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Vol. 26, No.4                                                      November 07, 2005



Readers of The Patriot will know that we have been keeping a close watch on the often bewildering actions of Barbara Bowen and the New Caucus: from their non-negotiable demands, to the declaration of a "State of Emergency," to the "Candles in the Rain" demonstrations, through the authorization for a "job action" referendum, the September 29th "mass rally," the October proto-strike picketing, and their November 3rd deadline. From the pages of the Clarion, the periodic krazy kontract kampaign updates, and the PSC's ever-morphing website, we thought that we had learned the following: that the PSC's baseline demands were for a 14% package, in line with the SUNY faculty's most recent collective bargaining agreement, and a hefty transfusion of cash into the hemorrhaging Welfare Fund. We also learned that the NYC teachers had won a 15% salary increase, albeit by non-binding arbitration, rather than nonsensical agitation.

But now we are very puzzled. In her November 4th statement to the Delegate Assembly and the membership, our Dear Leader announced that "The PSC continues to press for a non-austerity agreement, one that meets our needs of at least 10% on salary..." SAY WHAT? 10%??? Is Barbara now hinting that despite the months of mindless militancy, and the lack of a new salary scales for over three years, we will be getting less than she has promised to deliver?

As we go to electronic press, there are increasing indications that the divided, demoralized New Caucus is on the verge announcing that what was once derided as an "austerity contract" will now be hailed as a great victory. Our well placed sources in the PSC have heard that the 10% figure will be spread over four years, and that it would come at the cost of a shorter summer vacation and the exclusion of department chairs from the bargaining unit. Negotiations are still ongoing, however, and these details may well change. But we are quite concerned that very soon we will be all be haunted by the specter of the INCREDIBLE SHRINKING CONTRACT!


Here at The Patriot Returns, we are pleased when our virtual squibs catch the attention of our colleagues at CUNY. This was especially the case for our last number, Vol.26, no.3. Within a few minutes of its e-publication, "Bickering" Barbara Bowen had taken to the Internet, screaming to all and sundry about mistakes that we had made therein.

Were we prepared, we would have responded to Barbara sooner. But since it was Halloween our editor-in-chief was out trick-or-treating for UNICEF with our friend, and PSC stalwart, the Giant Inflatable Rat. Now that the holiday has passed, we'd like to reply to Barbara's intemperate remarks; the Rat, however, refuses to wear his "Dear Leader" mask again.

In our last "Rumor Column" a number of claims regarding the compensation and the perquisites of office enjoyed by the leadership of the PSC were made. The details of some of those claims were inaccurate. In the cause of candor, we would like to correct them.

Our Claim: Associate Professors who served on the PSC's executive committee, such as Barbara Bowen and Steve London, were being paid as full professors.
The Facts: We were wrong. Barbara and Steve are being paid MORE THAN full professors! Bowen's compensation includes $77,529 (top step at the associate rank), $17,229 (2/9 summer salary), and $16,650 (NY State United Teachers); London's $77,529 (top step), $17,229 (2/9 summer salary), and $11,280 (NYSUT). In total, about $111,408 for Bowen; "Solidarity Steve," we believe, is also earning extra bucks for mucking up the Welfare Fund. Since the top of the scale for full professors, under the current contract, is $93,507, Barbara is making some 19% more than her senior colleagues, whose dues comprise part of her package, and a hell of a lot more than the rest of us. Adjunct faculty members should take note the next time you receive a message from the Dear Leader ending with the sign-off, "In Solidarity."

And remember---even though Battlin' Barb and Solidarity Steve receive full released time to do their work as union officers, the PSC voted them summer salary. Maybe we should have a contract demand for all professors to be able to vote themselves salary increases if they do any research in the summer?!

Our Claim: That members of the PSC's Executive Committee are provided with American Express cards.
The Facts: This once was the case, in the Polishook years, but no longer is. We applaud the New Caucus' consistent anti-capitalism. But we are a little skeptical about their commitments to anti-consumerism. It sure looks like Barbara and Steve are adept at disbursing your union dues for "official business." From September 1st , 2003 to August 31st, 2004, Barbara racked up $4,529; "Free Spending" Steve charged some $6,373. Steve also ran up a tab for $3,389 at the New York State United Teachers. Those would be a lot of lunches in the coffee shops on West 43rd Street.

Our Claim: That members of the Executive Committee use a limousine service, rather than taking public transportation.
The Facts: Barbara denies that she uses a limo service. She, Steve and company rely on car services, buses and subways instead. Now, while we don't want to quibble over semantics, it does seem that "limo service" and "car service" are used synonymously in contemporary parlance. Sort of like "job action" and "strike." And since unlimited fare Metrocards cost $76 per month (even less with PSC-supported Transit Checks), it seems that their carfare should not run in to the thousands of dollars.
[Sources: U.S. Department of Labor (via www.uniondemocracy.org ); the PSC-CUNY website]


The rumors of a pending PSC crack-up are surfacing everywhere. Among the more intriguing, and amusing, is that the long-term rivalry between Bowen and London could spark off a civil war among the leadership. When the long-suffering members head to the ballot boxes next spring to choose a new executive committee, they might well be able to choose between the New Caucus and the "New" New Caucus. Barbara and her slate (Marxist-Leninist) may be smashing poor Steve for his stewardship of the Welfare Fund. The London slate (Paranoid-Schizophrenic) could be going after Bowen for caving in on salaries, and cutting short our summers. Tony O'Brien, if he knows what is good for him, will keep his mouth buttoned. And Stanley Aronowitz, angered and appalled as usual, will run for governor again---but will he get his 1% of the vote on the Green or Working Families line? Stay tuned.

We've also heard that the PSC's Secretary and Treasurer, Cecilia McCall and John Hyland, are going to step down from their positions. Anyone interested in making an additional $17,229 in salary, $7,500 in "allowance," and $2000+ in expenses--as do Cecilia and John--please call the PSC office. It sure would beat the heck out of a 2.5% annual raise!


Now that we have accounted for our errors, The Patriot Returns would like to ask a favor of Barbara Bowen. By demonstrating in front of Matthew Goldstein's apartment, Barbara invaded  his privacy and needlessly harassed the Chancellor and Mrs. Goldstein. We request, therefore, that she apologize for this inappropriate conduct to the entire CUNY community. The Patriot Returns also requests that the Chancellor suspend all negotiations with Ms. Bowen  until such time as she issues that apology.




Sharad Karkhanis, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus

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