March 1, 2005 | News from the Chancellor
Dear Members of The City University Community:
I am writing to you regarding the status of our collective bargaining negotiations about which I briefed the Board of Trustees at its meeting last evening. As you know, the University recently negotiated a tentative agreement that covers virtually all of our classified civil service employees. This agreement was reached after intensive negotiations between the parties and after consultation, as required by law, with the Governor’s Office of Employee Relations and the New York City Office of Labor Relations. A summary of the economic terms of the agreement, which represents a hybrid of the State and City bargaining patterns, has already been posted on the CUNY Portal and sent to you via e-mail. In sum, it provides an increase of more than 8.5% over the term of the contract. Negotiations with two other unions representing a small number of classified staff employees are ongoing.
The University continues to bargain with the Professional Staff Congress/CUNY for a successor agreement to the one that expired on October 31, 2002. These negotiations, which began in May 2003, have intensified recently and progress has been made on some issues. To move the process forward, the University has proposed to the PSC that each side identify a small number of priority issues and defer the others to another round of bargaining. It remains to be seen whether this suggestion will generate momentum.
On the economic side, as previously noted, the University is bound by law to consult with both the City and the State when developing the economic parameters of any settlement. That consultative process is influenced by the patterns established by both government entities. The PSC has put forward an economic proposal that significantly exceeds the patterns established by both the City and the State. In December 2004, the University made an opening economic offer, which it made very clear to the union was an initial offer. The intent was to signal a willingness to engage in an exchange of counterproposals through which we could narrow the gap between us and reach an agreement. The union has declined to offer a counterproposal, insisting on its original economic demand. The University remains open to an exchange of economic counterproposals. The University will continue to bargain in good faith with the PSC. We are eager to achieve a fair agreement with the union, one that recognizes both the needs of our instructional staff and the economic realities within which the University must operate. I have had extensive discussions with State and City officials to strongly emphasize the importance of an appropriate recognition of our dedicated faculty and staff through the collective bargaining process. We would like this process to move as quickly as possible toward a speedy resolution. I ask for your continued support as we work with the PSC to reach an agreement.