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Strike Authorization Vote begins today!

Vote YES for Strike Authorization

More than 5,000 PSC members have already pledged publicly to vote YES .

Join them and vote YES today! The vote will be conducted from Monday, May 2, at 12 noon through Wednesday, May 11, at midnight (voting instructions).

I voted

It’s as simple as this: every YES vote adds to the union’s power to fight for you. As we enter what we hope will be the final stage of negotiations, Albany, City Hall and CUNY management will be watching the vote closely to assess the union’s strength. The more YES votes we have, the greater our power.

Watch your email for a message later today from the American Arbitration Association with the secure PIN code you will need in order to vote; you can click on the link in the email message and vote online immediately. Or click here for detailed instructions on how to cast your secret ballot by phone or mail.

Whether or not you pledged in advance to vote YES, what matters is your YES vote now. Many more than the 5,000 PSC members listed have notified us that they plan to vote YES; the list includes just those who were prepared to make their names public in advance. If you believe that your name should be on the list and you do not see it there, please send a message to Deirdre Brill ( at the PSC.

Remember, it is perfectly legal to support strike authorization, and the vote is being conducted by secret ballot.

Strike Authorization Vote

Balloting Information Here

The PSC Strike Authorization Vote will be conducted from Monday, May 2, at 12 noon through Wednesday, May 11, at midnight (for Internet and telephone voting). The vote will be administered by the American Arbitration Association (AAA) in accordance with the terms of the PSC Constitution. Members can vote by Internet, by telephone or by mail.

Those who are members in good standing for four months are eligible to vote, so those who were PSC members as of January 2, 2016, and continue to be employed by CUNY are eligible to vote (per Article III, Section 5 of the PSC Constitution). Retirees not currently employed by CUNY are not eligible to vote; neither are Research Foundation employees.

Voting instructions (for all modes of voting) and a mail ballot, as well as an individualized PIN number to use when voting by Internet or by phone, will be mailed by AAA to all eligible voters for delivery by May 2. That same day, AAA will also send an email blast to all members containing their PIN.

Help Available
If the PSC does not have your updated mailing address or email address, please contact the PSC Membership Department as soon as possible at 212-354-1252.

Eligible members who for unforeseen reasons have not received a ballot in the mail by May 2 should call the PSC in order to receive a duplicate PIN for Internet or telephone voting.

The mail ballots will be counted on the morning of May 12, and the results will be announced later that day.

Limited space for observers will be available. Those interested may contact Barbara Gabriel,

Strike Authorization Vote May 2-11

A message from President Bowen:

Dear PSC Member,
Here is the union’s plan for reaching an acceptable contract settlement:

  • During the next six weeks, the PSC expects to be in intensive contract negotiations with CUNY management, with the assistance of the mediator assigned as a result of the impasse declaration. Our aim is to reach an agreement that can be presented to Governor Cuomo and the Legislature before the end of the legislative session in mid-June, with the expectation that it will be fully funded. On March 31 Governor Cuomo’s budget director said publicly that funding for the PSC would be addressed when a contract agreement is reached.
  • At the same time, the union will continue to build the leverage we need—and become prepared for further action if necessary—by holding the strike authorization vote. The vote will be held from May 2 through May 11, with results announced on May 12.
  • Because we are serious about reaching an agreement through negotiations within the current legislative session, the union leadership will not initiate any strike or job action before the end of the academic year or during the summer. If we do get the strong “yes” vote on strike authorization we expect and if we subsequently decide that a strike or job action is necessary, the action will take place no earlier than in the fall.

I am writing now to ask you to give the union bargaining team the strongest possible support as we enter into what we hope will be the final stage of negotiations. You can do that by joining the thousands of union members who have publicly pledged tovote “yes” to authorize a decision to initiate a strike. We will publish the names of those who have pledged a “yes” vote before the voting begins on May 2. Make sure your name is there by signing up here! (No need to sign if you have done so already—we’ve got you.)

Think about what just happened at California State University. The faculty union held a strike authorization vote last fall, and 94% of voters said “yes.” The unionthen announced that a five-day strike would take place across the huge Cal State system in April. On April 7, less than a week before the strike was scheduled to begin, the university administration met the union’s key demand for a higher salary increase.

Political conditions and the legal environment in California are different from ours in New York, but a strong strike authorization vote and the organizing that goes with it could give us similar power. The PSC leadership is committed to achieving a fair contract without a strike, but we cannot stop organizing—that is the lesson of Cal State.

Our organizing this year has already given us power. Since last December, PSC members have sent 14,000 messages to Albany. We have held 156 meetings with legislators, and another 104 jointly with students. We have demonstrated at Milliken’s apartment, at CUNY headquarters, on our campuses and at the Governor’s office. We have organized nearly 100 faculty, staff and students in civil disobedience protests. We have joined an alliance with community, labor and student groups, and we have listened as 50 CUNY writers read against austerity. Throughout, we have gained enormous public and media support, including as recently as yesterday, when the PSC was cited for its militancy in The Nation.

The result is that our contract, even though it was not funded as part of the State budget, was recognized by Albany as an issue that must be addressed. The PSC leadership hopes to build on that recognition and bring the negotiation process to completion within the next two months. We will work with CUNY negotiators and with allies and legislators to achieve that goal. While we cannot promise that we will achieve all we want, we will be strategic and unrelenting in pursuit of a funded contract settlement.

Do your part! Vote “yes” on strike authorization between May 2 and May 11, and watch for messages about continuing pressure on Albany. You will soon receive full information about how to cast your ballot electronically, by phone or by mail.

This is a big fight; that’s why it is so hard. We are demanding more investment in public higher education when the trend is to educate on the cheap. We are demanding economic justice—for our students as well as ourselves—in a time of crushing economic inequality. I believe we are in a position to win.

In solidarity,
Barbara Bowen
President, PSC

CUNY’s unacceptable offer

The proposal CUNY management made on Wednesday falls far short of what is needed to pay us decently for the important work we do. It also fails to provide the investment needed to protect high-quality education at CUNY. Our last raise was in October 2009, and our contract expired in 2010. Here is Chancellor Milliken’s economic proposal: 2010: 0%, 2011:0%, 2012: 0%, 2013: 0%, 2014: 1% (on April 20), 2015: 1% (on April 20), 2016: 3% (on April 20), 1% (on October 19)

The total, before compounding, is 6% over 6 years. That means a salary “increase” below the level of inflation-in other words, a salary cut. Read President Bowen’s message.

Planned Strike Authorization Vote

A strike authorization vote—even though it is not a vote to strike—is a significant escalation of our campaign, and we want to ensure that you have ample time to prepare for it. There will be several months of preparation before the vote is taken. The union’s mass meeting on November 19 will offer an opportunity to discuss and plan for the vote. If you want to be part of preparing for the vote, let us know here.Read more.


Demands for the new contract were approved at a November 4, 2010 Delegate Assembly meeting. The full text of the demands, and coverage of the DA, are available here as a special supplement of the December 2010 Clarion.