DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido calls upon Gov. Andrew Cuomo to extend his $15 minimum wage plan to DC 37 members at the City University of New York.
By GREGORY N. HEIRES
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Jan. 4 announced his plan to raise the base pay of state workers at SUNY as part of his Mario Cuomo Campaign for Economic Justice, which aims to boost the state minimum wage to $15 an hour.
The announcement was great news for the 28,000 workers at the State University of New York who will benefit from the $15 an hour pay hike.
But for DC 37 members who work at City University of New York, Cuomo’s announcement was baffling.
Workers at CUNY, which receives the bulk of its funding from the state, are excluded from Cuomo’s $15 minimum wage plan. Currently, DC 37 is negotiating a contract for the 10,000 members at CUNY, who have gone without a raise for seven years.
“It’s wrong to have any economy where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, where the American dream of mobility and opportunity has become more of a cruel myth,” Cuomo said,when he announced his plan..
As the governor embraces the Fight for 15 movement, he can ensure that all public employees and workers at publicly-funded institutions are covered by the $15 minimum wage.
“The governor has done a tremendous job by taking bold steps to help low-wage workers,” DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido said. ““While we support the decision for SUNY workers, there are still 10,000 CUNY employees who only make ten bucks an hour and haven’t had a salary raise since 2009.”
DC 37 is currently negotiating a contract for the CUNY members, who have not had a raise since 2009. A “maintenance of effort” bill vetoed by Cuomo on Dec. 11 would have helped fund the new contract. The State Legislature approved the bill in an effort to return CUNY to its funding level before the Great Recession. In the days before the veto, hudreds of members sent an online letter to Cuomo, urging him to sign the bill.
DC 37 has rejected CUNY’s pay offer and submitted a counter-proposal. CUNY offered a pay increase of slightly more than 6 percent over six years. DC 37 seeks 14 percent over seven years, and a $200 per member increase in CUNY’s welfare fund contribution.
DC 37 members at CUNY serve in blue collar, professional, white collar and clerical, administrative, accounting and information technology titles. They are covered by two two collective bargaining agreements, one for blue collar workers, the other for white collar workers. Eleven DC 37 locals represent workers at CUNY.
DC 37 members work at the central office, 11 senior colleges, seven junior colleges and six honors and professional degree programs.