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Subject:

Activists Win Control of CUNY Faculty Union, Vow to Challenge Political Establishment

From:

Gail Platt <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 26 Apr 2000 09:56:35 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (114 lines)

This story from The Chronicle of Higher Education
(http://chronicle.com) was forwarded to you from: [log in to unmask]

_________________________________________________________________

The following message was enclosed:
  It seems that efforts to curtail remediation/DE has spurred
  many to action in New York! This issue is indeed political! Be
  sure to contact your professional organizations to become
  politically aware and active. Gail Platt CRLA Political Action
  Committee Chair

_________________________________________________________________

  Wednesday, April 26, 2000



  Activists Win Control of CUNY Faculty Union, Vow to Challenge
  Political Establishment

  By COURTNEY LEATHERMAN



  A new activist faction of the City University of New York's
  faculty union won nearly all of the group's leadership posts
  in an election Monday -- ousting an old guard that had reigned
  for two decades. The New Caucus, as the group is called,
  includes big-name scholars like Stanley Aronowitz and Blanche
  Wiesen Cook, and campaigned on a platform of invigorating the
  union and taking on the state's political establishment.

  CUNY's union, the Professional Staff Congress, is one of the
  oldest faculty unions in the country. Irwin H. Polishook
  served as the union's president for 24 years before retiring
  in February, and the New Caucus accused him of allowing
  politicians and administrators to damage the university by
  cutting its budget, eliminating remedial education, and hiring
  more part-timers.

  "On Irwin Polishook's watch our working conditions have taken
  a nose dive," the group says on its Web site. New Caucus
  members credited Mr. Polishook with speaking out individually
  on issues, but criticized him for failing to mobilize the
  faculty. "That's not how you organize to win anything," said
  Cecelia McCall, an associate professor of English at Baruch
  College who was elected the secretary of the union.

  Said Mr. Polishook: "The members elected me nine times and it
  wasn't because I was bad." But he didn't aim to rehash the
  campaign battle -- especially, he said, since he had already
  retired. "I can only wish them good luck if they think they're
  going to reverse some of the difficulties the university
  faces," he said. "The problem with their complaints is that
  they are offering them now as promises and they'll have to
  deliver."

  On Monday, Barbara Bowen, an associate professor of English at
  Queens College and the Graduate School and University Center,
  won the presidency, defeating Mr. Polishook's unelected
  successor, Richard J. Boris, a political-science professor at
  York College. "Our members wanted change and they're going to
  get it," said Mr. Boris. He declined to elaborate.

  But Ms. Bowen did in a statement announcing the New Caucus's
  "decisive victory." She said "the victory signals the
  membership's desire for a democratic and effective union, one
  that is up to the challenge of reversing the obscene budget
  cuts to CUNY and the ongoing assault on our professional
  lives." Ms. Bowen said in her statement that 16 of the 21
  candidates the caucus had put forward won spots on the union's
  executive council.

  Among those were Steve London, an associate professor of
  political science at Brooklyn College, who won the first vice
  presidency. Mr. London said the New Caucus grew out of two
  activist camps in the university in the 1990's. One group was
  active in the union, the other was active on broader social
  and university issues. About five years ago, the groups came
  together and the caucus became an official group battling for
  the leadership of the union.

  With the elections over, the next step is negotiating a
  contract. The current agreement expires July 31. The new union
  leaders, who plan to make salary increases a key component of
  the talks, hope their election strengthens their bargaining
  position. "The New Caucus has been among the administration's
  chief opponents," said Ms. McCall. "This election sends a
  strong message to them to watch out, we're going to come on
  strong."


_________________________________________________________________

Chronicle subscribers can read this story on the Web at this address:
http://chronicle.com/daily/2000/04/2000042602n.htm

If you would like to have complete access to The Chronicle's Web
site, a special subscription offer can be found at:

   http://chronicle.com/4free

Use the code D00CM when ordering.

_________________________________________________________________

You may visit The Chronicle as follows:

   * via the World-Wide Web, at http://chronicle.com
   * via telnet at chronicle.com

_________________________________________________________________
Copyright 2000 by The Chronicle of Higher Education

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