October 28, 2015
Ongoing Contract Negotiations
Dear Faculty and Staff Colleagues,
I want to thank you all for your hard work and dedication to Baruch College and for your continuing commitment to our students, despite the ongoing frustration over the lack of a new contract. As you undoubtedly know, negotiations have continued at a desultory pace, in large part due to the unwillingness of the State government to appropriate additional resources to cover the increased personnel costs and due to the fact that the five-year budget deal that has enabled CUNY to implement a predictable tuition policy, with modest $300 increases each of the past four years, is set to expire this coming June, without any current indication that it will be renewed.
I appreciate and respect the fact that you have not let this unfortunate impasse stand in the way of giving Baruch’s students the high-quality education that they deserve. Working together, our faculty and administrative staff have launched new degree programs, designed and implemented multidisciplinary courses, and run programs that help students advance their technical, language and academic skills, thereby giving them the tools they need to succeed. Because of your efforts, Baruch has continued to rise in various national, regional, and discipline-specific rankings—and most importantly, we have attracted increasingly high-caliber students, faculty and staff.
While you remain committed to our mission, I am fully aware of the fact that there is growing dissatisfaction regarding the lack of closure on a new labor agreement. Everyone must “put bread on the table,” as the saying goes, and the cost of living and working in the New York metropolitan area only continues to increase. Thus, the lack of salary increases makes it difficult to balance personal and family budgets, and it also makes Baruch (and the rest of CUNY) a less attractive place to work, which could complicate our future recruitment efforts. This situation affects almost every full-time employee at the College, given that no one, including those in the executive compensation plan, has received a raise in the past five years, other than by reason of a job promotion or receipt of an outside offer. This situation is unacceptable, and it needs urgently to be resolved.
As you know, the problem is not specific to Baruch; nor, unfortunately, is it one that is within my power, as president of the College, to address unilaterally. While there may be an inclination to use our collective dissatisfaction as a rationale to impede or slow the business of the College, doing so benefits no one—least of all our hardworking students. Rather, during stressful times such as these, it is important that we collaborate, communicate, and, yes, commiserate as well.
In closing, let me underscore how much I appreciate your endurance, your loyalty, and your continuing hard work. And let me assure you that I am using every opportunity to urge the Chancellor to bring the contract negotiation to a successful conclusion at the earliest possible time.
Mitchel B. Wallerstein
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