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Vol. 28, No.3 January 29, 2006
"CONTRACT UPDATE" SPECIAL
DID THE DEAR LEADER'S SUPPORT OF THE TWU KILL THE CONTRACT "FRAMEWORK"?
After months of issuing empty and endless "Contract Updates," it seems that the New Caucus has decided to come clean with the membership, and to explain why they have been unable to negotiate a successful, and satisfactory, settlement with the university. In a January 27th "report...on the status of negotiations," "Battlin' Barbara" Bowen lines out at least part of the "conceptual framework" which she and CUNY have hammered out. Since her e-missive was sent rather late on Friday night (ours arrived after 9:00 p.m.) we will give our readers a few days to consider just how solid, or shoddy, this framework would be, and will comment on its details in the next number of The Patriot Returns. But those of you expecting candor from Barbara will be disappointed. Once again, the Dear Leader is playing fast and loose with the facts, and blaming everyone in sight---save for her infallible self---for this latest breakdown in negotiations.
Here's Barbara, in an e-mail sent to all CUNY faculty dated Dec. 2nd, on the need to obtain City and State approval for the contract "framework":
Both the union and CUNY management are now pressing hard for a resolution, and the City and State are fully engaged in the process.
Here's the same Barbara Bowen, in an e-mail sent to all CUNY faculty dated Jan. 27th, laying out "how the union plans to respond if we find that CUNY has failed to gain City and State approval for the framework we reached":
While the PSC bargaining team is aware of the legal requirement for City and State approval of our contract, we expected CUNY to come to the table each time with the authority to close the deal.
So, to review: on Dec. 2nd, the Dear Leader stated that the deal was still subject to City and State approval; and that both management and the union would be working with City and State officials to get that approval.
Now, on Jan. 27th, the Dear Leader implies that CUNY should have had "authority to close the deal" in November---directly contradicting her earlier email---and that CUNY alone was responsible for obtaining "City and State approval for the framework we reached."
But what about the PSC's claims of massive influence in Albany? Or did the union bosses do something that caused the PSC to lose political clout between Dec. 2nd and Jan. 27th?
We all know what the PSC leadership did on December 20th, 21st, and 22nd ---they joined the TWU in as high-profile a fashion as possible on the picket lines in an illegal strike.
Think about that decision for a minute: at just the time that the PSC needed the support of City and State leaders for the contract framework, the New Caucus went out of their way to alienate these very same City and State leaders.
"Well," the Dear Leader might say, "any union would have done the same thing." Guess again! Remember the weeks before the mayoral election? The UFT had negotiated its contract, but the issue still hadn't been approved by membership, and the deal still could have fallen apart. So what did Randi Weingarten do? She withheld an endorsement in the mayoral race, so as not to alienate the mayor before the deal was closed.
Randi Weingarten put her membership's economic well-being ahead of her political agenda. Barbara Bowen did exactly the opposite. She should be ashamed!
The Dear Leader closes her latest "Contract Update" with this not-so-subtle threat:
If CUNY does not deliver on City and State approval for the conceptual framework, the union is fully prepared to take all necessary action to achieve a settlement consistent with our goals.
Pray tell, President Bowen, what would that action be? Your best bud, "Jolly Roger" Toussaint, didn't get too far with his brand of militant unionism. Are you going to do any better? We eagerly await your future "Contract Updates" to find out. In the meantime, we'll be looking for you on the picket lines at NYU .
Sharad Karkhanis, Ph.D.