Update on Collective Bargaining

February 27, 2006 | News from the Chancellor

I would like to update you on the February 16 negotiation session with the PSC, which was attended by representatives of the Governor’s Office of Employee Relations and the City’s Office of Labor Relations. At that session, the University presented an enhanced offer to the PSC, which addressed the three areas that the PSC articulated as its primary goals in this round of bargaining (salary increases, additional contributions to the Welfare Fund, and specific enhancements to working conditions). The University’s offer, valued at 12.28% (over $108 million), represents the limit of what the State and City authorized. The offer included the following:

  • Salary increases: Three across-the-board salary increases of 2.5%, 2.75%, and 3% for all titles, an $800 rate increase for all full-time instructional staff, a $500 rate increase for tenured faculty, tenured CLTs, Lecturers with CCE, and HEOs with 13.3.b. appointments, and an additional 0.93% increase for teaching and non-teaching adjunct titles. Under this proposal, at the end of the contract, the maximum salary for tenured professors and higher education officers with a 13.3.b appointment would exceed $102,000 annually. Moreover, the contractual provision of annual step increments, which cost the University an additional 1.4% ($12.3 million) annually, would continue. By virtue of these step increases, eligible faculty and staff will receive annual salary improvements beyond those reflected in the University’s economic offer.
  • PSC/CUNY Welfare Fund: Up to $30 million in cash for the Welfare Fund’s depleted reserves and a $500 per capita increase in the University’s annual contribution on behalf of each eligible active and retired employee (i.e., additional annual recurring funds in excess of $7 million).
  • Terms and Conditions: Among other enhancements were the following:
    • An additional 12 hours of reassigned time for newly-hired, untenured faculty, thereby increasing the amount of available reassigned time to 24 hours
    • A two classroom contact hour reduction in teaching workload at New York City College of Technology
    • An added week to library reassignment leaves
    • An agreement that would give faculty counselors hired after 9/1/98 the equivalent of the teaching faculty annual leave period
    • An increase of the minimum hourly rate to $32.50 for continuing education teachers in the CUNY Language Immersion Program
    • Extension of the previously negotiated 12 hours of reassigned time to newly-hired untenured counselors and librarians in faculty titles

The PSC rejected this offer and presented a counterproposal. The counterproposal included a demand that the City reconsider its valuation of the contribution to the Welfare Fund and also a demand that the $500 rate increase for tenured faculty and other permanent instructional staff be redirected to support proposals to benefit adjuncts. In addition, the counterproposal included a demand for enhanced sabbatical pay that would increase the cost of the economic package by more than $10 million over what the State and the City authorized, even though the State and City officials clearly stated that there could be no financial enhancements beyond the value of the package presented by the University. While the University would be open to a proposal by the PSC to make adjustments within the 12.28% offer to accommodate the PSC’s sabbatical demand, no additional funds are available.

Further, the PSC indicated that it would not agree to support legislation to change the tenure clock from five to seven years for newly-hired, untenured faculty, unless the University agreed to its sabbatical demand. The PSC’s position in this regard jeopardizes the structure of the University’s offer in that the tenure reform generated a full 1.5% of the economic package, which is to be used to support salary increases for faculty and staff. The PSC’s rejection of the tenure reform is difficult to understand since it would enhance salaries without impact on any current employee. If the PSC refuses to agree to support legislation to effect the tenure change, the University’s offer will necessarily be diminished by 1.5% because the City embraced the tenure change as the overriding reform, which it valued at 1.5% ($13 million), to enhance the University’s economic offer.

Despite what you may have heard from the PSC, the “draft conceptual framework” can in no way be construed to have been an agreement. Indeed, during the discussions that led to the “draft conceptual framework,” the University’s representatives cautioned the PSC that the items that ultimately became part of the “draft conceptual framework” could not even be considered a tentative agreement and that individual components of the framework might meet with opposition. The University worked assiduously with the State and the City and the offer that was presented to the PSC (and rejected by it) on February 16 reflected the framework that had been discussed with the PSC. It begins with the CUNY pattern and enhances the economic offer through an extension, reforms and productivity measures. Only one productivity measure, the additional office hour, that was included in the “draft conceptual framework” was not reflected in the University’s February 16 offer.

The University has bargained in good faith not only because we have a legal obligation to do so, but also because we believe that the University’s faculty and staff have waited too long for enhancements that a new contract will bring. We have worked tirelessly, at the highest levels, to enhance the package that we could offer to the PSC within the State and City collective bargaining environment and available funding. The University has listened carefully to the needs that the PSC has expressed and has presented an offer that reflects those needs. Please be assured that the University will continue to bargain in good faith until an agreement is reached.