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March 1st EC Meeting Minutes

Minutes from chapter’s Executive Committee Meeting – 3/1/2018

  • Debrief on other recent chapter events, leadership changes & next steps – 15 min
    • Travis: Evenings don’t work for events – gendered violence had a low turn out, similar for the chapter meeting. Lunch meetings four times the size.
      • Maya: pushback was from Grad students was that lunchtime wasn’t good
      • Sam: there were new grad student faces, but downtick in HEOs
      • Anh: expected a large turn out for gendered violence, really tiny. Atmosphere of chapter meeting was slightly odd.
      • Ruth: 90% was announcements, needed more interaction, need to keep them short
      • Sam: it seemed like a flat menu of options, maybe need to emphasize certain campaigns/issues (e.g. GA grievances)
      • Anh: Previous meetings were more structured, didn’t have an agenda with timings for this one, which  detracted from the flow of it. Will be taken into consideration.
    • Upcoming leadership changes: filled alt delegate positions, and chair is leaving (at 5th year of GC funding)
      • Luke: How to best structure upcoming shifts? Who has years of funding left?
      • Maya: Have to find people earlier on. 1st years tend to fall off in the 2nd year with the uptick in teaching responsibilities. 2nd year might be the best.
      • Anh: Should look out for people who might be potential leaders
      • Luke: Should aim to recruit your own replacement
  • Strategies for other campuses – 25 min
    • Focus on SPS
    • How do we “break in” to MacCaulay? JSchool? SPH?
      • Anh: MacCaulay – dealing with a grievance with someone who is interested in organizing, only HEOs have managed to organize (almost all HEOs on that campus).
    • Could prioritize SPH? Met a potential organizer at the chapter meeting. What do meetings there look like?
      • Sam: there is a delegate there, used to be multiple campuses (Jean, Frank). Meetings mostly full time faculty. Don’t know student make-up. Mainly adjuncts, not well organized.
    • Luke: SPS started labor management meetings there, could get one person to get it started at SPH
    • Travis: Could bring Susan to SPH to give a model for the adjuncts? Highlight what works, give tactics
    • Marc: Frank and Jean and new person should request a labor management meeting and make them the delegation, figure out their agenda
    • Luke: could do both – adjunct and full-time would be combined by doing both.
    • Sam: Accidentally cancelled full time health insurance when they merged, seem to be multiple potential issues
    • Anh: what should be the first step at SPH? Pre-labor management meeting to figure out common issues. Needs to be a bridge between adjunct and general.
      • Chloe: Time of meeting to get most of the adjuncts? Lots of them are in the field? Need a schedule of classes
      • Maya: general meeting but tailored for timing of adjuncts
      • Sam: meeting with breakouts
      • Anh: set up labor management meeting at SPH going through Frank, with week ahead of time doing a general meeting with breakouts
      • Unclear whether the part timers know the presence of the union
      • Marc: should e-mail intro Frank and Jean to the new GA interested in union
      • Luke: Frank is away this semester
      • Ruth: Shouldn’t start with a crummy labor meeting, should be worthwhile from the start, can be a turn off to new visitors
      • Sam: schedule labor management after the meeting
      • Chloe: staff are aware of things that the students are not, might not get the language of come to a labor management meeting, should think about how to advertise
      • Maya: Start basic and then do break outs, GAs and adjuncts one group and staff in another to tailor the conversation
      • Chloe: can do cross title solidarity here because there’s been organizing in each, not necessarily going to work at SPH – GAs/adjuncts might not have figured out their needs yet
      • Anh: Start with contact and go from there
    • Sam: MacCaulay GAs there, lots are fee payers
      • Chloe: Some members show up in department lists here
      • Sam: Probably don’t need a meeting here
      • Chloe: is there one location?
        • Gerry: Mainly on one campus, students aren’t usually there though, usually at satellite locations
      • Maya: difficult to find the GAs at MacCaulay
        • Chloe: Point of MacCaulay is to only offer full time faculty, not sure of how it’s structured, will discuss with MacCaulay students and GAs to figure it out
      • Sam and Andrea: There are HEOs who are part of GC chapter, but who work all around
      • Anh: HEOs already organizing fairly well at MacCaualay
    • Table SPS until Susan can be here
    • What’s the take on JSchool?
      • Sam: Only a HEO meeting there last semester, no adjunct
      • Andrea: invited everyone, one adjunct came, rest were HEOs, few months ago
      • Maya: most adjuncts work part time, so won’t come to a meeting, need to try to find them
      • Ruth: Are full timers signed up?
      • Sam: Still fee payers in the full timers
        • Andrea: Many said they were journalists and so they couldn’t join
      • Anh: So JSchool requires a walk around strategy and SPH a meeting strategy
    • Maya: In addition to other campuses, some Phd programs are at other schools (Business and Criminal Justice, John Jay), haven’t made an effort to sign up GAs
      • Gerry: Criminal Justice prob more GAs than Business
      • Sam: around 20 in Business, all fee payers, but Criminal Justice is potentially sympathetic
  • Membership work – 30 min
    • GC Total: 1688 Members.  2434 Total. 69% Membership.
      • FT Faculty: 221 Members. 289 Total. 76% Membership.
      • HEO: 322 Members. 347 Total. 93% Membership.
      • GA: 862 Members. 1221 Total. 71% Membership.
      • Adjunct: 152 Members. 367 Total. 41% Membership.  
      • NTA + Other Part time: 124 Members. 210 Total. 59% Membership.
    • Review union density by departments, titles, campuses & identify trouble areas
    • Set priorities & a plan for reaching the remaining fee payers
    • Gerry: Need to focus on adjuncts (41%), when we say adjuncts what does that mean? Grad students? Hired from other schools?
    • Sam: 360 mostly SPS but also SVH and Journalism. SPS mostly online and difficult to recruit
    • Luke: 152 members, at least 100 of fee payers are SPS online fee payers and they are just difficult to convince, and also phone numbers are often wrong/missing.
    • Gerry: Full time and GAs should then be the priority? How was the GC walkaround
      • Luke: It was great, Chloe and I found lots of people. Fee payer full time faculty in cluster of 5th floor called ITS, theoretical physicists. One signed union cards and can find others later. Lots of money spent on unmarked offices.
      • Sam: full time is very low
      • Ruth: But a lot were fake when I reached out – people who had already moved on, number might look worse than it is
      • Andrea: should do more mapping in the building, call APOs to figure out when scientists etc are around
      • Sam: Going to get data for new people and cleaned up department info by next Wednesday
      • Luke: found schedules of Math and Ed Psych full time faculty
        • Ruth: I’m happy to try them
      • Maya: Sam and I went to APOs and found GA fee payers, left cards and contact info
    • Marc: ASRC – Pam at City College has found contractual violations for post-docs in ASRC – teaching without pay/tiny pay off the books. Why is ASRC ours? Give to City College? An organizing issue: people in that building teach CCNY undergrads
      • Gerry: Because GC wants to be able to say that that new lab space is for GC PhD students
        • Marc: But PSC doesn’t have to organize how the GC does
          • Gerry: What do you say to science fellows then? They work at the ASRC
      • Ruth: This is Chase’s pet project, should look into it
        • Andrea: Wasn’t initially under the GC, then it went under GC and got new science faculty lines. There is a strong grievance councilor at CCNY
        • Ruth: Are there GAs who teach up there?
      • Maya: Difficult to access that ASRC building.
      • Sam: In our chapter because payroll changed to GC, just this semester.
      • Marc: can revisit this next month?
      • Luke: can get someone who is up there to organize
    • Anh: Beyond signing up fee payers, the walkarounds should be listening tours where we hear issues and also activate people around the building. Effective to do this in pairs. Should we make this regular? One day a week?
      • Gerry: Yes and different days
      • Luke: Agreed. And APO conversations where they wanted the contract to get moving. Should make this regular. Could leave large visualizations of percentages in the lobby and show increases to create a sense of urgency.
      • Isaac: And days without a contract count
        • Anh: use bulletin board by cafeteria
        • Andrea: Have to be careful in conversations with new members, spoke to a HEO who was very suspicious and had a bad first impression
        • Anh and Gerry and Marc: volunteer to work on Bulletin board
      • Anh: How to regularize walkarounds?
        • Gerry: HEO walkarounds can mainly be about issues at the GC
        • Travis: should be planned around events/activities that we can then suggest to them, e.g. GAs before the March 9th meeting, HEOs to understand promotion issues
        • Isaac: Yes, went around with Harry and spoke to PhD students to recruit for the March 9th meeting as well as recommitment cards, can identify potential new activists. Could channel stewards towards it.
        • Maya: can break stewards out of department mold, to focus on the larger GC picture
        • Anh: can create pairs who then go out
        • Maya: could be one hour, not always two
        • Isaac: timing? Find timings or select dates? It was nice to have a fixed lunch. Can see what works.
        • Anh: Secret Santa pairing for the walkarounds
  • Review L-M items & requests from chapter meeting – 10 min
    • Marc: governance plans for the MA programs
    • “Trespassing” issue of someone who got fired and has been escorted off campus repeatedly
    • Master’s tuition increase issue
      • Gerry: MA students are not in the chapter and way to get MA people on board – MA tuition increase has been sold as money will go back to the programs, budget increases
      • Travis: rejection of fees unanimously passed
    • GAs assigned to MacCaulay, John Jay and Business, ask about that?
      • Sam: Yes, say that we have FOILed for data, but just want list of name of grad students and their programs.
    • Luke: WAC grievance – depends on how this progresses, might/not be on agenda.
    • Marc: Uneven workloads across campuses, success with Hunter issue, not beyond that. Should this be raised? Will look if there’s a concrete thing and decide.
    • Isaac: Chapter meeting discussion of labor management meeting as part of week of action
      • Travis: no one volunteered to actually head this up
      • Isaac: invite more chapter members to labor management meeting? People liked the idea, will further plan
        • Roxanne: Qs of who is allowed to go?
        • Marc: It’s a pedestrian list of issues though, maybe too dry to begin with
        • Luke: Maybe should save this idea until the issues are more exciting
        • Sam: Better used for the WAC grievance?
        • Isaac: People were still enthused about it
        • Anh: Will raise issues on Sunday. Might happen with support.
        • Luke: Should do it for one acute well-organized issue, e.g. WAC

February 28th Chapter Meeting Notes

Notes from GC Chapter Meeting – 2/28/18

  • Announcements
    • Tati presented a brief history of International Women’s Strike & mobilized us to attend on March 8th
      • West Virginia striking teachers paving the way forward despite no-strike laws
      • One-hour work stoppage starting at 4:00 + march stopping by various key locations
    • Lynne informed us of two-tiered funding for doctoral students & mobilized us to attend meeting to organize around this on March 6th
    • Conor updated us on the adjunct & Free CUNY organizing which has involved solidarity across CUNY organizations, including the union, student’s groups, Free CUNY
      • Another issue that requires organizing is the GC’s efforts to de-democratize governance over Masters programs and raise tuition & fees for Masters students
    • Marisa updated us about being fired from CUNY TV in retaliation for her union organizing efforts there, without a disciplinary process
      • Currently, we are waiting for the PERB hearing scheduled in April
      • CUNY, HR & CUNY TV have postponed the hearing date several times
      • We should organize a street action or flyering the GC in early April
    • West Virginia teachers settled just yesterday which won them a raise as well as 3% raises for the rest of West Virginia’s public sector workers
    • Columbia Grad Workers unionized but Columbia admin (illegally) refuses to recognized their union
      • Organizing strike authorization vote to force the admin to bargain with them
    • Jane updated us on UK university defending their pension → can we do statement of solidarity?
      • Take a solidarity picture
    • Demali announced MA emergency town hall to organize against the fee increase for incoming MALS students
      • Chase has tried to drive a wedge between MA from PhD students in the past by saying the DSC only advocates for the latter
    • Marc reported back from his lobbying efforts with the PSC in Albany, where they distributed literature on $7,000/course for adjuncts & PSC members from across titles advocated for adjunct equity
  • Chapter elections for 2 vacant alt-delegate positions: Anh nominated Roxanne Shirazi & Lynne Turner; there were no other nominations via email or at the chapter meeting → members present at the chapter meeting voted unanimously in favor
  • Items for Labor Management
    • Justice for Marisa Holmes: Marisa should be able to enter GC without being escorted out for trespassing; ask President Robinson to take a stance to pressure CUNY Central to not back out of the upcoming PERB hearing
    • Governance plan for MA programs is being de-democratized
    • Check in on our FoiL request to get demographics of students who receive full funding, those who don’t, and what the outcomes are
    • Get a line-item budget for the GC
    • Uneven workloads across campuses, currently with no contractual solutions
      • Members should come to share their stories
    • MALS tuition/fee increases
  • Adjunct visibility week (March 12-16) → we need to figure out what to do at the GC!
    • Cross-campus planning going on to mobilize for BoT Public Hearing on 3/12
    • Labor management meeting will launch off March 12 → mobilize a contingent of people
      1. Get a long list of sign-ups of people to come holding signs advocating for their various issues
    • Social media blitz → get a photo booth set up for adjunct story-telling on Instagram or take a picture with a hand-written signs
      1. Maggie, Jane
    • Speak-out at GC to kick off the entire week, marching to labor management meeting
    • Undergrads are organizing around next BoT on 3/12 → should show up to help them
    • Fill out “course evaluation” for Chase → how to make this go beyond symbolic?
    • Should each day have a different theme like the #BLM week of action?  
    • Button-up for the entire week
    • Grad students teach 7,700 courses w/ enrollment of 200,000 CUNY students every year
    • Phone & email blitz to GC President & Provost focused on a different theme each day
  • We all took a solidarity picture to send to striking teachers in the UK

March 12th Labor-Management Meeting Notes

Marc’s notes from the Graduate Center’s Labor-Management Meeting – 3/12/18

In attendance from Management: Chase Robinson (GC President), Jane Herbert (President’s Chief of Staff), Lynette Phillips (GC Labor Designee)

In attendance from Labor: Luke Elliott-Negri (Chapter Chair), Marc Kagan (Delegate), William Novello (Master’s Student)

  1. Follow-up on master’s tuition increases; effects on GC budget
  • On behalf of master’s students, William Novello made a statement (see below). A number of master’s and Ph.D. students stood behind him in solidarity.
  • Chase Robinson responded: the term “Excellency Fee” was not his doing, but CUNY’s. The revised fee is different, as a result of earlier protests: no current students are affected, specific programs were allowed to opt in or out, with the additional money staying in that program. Robinson noted the continued paring of the GC’s budget. Many campuses have fees above tuition – GC is one of the last and smallest.
  • Some discussion followed on the opt in/opt out procedure. Were specific programs targeted? Robinson denied this. Might specific programs, which have to run very lean as a result of budget decisions, feel a necessity to accept the fee? Robinson suggested talking to DSC members on the Budget Committee.
  • (At this point, Novello and master’s supporters left the room.)
  1. Proposal for a Graduate Center “Lobby Day” in Albany
  • Since the general premise of the fee is that the GC is not properly funded, vigorous discussion ensued about methods to win more money in Albany: either specific earmarks for the GC or more money for CUNY as a whole, which, premised on the type of research work that the GC produces, would result in allocations for the GC. Robinson noted that in talks with legislators they are familiar with the generalized CUNY ideas (diversity, access, social mobility) but are unaware of the GC and its world-class research and faculty. Our task, then, is to get them to think of the GC more like SUNY’s “University Centers.” We suggested sending up delegations – not just Robinson, but some of our high-powered faculty, and eloquent students. Steve Breyer and Luke will be working on this with Robinson – anyone else?
  1. Governance plans for new master’s programs
  • In the past two years, six new master’s programs have been, or are being, established. Prompted by our experiences at SPS, we wanted to make sure that Governance in these programs would follow the current GC model. Robinson assured us that they were all following the protocols laid out in Section 3.1 of the GC Governance documents, which ultimately calls for a committee composed of faculty and students to design program governance. He suggested that we get in touch with the Committee on Structures. Gerry Martini and Marc will follow-up, again, along with anyone else who is interested.
  1. Marissa Holmes “trespassing” issue
  • On one or more occasions, Marissa Holmes, a DC37 member who worked at CUNY-TV (which is not part of the GC, but is housed in our building), who is contesting her firing by CUNY, has been removed from the building. Robinson’s response was that she is being treated as any other member of the general public would be treated – she can sign in and move around the building. His position was, though, that no member of the general public (as opposed to workers or students) is allowed to leaflet in the building.
  1. Information on GAs by actual department
  • Resolved and provided.
  1. Follow-up on revising admission and yearly financial aid award letters and Banner financial aid page to reflect actual allocations and work requirements
  • Anh Tran drafted the template of the “ideal” financial aid letter, which they gave to the DSC to deliver to the Provost. The Provost’s office got back saying they were taking most of our changes but not all because they want the rest of the info to be on CUNY First.
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