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Vol. 40, No.2 July 21, 2008
MORE "CAKE" FROM ROS:
When we last heard from Hunter's "Radical Ros" Petchesky, she had taken time from her work with "Feminists for Kucinich" to volunteer as a PSC "picket captain." What had galvanized her? As she told a Cooper Union crowd at one of the Dear Leader's endless rallies, she worried that her salary as a distinguished professor might not allow her to keep her apartment in one of Manhattan's wealthiest neighborhoods.
The Dear Leader has negotiated another below-inflation contract, and CUNY's own Marie Antoinette is back, urging adoption of the Dear Leader's handiwork with a condescending tribute to the institution's "little people."
Ros recently termed herself "deeply troubled by the ways in which my privileges and security rest on the backs of many, many adjuncts and other part-timers who really make possible such perks as the sabbatical leave I'll enjoy the coming year." She is, after all, "firmly committed to sharing the too-scarce resources more equitably—more for the bottom, less for the top."
Was she "troubled" enough to defer her sabbatical, so that an exploited adjunct would not have to cover her courses? Well, no.
Was she "troubled" enough to defer her personal pay raise to help those at "the bottom"? Well, no.
So how, exactly, is Ros going to put her principles into practice?
Says she, "During my sabbatical I will take part in the struggle for greater fairness and diminished hierarchy in CUNY's structure - what better way to use the time?"
What better way indeed? Surely Ros' colleagues at Hunter who didn't get a year off for their own research or curricular development projects will understand why we all need a distinguished professor using some of CUNY's "too-scarce resources" for a sabbatical devoted to union organizing and ideological crusading.
SENIOR COLLEGE PROFESSOR'S
Dear Professor Sharad:
You have my deepest admiration and respect for all the great scandals you have uncovered with the present PSC union heads
You are a superhero in my opinion, a legend.
Thank you so much.
It is sad that I have dated teachers from the Public Schools who make far more money than me due to their large increases versus our horrendous increases. Before the current Union was in power, I made more than these teachers, but thanks to our atrocious increases, they make a lot more than me.
One girl I dated indicated that the top teachers salary is $104,000 in NYC and well over $120,000 in Nassau County.
I have been working for CUNY 24 years and I think it is disgusting how this current union has eroded my salary.
It is a humiliating experience to date these teachers who are getting so much more than me.
Thank you so much for your courageous efforts.
Your biggest fan,
FACULTY SELLOUT BY THE PSC:
Dear Dr. Kharkhanis,:
Many of my colleagues have suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous i.e., below inflation contracts for decades. Aren't the details of the tentative contract inconsistent with what Barbara Bowen called phase 2 but are consistent with a phase shift i.e., another sellout of what is supposed to be a 3 phase approach to restoring equity to those represented by the PSC. The PSC has well documented the erosion of our salaries over the years and in particular since 1971 http://www.psc-uny.org/Budget/SalaryFactSheet.pdf but this documentation devolved into only PSC lip service as the current proposal only exacerbates the erosion.
Since 2000 the cost of gasoline has increased about 239% from the $1.26 a gallon price then and the cost of home heating oil has increased about 256% from the $1.25 a gallon price then. The cpi in New York has increased by 4.3% in the past year from May 2007 through May 2008 (Click Here).
Will this be offset by a 3.15% raise? I don't think so. Since from October 2007 through May 2008 the 12 month percent change in the cpi in the New York region has averaged 3.675%. When I went to school, 3.15% was less than 3.675% but it seems the PSC believes that less is more. According to AP economics writer Martin Crutsinger, "Over the past 12 months, wholesale prices are up 9.2 percent, the largest year-over-year surge since June 1981". Newsday (July 14,2008) reports that the average home heating oil bill for NYC residents and LI residents will go up $720 and $966 respectively-that takes care of about $1000 to $1300 of the so called proposed raises for those of us who were fortunate enough to afford houses in the past. The increase in gasoline and food prices surely will exhaust the rest of the ersatz raises.
Update: Consumer prices shot up in June at the fastest pace in 26 years with two-thirds of the surge blamed on soaring energy prices. Consumer prices increased by 1.1% last month which the PSC can't ignore-but it will! If one goes to the following site http://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/surveymost?cu you can generate the following:
Hence the first year "raise" of 3.15% is just another pay cut.
I doubt that those who have been on the top step of their salary schedules for 15, 20 or even 30 years will appreciate the slap in the face of having to wait until October 2009 to see this step increased. Why wasn't this increase front loaded at least for them? Wasn't this the first priority of our so called demands?
In Barbara Bowen's open letter to the Chancellor, she said that "the only way to restore nationally competitive salaries at CUNY is to provide across the board salary increases above the level of inflation." She was right, but this supposed contract does not attain that end. The compounded amount of 3.15%, 4% and 3% is 10.5% while the cpi has increased by 11.7% from May of 2005 through May 2008 and the worst is probably yet to come. Her words in response to the first economic offer (http://www.psc-cuny.org/BargainingUpdateMay19th08.htm) were "While CUNY's initial economic proposal (3.15%, 3%, 3% and an additional 2% that was unspecified) is a serious offer, it falls dramatically short of the amount needed to lift salaries to an acceptable level and address other critical issues. CUNY cannot wait to address the growing salary crisis. The gap between our salaries and salaries at comparable institutions has been growing for thirty years; it has reached the point where it must be addressed now if CUNY is to remain at all competitive nationally. Increases near the level of inflation will not begin to close the 20% salary gap separating CUNY and other comparable public universities."
I was surprised that she called that a serious offer and wish that John MacEnroe were her mouthpiece as the proper response would have been "You can't be serious." At the very least she could have imitated Robert Hays in the 1980 movie Airplane and said to the Chancellor "Surely, you can't be serious." I doubt that the Chancellor would have come back with Leslie Nielsen's retort "I am serious and don't call me Shirley." (Click Here)
Stanley Aronowitz's almost self congratulatory email (Click Here) make the seeming simultaneous confluence of the emergence of a tentative agreement and the state approval suspicious. Nowhere in the description of the contract proposal is mention made that it is below inflation and if I were a betting man, I would bet that even those at the top of their scales will be behind inflation when they get their October 2009 increases. In fact, the compounded amount of three annual cpi increases of 4.5% (which what happened in the last year as the above table shows) is a 14.1% increase while those at the top of the scales would see only a 13.8% increase by October 2009 as .0315*1.04*1.03*1.03=1.138
Sharad Karkhanis, Ph.D.
As you know, Susan O'Malley has sought to silence the Patriot by bringing a lawsuit which seeks to both limit his free speech and financially bankrupt him. Interested colleagues have weighed in on