State news roundup for November 7, 2015

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Above: New York Professional Staff Congress President Barbara Bowen was taken into custody Wednesday night. Photo via Twitter user @eric_a_paul.

New York – Activists take to the streets for CUNY contract fairness

CS_89zHWIAAOQUDDozens of Professional Staff Congress members, including President Barbara Bowen, were arrested this week [ed note: pictured above and at left] when they refused to leave CUNY’s midtown offices in a planned action to escalate their push for a contract.

“Working people, people of color, the poor of New York City – these are our students,” Bowen said. “Professors and academic staff are essential for a first-rate education, and CUNY needs to offer a contract that allows the University to retain outstanding faculty and staff. Chancellor Milliken’s inadequate offer will sabotage the quality of a CUNY education.”

NYSUT Secretary-Treasurer Martin Messner, who spoke at the rally in support of a fair contract for PSC members, was among those arrested in solidarity with the PSC leadership.

“I went to jail for a couple of hours, our members have been without a contract for years,” Messner said after he and others were released.

Visit NYSUT.org to get the full story and check out video of the protest and arrests.

Illinois – Freshman year failure for Gov. Rauner

One of the worst cases of “buyers remorse” in Illinois history began one year ago this week.

To mark the one-year anniversary of Bruce Rauner’s election as governor, WICS-TV in Springfield solicited assessments of Rauner’s freshman year. The reviews from knowledgable people are not kind.

As a career educator, IEA President Cinda Klickna is well qualified to assess Rauner’s effort and results.

She gives the governor an “F.”

Get the full story at IEANEA.org.

California – California Faculty Association members vote to authorize strike

CFAlogoMembers of the California Faculty Association on the 23 campuses of the California State University voted “Yes by over 94% percent” to authorize a strike, CFA President Jennifer Eagan announced today at a news conference.

The vote authorizes CFA’s Board of Directors to call a strike if contract negotiations with state university management fail to result in a fair deal.

“We are ready to act if necessary and for as long as it takes,” Eagan told the crowd assembled in a computer lab and classroom in the Engineering Building at San Jose State University, a CSU campus in the heart of Silicon Valley.

“This fight is about the bread and butter issue of salary, but that’s not all,” Eagan explained. “The vision of what the CSU is, who it serves, and what it can be in the future is at stake.”

“The faculty envision a CSU that educates students without driving them into debt, honors the faculty as the valuable professionals that we are, and elevates California by facilitating the next generation of creative, thoughtful, and brilliant citizens who will sustain the state for generations to come.

Read more about the strike authorization at CalFAC.org.

Michigan – MEA continues five-year fight to win 3 percent retirement case, get millions in wages returned to school employees

Michigan MI logoThe Michigan Education Association today filed a brief with the Michigan Court of Appeals in opposition to Public Act 75 of 2010. PA 75 mandated school districts withhold 3 percent of each employee’s wages for retiree health care. Immediately following passage of that legislation, the MEA and the American Federation of Teachers Michigan filed suit challenging the constitutionality of PA 75 – and have been fighting the legal battle ever since.

“In filing our brief today, we are continuing our fight for justice on behalf of school employees across the state,” said MEA President Steven Cook. “This has been a long legal struggle, but we have been vindicated at every level so far. The courts have confirmed that the action of the Legislature and governor were unjust, unfair and unconstitutional. We feel confident that we will ultimately prevail and school employees will finally see justice served and their wages returned.”

Get the full story at MEA.org.

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