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NEA Affiliates In Action

Organizing

Barbara Bowen, president of the Professional Staff Congress, the New York State United Teachers (AFT/NEA) affiliate representing full and part-time faculty and staff at the City University of New York, addresses CUNY faculty, staff, and students demonstrating outside New York governor David Paterson's New York City office in December. They were protesting cuts in state funding and proposed tuition increases.

The Professional Staff Congress (representing faculty and staff at the City University of New York) and the United University Professions (representing faculty and staff at the State University of New York), both affiliates of the New York State United Teachers, NEA/AFT, have rejected cuts sought by Governor David Paterson and called for full support for the state’s higher education institutions.

To draw attention to their demands, faculty, staff, and students of the City University of New York delivered 50,000 postcards from supporters to the governor’s office on December 16. “The governor needs to hear what his constituents are saying: ‘Don’t cut our way out of this recession,’ ” said PSC First Vice President Steven London.

Professional Staff Congress President Barbara Bowen noted, “There is an alternative, and we’re here to demand that Albany adopt it. New York would have $17 billion in increased revenue this year alone if it simply restored the tax cuts enacted between 1994 and 2005.”


Contracts

United Faculty of Florida (UFF) members at Broward College in Fort Lauderdale have finally settled their 2007—08 contract, after impasse procedures and filings of unfair labor practice claims by both the union and the employer.

In the end, the Florida Public Employees Relations Commission sided with the United Faculty of Florida, supporting almost all of UFF’s claims and ordering the college to finalize and sign a contract. The contract was ratified by both sides in early December.

...UFF members at Hillsborough Community College in Tampa have also ratified a new contract that provides a 3 percent salary increase—considered a fair settlement given the current budget crisis.

...Finally, UFF members at the University of South Florida in Tampa agreed to a contract reopener providing faculty raises of at least 2 percent, plus another 1.4 percent in a salary pool, paid parental leave, an increase in paid sabbaticals, and improvements to the promotion procedures for instructors.


Campus Activities

A report recently released by the California Faculty Association reveals that California, once a national leader in education and economic prosperity, has slipped into “educational and economic mediocrity.”

The report, California at the Edge of a Cliff: The Failure to Invest in Public Higher Education is Crushing the Economy and Crippling Our Kids’ Future, criticizes plans to slash public higher education funding.

“Those of us who spend our time in the classroom and on campus know full well what millions of dollars in budget cuts mean,” said California Faculty Association President Lillian Taiz.

“Fewer kids are going to be admitted to schools, and fewer kids are going to be qualified for the jobs that today’s economy has to offer. “

To help address the problem, CFA helped introduce a California Assembly Resolution that calls for a national recommitment to public higher education. The resolution argues for increased federal aid in the form of grants, as well as student loan forgiveness in exchange for public service.

“Our plan challenges decision-makers to devote 10 percent of what they are spending on the banks to our college-aged kids and to the American people who need retraining for 21st century jobs,” said Taiz.

The Greater New York City Alliance of Unions in Higher Education has passed a series of resolutions in response to the current financial crisis, calling for adherence to existing contractual obligations, greater financial transparency, protection of faculty and students from draconian measures, and the trimming of bloated administrative bureaucracies.

The Alliance—faculty unions from the Brooklyn and C.W. Post campuses of Long Island University, Hofstra University, Pratt Institute, Cooper Union, New York University, the New School, St. John’s University, the City University of New York, the State University of New York at New Paltz, and COCAL, a coalition of non-tenure track faculty groups—affirmed that “academic freedom and economic security for all faculty are necessary for the success of academic institutions.”

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Published In

6-Feb-09


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