CUNY Trustees Approve New Labor Contracts 

The Board of Trustees has unanimously approved collective bargaining agreements recommended by Chancellor James B. Milliken between The City University of New York and six unions representing almost all of the University’s tens of thousands of faculty and staff.

The Board approved the contracts with the largest unions, the Professional Staff Congress and District Council 37, at the Trustees’ regularly scheduled meeting June 27. The contracts each provide 10.41% in compounded wage increases including retroactive pay, in addition to bonuses and other benefits, and are subject to ratification this summer by the unions’ members. Contract agreements with other locals representing CUNY staff, including International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 237, Service Employees International Union Local 300 and the New York State Nurses Association, also were approved by the Trustees.

Chancellor Milliken & Chairman Thompson
At tonight’s Board meeting, new Board Chairperson William C. Thompson called the new contracts “the result of hard and focused work” by the Chancellor, CUNY staff, union leaders and the Governor’s office, and said the agreements provide “the stability that we need to move forward.”

Chancellor Milliken called the agreements “fair” and noted the unions had gone “far too long without contracts.” Noting that the labor negotiations were “difficult” and protracted, he thanked the unions’ leadership and senior CUNY staff for “remaining focused … to find common ground.”

CUNY announced agreement with DC 37, which represents 12,000 non-instructional staff, on June 10. Leaders for SEIU Local 300, Teamsters Local 237, the New York State Nurses Association, and IATSE Local 306 also reached agreement with CUNY under similar terms.

Announcing the June 16 settlement with the PSC, which represents 25,000 full-time and adjunct professors and lecturers, Higher Education Officers and other staff, Chancellor Milliken said: “Great faculty are at the heart of every great university, and CUNY is certainly no exception.

“I am grateful to Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio for their commitment to CUNY; we could not have concluded this agreement without their support,” the Chancellor said.  “This agreement provides a much-needed pay increase for the faculty and staff, but it also includes additional provisions important to CUNY’s competitiveness for talent at all levels,” he added.

The agreements replace contracts that expired more than six years ago. The CUNY-PSC pact covers Oct. 20, 2010 through Nov. 30, 2017 and followed the June 10 announcement of agreements between the University and DC 37, covering Nov. 1, 2009 through Jan. 31, 2017.

In other action, the Trustees approved the appointments of three Distinguished Professors, all effective Aug. 25, 2016.

Scott Burnham, appointed as  Distinguished Professor of Music at The Graduate Center, is “one of the world’s most influential musicologists” and “a sought-after public figure among music-loving communities,” the Board’s resolution said. Since 2009, Professor Burnham has served as the Scheide Professor of Music History at Princeton University. He earned his doctoral degree in Music Theory and Analysis from Brandeis University, and his Master’s degree in Music Composition from the Yale University School of Music.

William Helmreich was appointed Distinguished Professor of Sociology at The City College.  “Professor Helmreich’s influential works in the areas of race and ethnicity, religion, and urban sociology have made lasting contributions that have enriched the field of sociology as a whole,” the Trustees said. He has published 14 books that represent a diverse range of topics and methodologies including his latest and most far-ranging, The New York Nobody Knows: Walking 6,000 Miles in the City which received outstanding reviews from The Guardian and The New York Times among othersHe has been a Professor of Sociology at CCNY since 1973, has served on the Sociology Doctoral Faculty at The Graduate Center since 1978 and is a Permanent Senior Fellow in Urban Ethnography at Yale University. He earned doctoral and Master’s degrees in Sociology from Washington University, St. Louis.

Ben Lerner was appointed as Distinguished Professor of English at Brooklyn College. “Professor Lerner is a brilliant novelist, one of the most important poets of his time, and a superb literary critic who comments on art, aesthetics and culture,” said the Trustees resolution which noted his MacArthur Fellowship in 2015 and Guggenheim Fellowship in 2013-14. A prizewinning novelist, he is a Professor of English at Brooklyn College, which he joined as Associate Professor in 2010.  Lerner earned an M.F.A. in Creative Writing and a B.A. in Political Science at Brown University.

In other action, upon Chancellor Milliken’s recommendation, the Board postponed approving the University’s new 2016-2020 Master Plan in order to provide the seven new Trustees time to familiarize themselves with the document, which the state Board of Regents requires CUNY to file every four years.

Chairperson Thompson thanked the Chancellor for “pulling back for a few months” on the Master Plan “to give CUNY’s new Trustees “an opportunity to be able to go through this, to be able to engage in discussion…to vote intelligently.”

The City University of New York is the nation’s leading urban public university. Founded in New York City in 1847, the University comprises 24 institutions: 11 senior colleges, seven community colleges, the William E. Macaulay Honors College at CUNY, the CUNY Graduate School and University Center, the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, the CUNY School of Law, the CUNY School of Professional Studies and the CUNY School of Public Health. The University serves nearly 275,000 degree-credit students and 218,083 adult, continuing and professional education students. College Now, the University’s academic enrichment program, is offered at CUNY campuses and more than 300 high schools throughout the five boroughs of New York City. The University offers online baccalaureate and master’s degrees through the School of Professional Studies