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       Vol. 45, No.4                                                      April 01, 2009


"40K FOR OUR LEADER . . . "


We know what nine years running the PSC has yielded our Dear Leader, Barbara Bowen—a $40,000 annual "bonus," courtesy of a NYSUT "stipend" and "summer salary" even though she already receives full released time from teaching . Moreover, Barbara gets to pretend that people outside New Caucus headquarters actually care about her opinions on global politics.

The Dear Leader's ego is as outsized as her annual "bonus." This is probably why New Caucus e-mails don't say "Vote New Caucus" but instead "VOTE FOR THE NEW CAUCUS SLATE HEADED BY BARBARA BOWEN."




For the rest of the membership, the New Caucus slogan has too often been, "Too little, too late." Consider:

1.) The Welfare Fund. Mismanaged by "Sidekick Steve" London to such an extent that we had to "give back" one full year of salary increases to get it stabilized, the Welfare Fund announced with much fanfare a change in the Extended Medical Benefit for GHI participants: the carrier was being changed, and the percent of allowable charges to be reimbursed would be going UP from 50% to 60%.

What the New Caucus didn't say: only a few years earlier, that same reimbursement percentage had been slashed from 80% to 50% by none other than "Sidekick Steve" and the New Caucus team. Net result: reimbursement rate from 80% to 60%. And the New Caucus touts this as an accomplishment!

2.) Adjunct rights. With great fanfare, the New Caucus' rubber-stamp Delegate Assembly recently approved a resolution on the importance of saving adjunct jobs.

What the New Caucus didn't say: The New Caucus negotiated the last three contracts—if they felt that adjunct job protection was a critical issue, they would have made it their #1 issue. Moreover, the Dear Leader's policy of alienating every political leader under the sun most harms those among us who are most vulnerable—the adjuncts. But then again, the New Caucus always seems to be a day late in protecting faculty and staff rights. 

3.) Tenure clock. After some huffing and puffing, the New Caucus agreed to the seven-year tenure clock. The Dear Leader's rhetoric suggested she had obtained important, if unspecified, concessions.

What the New Caucus didn't say: the New Caucus has refused to address the faculty workload issue—a question that even never makes the New Caucus bargaining list. Of course, if the Dear Leader were on speaking terms with the Chancellor, maybe she could have handled this problem informally.

4.) Transit Check. After strong pressure from the membership—and behind virtually every other municipal union—the New Caucus obtained a limited Transit Check program.

What the New Caucus didn't say: thanks in large part of the efforts of Senator Schumer (another political leader the Dear Leader's global activism has alienated), Transit Check has been expanded to LIRR and Metro North. But CUNY workers don't have this right, and the New Caucus—apparently for ideological reasons—has refused to work towards expanding Transit Check benefits to suburban riders. 

5.) PSC-CUNY grants. We all know of this fiasco: the rubber-stamp Delegate Assembly recently passed a resolution promising that the New Caucus would stand firm against the administration's efforts to take control of the grants program from faculty committees.

What the New Caucus didn't say: the New Caucus acted only after the CUNY ALLIANCE raised the issue in the campaign—and New Caucus executive director Debbie ("Ding Dong") Bell, who sat on the CUNY committee that developed the new scheme, did nothing on the committee to stand up for our rights.

From the Welfare Fund to Transit Check to PSC-CUNY grants, it's always "too little, too late" with the "New Caucus Headed by Barbara Bowen." But at least the Dear Leader gets her $40K bonus.



Reflecting to the New Caucus' increasingly negative campaign, we came across a recent missive sent through email at several colleges. In it, "THE NEW CAUCUS SLATE HEADED BY BARBARA BOWEN" demands a vote for "THE NEW CAUCUS SLATE HEADED BY BARBARA BOWEN" on the grounds that the CUNY ALLIANCE is run by a "partisan." Moreover, huffs "THE NEW CAUCUS SLATE HEADED BY BARBARA BOWEN," "PSC members are also entitled to know about the public record of a candidate running for union president."

Barbara Bowen denouncing someone else as being a "partisan"?! And the same Dear Leader who has desperately tried to hide her "public record" on a host of controversial issues raising the issue as a reason to vote for her?!

That would be "chutzpah," NEW CAUCUS SLATE HEADED BY BARBARA BOWEN-style.



Sharad Karkhanis, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus



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