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Vol. 37, No.2 September 17, 2007
SEND IN THE CLOWNS!!!
Readers who have a moment to spare in between their 21 or 27 teaching hours, committee meetings, and research projects might notice that the current contract between the university and the PSC will expire on September 19th. This is, of course, the contract that delivered a massive de facto pay cut, formalized give-back funding for the depleted Welfare Fund, provided no additional salary steps, and sent us back to work in the heat of the summer. Some bargain, Barb!
So, you might ask, what are the Dear Leader and her krack kontract krew doing about a new deal? Holding all night negotiating sessions? Contemplating requests for non-binding arbitration? Coming up with hard figures on higher salaries and lower work loads? We wish.
Rather than sitting down at the bargaining table, the Dear Leader will be up on the dais for a dazzling night of creative presentations entitled "Our CUNY/Their CUNY". Included in this entertainment extravaganza will be songs, plays, cartoons, and improvisational skits aimed at explaining how the PSC will continue to deliver ever less in salaries and benefits for ever more teaching and service. We've heard that there will be a pantomime reading of the latest contract petition by members of L'Academie Marcel Marceau at Hunter College, as well as a solo rendition of the old labor standard "Union Maid" by a noted CUNY cellist and activist. The catering will, it is hoped, be donated by the friends of the New Caucus at the CIA. Papier-mâché busts of Chancellor Matthew Goldstein will be on sale for a nominal price. This event promises to be a fun-filled evening of guerilla dinner theatre!
Tho' there is no harm in all this kibitzing, we do wonder why the Dear Leader is devoting so much time and energy to providing diversions at her Broadway Bunker. Could it be that she is making no headway with a new contract? Or is she stalling and stonewalling in preparation for another strike campaign? In any event, while Barbara and her noted cellist compadre fiddle away, faculty unions at other public universities are making substantive gains through collective bargaining rather than with bread and circuses.
A case in point is at Rutgers University, where the local chapter of the AAUP recently signed a new agreement. Among its features are: an increase in the overall salary base by 25% during the four years of the contract; salary increases for teaching and graduate assistants; health insurance for part-time TAs and GAs; eight weeks paid leave from teaching and service to new parents; and 100 new full time lines to replace vacant or non-tenure track positions. All this at a chronically under funded university in a state with fiscal woes far worse than New York's.
So, what do our colleagues at Rutgers have that we don't? For one, a competent team of negotiators. For another, a faculty union focused on wages, benefits and working conditions, rather than on changing the world. If our Dear Leader and her krack krew can't or won't concentrate on our needs, perhaps the PSC should put the contract process out for bid. Why not bring in the bargaining team from New Brunswick ? That would leave Barbara, Blanche, Rebecca, Bill, Page and the rest plenty of time for socialist sock-puppetry, role playing and stand-up comedy routines. Send in the clowns? Looks like they are already here.
FORMER HOSTOS EMPLOYEE DEMANDS BOWEN'S RESIGNATION:
ALLEGES INCOMPETENT REPRESENTATION IN A GRIEVANCE BY
September 12, 2007:
Dear Ms. Bowen:
My name is Javier Perez and I am a former laboratory technician at Hostos Community College. I have tried to reach you unsuccessfully several times in the past. My most recent attempt to speak with you was about a month ago, in reference to former PSC attorney Nathaniel K. Charny. I wanted to know whether this was the same person who admitted to providing false information to a court officer in an incident involving electoral corruption in the teamsters union in 1997. The Nathaniel Charny of that case was convicted and suspended from the practice of law for 18 months. In spite of my many attempts to reach you, you never bothered returning my email or messages, and did not even acknowledge receiving them. Subsequent to my last having written to you, I have been able to confirm that the Nathaniel Charny who worked for the PSC and left a few months ago is indeed the same person who was involved in that corruption scandal. Specifically, Charny (sometimes spelled Charney) pled guilty in October of 1998 to conspiracy to make false statements to a court-appointed election officer in relation to the Ron Carey electoral scandal.
In my tenure case, and as described in one section of the complaint which I filed against PSC-CUNY with the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB), Charny did not devote enough time to the preparation and arguing of my grievance and opted for what he himself called a "quick and simple approach" rather than the well-organized and well-thought-out approach that was needed. As a result I was unable to win a tenure non-reappointment grievance in which CUNY's main weapon against me was merely a pair of negative evaluations written by an inept, dishonest, no-show supervisor, while I dealt with very severe work-load inequity and a hostile work environment.
I can neither properly nor sufficiently convey my outrage at the thought that you allowed a person as tainted as Charny to act as PSC-CUNY's lead counselor. I am even less able to express the intensity of the anger I feel at knowing that you allowed him to represent me in my needlessly flawed grievance against CUNY. Had I been informed - indeed, forewarned - as to whom he was and what he had done, I would never have permitted him to be associated with me in any way. This man violated the ethical standards of his profession and did so in the working context of election fraud in a union election.
What kind of idiotic reasoning led you to hire a convicted criminal as lead counsel to PSC-CUNY? How dare you pull this sort of stunt at my expense! How many other members of PSC-CUNY have been damaged by your irresponsible action? I cannot believe that you hired this man without knowledge of his tainted past and I don't want to hear your explanations or excuses. What you have done is not only to damage me, to rob me of my career and to insult me; you have effectively spit in the face of the entire PSC-CUNY membership. This sort of disregard for ethical behavior taints us all, lowers the bar for respect and standards and cannot be tolerated. What has happened here is a disgrace, and I will be calling for a complete investigation of this and other related matters by the appropriate government agencies.
For now, I call for your immediate resignation as President of PSC-CUNY and for the resignations of any and all elected union officials who were involved in the recruitment and hiring of this person as lead counsel to PSC-CUNY. You have done enough damage to me and to the PSC-CUNY membership.
CC: or EC:
Mathew Goldstein, CUNY Chancellor
Sharad Karkhanis, Ph.D.