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November 13th Chapter Meeting Notes

Notes from GC Chapter Meeting – 11/13/17

12:40: Approve agenda

Bill Herbert made announcement about the National Higher Education Collective Bargaining Conference happening on April 15-17, 2018 at the CUNY Graduate Center.

Resolution Against the Proposed Plan to Implement an ‘Excellency Fee’ for Masters’ Students.

  • Presented by Doctoral Student Council
  • President Chase Robinson and Provost Joy Connolly have proposed to increase $100/credit for Masters’ student after the Board of Trustees already voted to increase tuition up to $200/yr.
  • Would apply to all Masters’ Students
  • Argument for solidarity. We should support students who we will need to support us in our contract campaign.
  • Robinson and Connolly are some of the highest paid Admins in CUNY but Masters’ students used to balance budget at GC
  • Amendment- Additional resolve. Resolve that the GC Chapter of the PSC push CUNY management to fully fund GC as solution rather than make Masters’ students pay.
  • Amendment and Resolution passed

Presentation of bargaining demands

  • We are about to launch a contract campaign. Union did a union-wide survey that fed into demands and will help us in bargaining.
  • It took us a long time to get the previous contract, but we built power and are ready for next fight
  • Members want a quicker settlement this time around
  • Cross-title solidarity. We need to fight for each other’s demands.
  • We all need to own the $7k demand. Will be a big budget demand.
  • Open and broaden up participation
  • Janus- need to recommit to union
  • 6 themes- make real gains in salary, achievable breakthrough in adjunct salary, decrease contingency and dependence on online courses, protect members with unions under attack, address needs for equity, consolidate gains of last contract

Review of HEO, Adjunct, and librarian demands from contract 

  • 7K – How do you get 7K? University of Chicago Illinois- Full-time faculty went out on strike for 7K for adjuncts. Victory for all.
  • Library faculty asking for more leave because of weak implementation from last contract. Annual leave rather than a research leave you have to apply for. Gains were supposed to come with additional line for each campus- Cost-ed but not budgeted so no one got additional line so workforce increase for those that are still working.
  • NTAs fighting for same health benefits as adjuncts

Discussion on contract

  • GA demands. How many demands from the GA survey made it into the demands?
    • Top vote getting was $7K for adjuncts (in bargaining agenda).
    • Extend tuition remission for PhD students beyond 5 years. (in bargaining agenda).
    • Way for part-time faculty to become full-time faculty and for GAs to get lecturer lines at CUNY (not directly addressed in bargaining agenda. Job security second to 7K in bargaining demands).
    • Two-tier between fully funded and partially funded PhD students (not directly addressed in bargaining agenda).  Need universal funding. Revive labor-management committee already in contract to figure out funding for GC.
    • Caps on class sizes explicitly dropped.
  • In general in CUNY history, how long does it take to settle contract? How prioritize what push and what give up in demands?
    • In past have taken 3-5 years. Last year was the longest. Retroactive pay each time.
    • City pattern is 2%
    • Length of the contract is not decided in advance. Has to be negotiated and is strategic/ timing before recessions
    • Prioritizing happens first among members (committees) and also questions of how many huge economic demands put forth at the same time (currently 7K)
    • Bargaining committee brings it to EC and then goes to delegates and then to members
    • Largest financial demand is 7K and 5% salary increases. Faculty and HEO are more than Adjuncts so the salary increase is more than 7K demand.
    • Boss, CUNY management, is supposed to find money for raises, not the union. But CUNY management already defeated and says we won’t get money and so we need to get it from within like raising Masters’ fees.
    • Raise for adjuncts need to be reflected for NTAs. NTAs have health benefit issue. Need to work max number of hours to get health benefits. Many work those hours but irregularly and so CUNY denies the health benefits. Contract demands this is regularized over year.

NYSHIP students have is limited compared to full-time and state

  • Does not pay for take-home medical equipment. Student plan only covers 15 visits a year.

Organizing to get contract demands

  • Our contract ends on Nov 30th. There is a plan on doing events at different campuses- GC, Brooklyn College, and Hunter College
    • Meeting November 14 in 6107 at the GC from 12:30-2pm to plan action at the GC
    • Nov 30th rally will be around GC specific concerns.
    • Wear a button
  • Rank-and-file picket organized in September that brought out over 100 members. Not PSC central endorsed. We need to keep mobilizing as rank-and-filers
  • Dec 4 will be city-wide PSC demonstration. Starts at GC at 4:30pm and march to Baruch shortly after 5pm.
    • Committee of Adjuncts and Part-timers- make sure 7K is prominent in demand.  
      • Phone bank Friday, Nov 17th at PSC union from 4-6pm: 61 Broadway: and Monday Nov 20th from 4-6pm. Phone bank to turn out people to Dec 4 event.
    • GC PSC chapter will table week before Dec 4 to get people signed up
  • Is PSC central allocating money to campuses?
    • GC endorsed a resolution brought to DA to allocate NTA money for on the ground organizing. One-on-one organizing.
    • DA did not vote on this. Voted to referring it back to the EC and see if it will be implemented. Vote for referring it back was almost unanimous.
    • Vast majority of our chapter budget goes to sandwiches at meetings. Get a couple of thousand more if don’t get sandwiches.
  • We are not starting from square one right now. Rank-and-filers have been organizing through summer and in the fall. We need to keep organizing locally and without depending on PSC central to give us orders each time.

Labor-Management Demands

  • Out of pocket expenses for events
  • Continue discussion of options for two extra years of GA renewal beyond current five
  • Revising admission and yearly financial aid award letters to reflect actual allocations and work requirements
  • Science Fellows issues review
  • Follow-up on Social Welfare Doctoral Program
  • Administrative staffing of new departments/programs

What else?

  • Equal funding for all PhD students. Stop two-tier funding.
  • More parity in GA teaching placements. Need to also address it in departments. Varies from department to department. Assigned to campuses and once at campuses out of hands of department. Negotiation happens between GC EOs and Department EOs. Good labor-management demand that admin here take accountability for students. EOs are part of PSC so also PSC issue.

Marisa Holmes

  • Hunter graduate. Worked for 4-years at CUNY TV. University public access station.
  • Layoffs happened at CUNY TV without discussing it with either union- DC37 and PSC. Workers were successful in seize and desist going into affect.
  • CUNY TV then implemented hours cut. Two different lines doing same job so that CUNY can avoid paying benefits for some workers. Workers fought against split-title issue and successfully got settlement for 57 people.
  • A New Director got hired who used to work at Fox. Evaluate, interrogate.
  • Then there was a crack down and organizers were targeted. Workers were reassigned and demoted. There are 2 retaliation claims at the moment.
  • Marisa received notice that told her she no longer had her job. Not sure if fired or let go. Now environment of fear at CUNY TV.
  • DC37 and PSC have been holding rallies. Raise awareness.
  • Next hearing is Feb 14 for retaliation claim.

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