If you have difficulty reading the newsletter, please go to www.patriotreturns.com to see the latest release.
Vol. 31, No.1 March 29, 2006
THE NEW CAUCUS CRAWLS ALONG
On the defensive about frittering away time and resources to pursue a fringe political agenda, the New Caucus has issued new talking points. Last week, treasurer candidate Michael Fabricant assured New York Sun readers that the New Caucus "can talk and chew gum at the same time." NC stalwart Peter Ranis gave the same line to posters on YorkTalk: "A union worth its salt can walk and chew gum at the same time."
As Walter Mondale famously asked Gary Hart, "Where's the beef?" While other municipal unions long since have settled, CUNY profs have now gone more than 40 months without a contract---leaving our Dear Leader, PSC president Barbara Bowen, to battle "Jolly Roger" Toussaint for the honor of the city's most incompetent labor leader. The New Caucus leadership can't "walk," much less chew gum.
A major reason, of course, for the crawl toward a contract settlement is the bitter aftertaste left by the New Caucus' flavor of gum. The Dear Leader recently revealed, "We are in a political situation. We're not at GM or Perdue Chicken where we're negotiating against a private employer. We're negotiating against the city and state." It's taken her six years to figure this out?!
Given that "we're negotiating against the city and state," how did comparing the agenda of city and state political leaders to that of far-right Colombian paramilitaries move the PSC closer to a contract? How did organizing a conference linking our contract woes with "massive military aid" to Israel or donating union dues to radical anti-Israel groups help the PSC with state Democrats, who are almost all pro-Israel? How did endorsing the 2005 primary challenge of a sure loser like Public Advocate candidate Norman Seigel enhance PSC access to the city Democratic leadership?
Maybe the Dear Leader should seize control of Perdue Chicken's union. She couldn't do any worse.
PSC V-P Steve "Foggy" London has long since become the leadership's designated laughingstock, summoned to utter the leadership's least credible claims.
More than three weeks ago, CSI professor Dorothy Lang requested that the New Caucus document its breathless allegations of "illegal" acts by the CUNY Alliance. Lang was told that she would receive proof only if she dropped by union headquarters in midtown Manhattan. When Lang inquired about this odd demand, Foggy got testy:
Lang, unconvinced, again asked for verification. When Foggy ignored this wholly reasonable request, she sent the exchange to The Patriot Returns.
The NC's failure to substantiate their allegations is especially noteworthy in view of their recent promise to take the "high road" in this election campaign. If this represents the high road, spare us from the low road!
THE "WORKER-FRIENDLY" PSC
An earlier newsletter discussed some of the peculiar new firms solicited for Welfare Fund business by Foggy and his fun-loving sidekick, "Luau Larry" Morgan. But nothing prepared us for a recent newswire item.
As part of their initiative to weaken the prescription drug benefit to cover the health-care costs they moved to adjuncts, Steve and Larry switched all CUNY prescription drugs to a Las Vegas-based company called Medco. It turns out that Medco is now threatening to lock out 500 employees in a contract dispute. Said a company spokesperson, "Rather than continue to work under the uncertainty of not having a contract in place, which includes labor instability and the risk of a work stoppage, meaning they could call a strike, the company made a decision to start operating the pharmacy with a contingency staff."
Sharad Karkhanis, Ph.D.