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From the Chairs, 22 June 2021

Colleagues —    Despite the fact that summer is, and should be, annual leave for many of us, events affecting the college and our collective well-being don’t have the summer off.  We supply some details on matters of concern to you in what follows.

This Thursday — June 24th — CUNY Rising Alliance is holding a rally at City Hall at 2 PM. As you know, the Mayor proposed cuts of $67 million to the NYC budget for CUNY. The PSC and coalition partners in CUNY Rising will be there to push for full restorations and investment in city services, including CUNY, instead. We hope you will come out with us to support our students and community allies in support of funding for CUNY.  RSVP here: https://cunyrisingalliance.org/june24rally

The NY City Council Higher Education Committee is holding a hearing tomorrow, Wednesday the 23rd, starting at 10 AM. The topic is ‘Returning to CUNY Campuses in the Wake of COVID-19.’  Testifying for the PSC will be James Davis, Andrea Vasquez, Jean Grassman, Roxanne Shirazi, and Diane Price Banks.  If you have time, please log in to hear their testimony. Here is the link to join:  https://council.nyc.gov/#hearings (virtual room #2).

As many of you know, the Municipal Labor Committee, which conducts bargaining on some issues for a coalition of municipal labor unions, of which we in the PSC are part, has undertaken to cut costs of retiree health care plans.  They are, disastrously, considering a proposal to make the private plan Medicare Advantage, rather than Medicare, the plan for New York City retirees.  This would be a bad deal for retirees, since Medicare Advantage imposes many limitations on benefits; major providers — such as Memorial Sloan Kettering — do not accept the Medicare Advantage plan. This is an issue not only for current retirees, but for all of us who are retirees-in-training. PSC retirees have been prominent in the resistance.  Come demonstrate against the Medicare Advantage proposal next Wednesday, June 30th, at noon. Details here.  The rally begins on the steps of the National Museum of the American Indian by the Whitehall St./South Ferry and Bowling Green train stations.  After a brief rally there, the demonstration will make its way to City Hall, by way of cheering and jeering at unions that resisted or accepted this privatization plan.

Have you been called back to in-person work on campus?  The PSC chapter is pushing for a safe reopening, to establish the requisite COVID protections are in place.  But it is unclear which workspaces the administration is repopulating and when. Please tell us immediately if you have been told you must return to work: we’d like to know when and where.

John Jay Adjuncts — both teaching and non-teaching — have been organizing to express their expectations to management after several decisions in the last 14 months particularly hurt them.  They have created a survey, linked here, to support that effort.  Adjuncts: please fill it out, and make sure that other adjuncts you are in touch with know about it as well.   All adjuncts are welcome to the zoom meeting to finalize the letter Friday at noon.  Details below.

We are all unhappy about the failure of CUNY central to come across with our overdue 2% raises due November 15, 2020.  We can report only that PSC President James Davis told CUNY management that a rumored October or November pay date of all we are owed was “outrageous.” (Apparently one of the college presidents (not ours) suggested that timeline and attributed it to delays in getting the funds in to the state paycheck pipeline.)  We’ll tell you when we know anything definite.

In solidarity,

Zabby Hovey

John Pittman