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Vol. 28, No.4 February 12, 2006
WILL THE PSC CONDEMN THE AAUP'S ANTI-ISRAEL CONFERENCE?
Last April, the Association of University Teachers (AUT), a British faculty union, passed resolutions boycotting two Israeli universities and blacklisting their faculty. The PSC, which never seems to avoid an opportunity to comment on international issues, was silent---even though two meetings of the Delegate Assembly passed before the boycott was revoked. At the time, the PSC head "Battlin' Barb" Bowen claimed that the PSC didn't have to act, because the AAUP already had come out against the boycott.
But now, the AAUP's position is suddenly unclear. The organization was forced to postpone, though not cancel, a conference top-heavy with boycott supporters after an article by a Holocaust denier was circulated as part of the pre-conference reading material. The AAUP's Joan Scott nonetheless denounced critics of the conference for opposing "academic freedom."
As someone who has claimed to work through the AAUP on issues relating to the proposed boycott of Israeli academics, what's the Dear Leader's position on the conference? Should the AAUP cancel the gathering once and for all? Will the Dear Leader use her influence to fight against Joan Scott's demonizing conference critics?
The Patriot Returns offers a prediction: upholding the rights of Israeli academics will not be high on the Dear Leader's agenda.
CONTRACTS LAW, PSC-STYLE
The Dear Leader recently embarrassed herself, and the faculty she purports to represent, in an on-line legal dispute with 80th Street. In an e-mail sent to all CUNY faculty, she certainly presented some peculiar legal theories.
Desperately trying to shift blame for the city and state's refusal to endorse the Contract framework (it was probably not a good idea, as we noted, for PSC bosses to celebrate the TWU's illegal strike just when the PSC needed backing from city and state political leaders), the Dear Leader now accuses CUNY of bargaining in bad faith.
Battlin' Barb wrote all CUNY faculty on Feb. 2 that "the document CUNY sent to City and State officials on November 14, 2005 was titled a "Draft Conceptual Framework for an Agreement between the PSC and CUNY." Therefore, she maintained, this document "was more than an understanding; it was an agreement."
The PSC represents thousands of professors who possess more than a passing acquaintance with the English language. So exactly whom does the Dear Leader expect to fool? The only legal universe in which a "draft conceptual framework" constitutes an "agreement" is at PSC headquarters on West 43rd Street.
For the Dear Leader to claim otherwise, in an e-mail sent to all CUNY faculty, insults our intelligence. And such legal sloppiness matters: it's one reason why the PSC negotiating team got its clock cleaned in the previous contract---as when union negotiators failed to ask for more money for the Welfare Fund.
THE PSC'S "FOGGY" LAW
PSC vice president Steve ("Foggy") London might want to join the Dear Leader in seeking help from some outside legal counsel, since he too seems to be receiving off-base legal advice. Perhaps it's coming from the PSC's chief counsel, Nathaniel Charny, who previously pled guilty to making false statements to a court officer?
We're always encouraged to see PSC leaders break away from their so-called "'round-the-clock" contract negotiations to respond to our newsletters. In this instance, on the New Caucus website, "Foggy" London accuses The Patriot Returns of "slander"---or "oral communication of false statements injurious to a person's reputation."
To begin with, we're not aware that The Patriot Returns is available in podcast form, but perhaps Steve read the newsletter out loud and therefore considers it an "oral communication."
More to the point, in the real world, reporting facts that PSC bosses have tried to conceal doesn't constitute "slander." As regular readers of The Patriot Returns will recall, we pointed out that while PSC leaders regularly claimed a membership of 20,000 in strike-related propaganda, in federal reports filed under penalty of perjury, these same PSC leaders listed membership as fewer than 18,000. We'd guess that even Counselor Charny would agree that publicizing the PSC's own official figures doesn't constitute "slander."
It seems as if Steve is guilty not only of "foggy" math but "foggy" law as well.
FORCED LABOR, c/o THE DEAR LEADER
At her September 29, 2005 rally, the Dear Leader requested that, until a contract is reached, all CUNY faculty voluntarily defer new scholarly projects and reduce time spent on grading by an hour a week. Professors should, she said, reallocate that time to the union's efforts to promote an illegal strike. This plan didn't work, since support for the strike has fizzled. So now the Dear Leader has turned to compulsion.
The Patriot Returns has received reports from several campuses of PSC branches now requiring TWO representatives from all departments, rather than the customary one, thus doubling the number of faculty forced to give time to the PSC. And the workload for each of these representatives will be increased---not only must they attend and report on all union affairs, but they must spend time "mobilizing" their own "department members in union activities." Departments will now have their very own union commissars.
In part thanks to the Dear Leader's nearly four-year failure to negotiate a new contract, CUNY faculty continue to have very heavy workloads. The Patriot Returns predicts that this forced-labor scheme will indeed mobilize CUNY faculty---it will mobilize them to toss out the Dear Leader in this spring's vote.
Sharad Karkhanis, Ph.D.