.
We invite you to come to a conversation, sponsored by our chapter’s Campus Action Team, about what the key issues are that you would like to see addressed in the next contract. Come one, come all, and join the conversation!   Apr 27, 2022 01:30 PM, via Zoom.  Please see your email for the Zoom information.
John Pittman & Zabby Hovey, co-chairs

Two events coming up this week are worth your participation

Colleagues:    Two events coming up this week are worth your participation:
  • A hybrid (virtual AND live-action) rally on Monday during the Board of Trustees meeting @ Baruch, and
  • A virtual Zoom meeting of the John Jay Chapter on Thursday (during common hour) — see details & register below.
1. Our union contract expires in 18 months. By Spring 2023 the PSC aims to have enough power and capacity to win major new public investment in CUNY, pass the New Deal for CUNY, and settle a great new contract.
The Strategic Action Plan to achieve our goals will require active listening and communications about members’ needs. It will mean organizing structures that reach into every department and office, growing our membership and ranks of activists, and increasing our ability to exert power for members in the workplace and in Albany and City Hall. We’ll try to seize every available opportunity—and create new ones when possible.
The PSC and the CUNY Rising Alliance have already helped to create an opportunity. Critical parts of the New Deal for CUNY are supported in the $416 million University Budget Request for next year, including 1,075 new full-time faculty lines, opportunities for full-time conversion appointments for adjuncts, and additional full-time mental health counselors. And all of it would be funded without increasing tuition. It’s the most ambitious request we’ve seen from CUNY in years, a strong start for a campaign to remake our university and fund a great contract.
The Board of Trustees will vote on the budget request during their 4:30 PM Monday, October 25th virtual meeting. When they do, our union will be watching with 500 or more members on the virtual rally and 75 or more at the in-person demonstration. We need you with us as we demand that the Board approve the request and urge Governor Hochul and the presumptive Mayor, Eric Adams, to fully fund it.
The campaign for a great new contract and a New Deal for CUNY is in motion. Be part of the movement.
2. The John Jay Chapter of the PSC will host a meeting on zoom beginning at 1:40 on Thursday, October 28th. Please register in advance:
You are invited to a Zoom meeting.
When: Oct 28, 2021 01:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Register in advance for this meeting:
See you soon!
John & Zabby

Upcoming deadline to avoid classroom crowding and other updates

Colleagues —    Provost Li has acknowledged the CDC guidelines at last by giving faculty the chance to request a larger room in the event of crowding, AND to go on line if a larger classroom is not available. The deadline for applying is 5 pm on Thursday afternoon. Here is the link for that request.

On our website, you will find the report our health & safety watchdogs have forwarded to the administration, following our 3rd walkthrough.  Li’s modified policies, and cleanliness and responsiveness to our concerns that we have directly experienced help ease the greatest of our concerns, but as you will see we have a number of issues and we have not yet received any direct communication about our original punch list.

The PSC has demanded, CUNY-wide, a testing interval of 72 hours to confirm the safety of non-vaccinated entrants to campuses. The science says 72 hours is protective, not 168 hours, as CUNY is content with.  Non-teaching faculty and staff are still obliged to be on campus half of the time amid all who are allowed on campus, despite the inadequate testing interval.  Additionally, we seek the surveillance testing that CUNY management and its testing vendor promised weeks ago.  Since vaccinated people can, it turns out, spread the virus, and the surveillance tests themselves are not onerous, we want this to protect everyone and help put this pandemic behind us.

We want to know if there are concerns that have surfaced on campus.  Here is a link to our new reporting form .

Provost Li has acknowledged the wisdom of the policy that we and the department chairs have been arguing for since early August — that faculty should be able to go online with their classes temporarily, given that the Chancellor has set us up for a situation on campus of mixed vax’ed in-person populations. The Provost’s offer is only for classes which still have unvaccinated students.

Finally, we have scheduled two PSC meetings for September. Our Chapter meeting will be on zoom on Tuesday, September 21st, during common hour, 1:40-2:55 pm.  A link will be forthcoming.  Also, the Adjunct Organizing Committee will meet from 1:30 to 2:30 on Thursday September 9th.  Adjuncts, please watch your inboxes for communications from its co-chairs Jonathan Epstein and Corinna Mullins.

in solidarity,

Zabby Hovey & John Pittman,   John Jay PSC Chapter co-chairs