As a long-term adjunct at the College of Staten Island, I too am aware of the needs of adjuncts and graduate assistants.
While I would have written [the open] letter with a few different words, I agree with the sentiment.
I too have written about the union’s lack of democratic qualities, and for sometime now.
Specifically, an organized click runs the union and they demonstrate a total lack of imagination in how democracy can empower virtually the entire community.
For example, the executive committee runs our union, not the designated power of our union, the Delegate Assembly. In other words, they worship centralized power.
Consequently, the union leadership operates under the same principles as the right-wingers: they believe that power is all that matters; ethics and right/wrong are for thinkers, not doers.
The PSC union leadership is truly out of touch when the President of the union can say that the problem of inequality can be addressed (in NYC) at CUNY, or more broadly (in the U.S.) through the U.S. university system. Both are a good place to start, but radically more would be needed in either case.
However, this matter is symptomatic of a much larger problem.
The PSC leadership, as you know, claims or intimates that it is on the left of the political spectrum. But unfortunately, our union leadership does as the left so often assumes: we must mimic the right in order to win.
Accordingly, the strategy is not to bring all of us in the union together, but typically to divide and conquer, while throwing a few bones to the crowds (formally known as tokenism in Political Science). Andrea mentioned the bones.
Unfortunately, the PSC’s leadership demonstrates once more (as in countless other cases) the failure of the left to live up to its ideals. I understand that this is not a simple matter, but it needed to be said nevertheless.
Finally, stressing $5K per course really does not get to the heart of the matter. Job security does.
Harry T. Cason,
Adjunct, College of Staten Island, CUNY