Union says CUNY bowed to pressure for employees to work remotely

Barbara Bowen, president of the Professional Staff Congress at the City University of New York (PSC/CUNY), says the CUNY chancellor and chairman have acquiesced to the union demand that they permit employees to work remotely amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The union represents 30,000 faculty and staff at CUNY and the CUNY Research Foundation.

“4,240 letters were sent this afternoon to Chancellor Matos Rodríguez and Chairperson Thompson calling on them to allow all PSC-represented employees to work remotely, starting tomorrow,” said Bowen in an email message Sunday night.

She said Chancellor Rodríguez made the following announcement Sunday afternoon.

“Only CUNY essential personnel should report to work tomorrow, Monday, March 16, to their campuses and CUNY Central,” he said. “Essential staff have already been designated, however, if you have any questions, please contact your supervisor.”

Bowen said the announcement is “a victory for everyone who lives or works in this city.

“CUNY management heard our message and put public health first,” she said. “Now professional staff, as well as all faculty, will be able to protect their own health and the health of the community by staying home tomorrow. Everyone should continue to be paid as normal.”

Bowen said there will be more to discuss and many questions to answer, especially about work arrangements for the future.

“I’m sure there will still be knotty questions to resolve,” she said. “But for now, we know that all of our co-workers at CUNY, those represented by other unions, as well as those represented by the PSC, will be able to stay at home tomorrow (Monday), unless they have been designated ‘essential personnel.’

“The PSC can now enter into negotiations with CUNY management about the issues that need to be settled,” Bowen added.

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