CUNY And PSC Reach Tentative Agreement On Five-Year Contract That Increases Salaries For Full-Time Faculty, Adjuncts And Professional Staff And Supports Students’ Success

October 23, 2019

The Professional Staff Congress and The City University of New York have reached an historic agreement for the almost 30,000 full- and part-time faculty and professional staff at the nation’s largest urban public university.

The agreement provides wage gains for adjunct and full-time faculty, and further professionalizes the work of part-time faculty at CUNY. The accord restructures the workload of adjunct faculty to enable them to devote more time to working individually with students, as well as advising, holding office hours, and engaging in professional development and other activities that play a key role in students’ success.

The term of the new contract will be from December 1, 2017, through February 28, 2023, pending approval by the CUNY Board of Trustees and ratification by the union’s membership.

“This agreement reflects the University’s strong and unwavering commitment to its faculty, both full-time and part-time, and staff across our 25 colleges,” said Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez. “We are thankful to Governor Cuomo for his leadership and effort to get this done, as it will further strengthen our ability to compete for top-tier faculty to teach our students. Equally as important, all of our faculty will now devote more time to meeting with and advising students and engaging in professional development. This will be crucial to our efforts to increase graduation rates, enhance learning, and remain a premier university. We are also grateful for the support of Mayor de Blasio and thankful to PSC President Barbara Bowen and her team for committing the time and good-faith effort that were crucial to getting this historic agreement done.”

“The proposed agreement represents a turning-point in the history of CUNY’s treatment of contingent faculty. It is a principled and imaginative contract that constitutes a victory for every member of the union—and for CUNY students,” said President Barbara Bowen. “The pathbreaking salary increase for CUNY’s 12,000 adjunct faculty will be of national importance in higher education. The proposed contract also offers advances for full-time faculty, professional staff, graduate employees, department chairs and others. The proposed contract represents new public investment in CUNY and its students, and for that the members of the PSC are especially grateful. The agreement would not have been possible without the active support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, who was essential in securing its terms, particularly the increase for adjunct faculty. Mayor Bill de Blasio also deserves the thanks of the entire faculty and staff for his strong support. And the active engagement of Chancellor Matos Rodríguez was fundamental. I also thank the CUNY negotiators for their sustained efforts, the union’s own bargaining team for their commitment to the members, and the entire PSC membership for the organizing that gave us the power to win this hard-fought, transformative agreement.”

The five-year agreement increases salaries across the board by more than 10 percent, through annual increases of two percent. Starting pay for adjunct faculty will increase by 71 percent, paying $6,750 per course for adjuncts in the highest title and resulting in a new minimum of $5,500 for a three-credit course by the end of the contract – up from the current $3,222 minimum.

Other enhancements in the contract that will strengthen CUNY’s faculty and staff include additional equity raises for full-time College Laboratory Technicians, entry-level Higher Education Officer employees, Lecturers, and full-time CUNY Start and CUNY Language Immersion Program (CLIP) instructors. Chairpersons of academic departments will be provided with research funds to support their leadership as researchers and scholars. The existing contractual provision for discretionary pay differentials for professional staff will be strengthened with new funding and new timeframes; and important new provisions covering on-line teaching have been negotiated. The parties agreed to work together toward implementing a paid family leave program modeled on the New York State and City programs.

The agreement also expands financial support for graduate students who teach. Under a new initiative, CUNY will provide tuition support for sixth- and seventh-year graduate students who do not presently receive tuition support. CUNY and the PSC also agreed to set aside funds and work jointly to expand graduate employees’ access to health insurance.

Chancellor Matos Rodríguez and PSC President Barbara Bowen reached this agreement within six months of the chancellor’s assuming the helm of the university on May 1, 2019. The PSC agreement is the last labor agreement at CUNY still to be settled. If the proposed contract is approved and ratified, all of CUNY’s unionized workforce will be under a collective bargaining agreement.

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