Barbara Bowen, a professor of English at Queens College and the Graduate Center of The City University of New York (CUNY), taught for fifteen years before becoming president of the Professional Staff Congress/CUNY. A scholar of 17th-century English literature and African-American studies, Bowen earned her Ph.D. at Yale and has published numerous works in her field. Throughout her academic career, she also worked in progressive political movements and as a labor organizer.
Bowen’s election as president of the Professional Staff Congress (PSC) in 2000 was as part of a collective of faculty and staff with deep roots in progressive politics. The PSC represents 25,000 faculty members and professional staff at CUNY and the CUNY Research Foundation.
Bowen began her union career when an assignment as a VISTA volunteer turned into an effort to organize 800 tobacco pickers in the Connecticut River Valley. She also spent several years as a community organizer.
In addition to her position as an AFT vice president, Bowen is a member of the NYSUT board of directors and the executive board of the New York City Central Labor Council.
Michael Fabricant is First Vice President of the Professional Staff Congress. Part of Mike’s role as a principal officer has focused on creating and building an organizing department that evolves membership networks and power to enhance the quality of working and learning conditions at CUNY. Equally important, Mike has been the PSC representative to the AFT organizing committee. This committee is focused on new membership organizing and advancing a public education agenda nationally.
Mike has been a faculty member at Hunter College for thirty years. He has authored numerous articles and eight books. His most recent writing explores both the threat of charter schooling and the role of organizing in redressing inequitable public education investment across race and class divides. Mike has also served asTreasurer of the PSC, the Treasurer of the National Coalition to House the Homeless and Community Access United, an agency serving the disabled. Mike has a long activist history on issues ranging from housing and homelessness to resisting interventionist U.S. foreign policies, and serves as an advocate for CUNY faculty, students and staff in a broad variety of coalition and organizing efforts.
Nivedita Majumdar is Secretary of the PSC. She is associate professor of English at John Jay College. She has been PSC Chapter Chair at John Jay College since 2011. She is a member of the Contract Campaign Advisory Committee, has completed the PSC Leadership Training Program and represents the PSC at the AFT Higher Education Program and Policy Committee. In her tenure as chapter chair at John Jay, she has spearheaded the building of a dynamic chapter that has led campaigns on several issues that extend beyond the contract. The signature campaign has been for workload mitigation for full-time faculty, which would entail a reorganization of workload in the interests of faculty and students. A sustained three-year campaign by faculty succeeded in its goal of getting the administration to institute a universal, non-competitive program that will benefit tenured professors and lecturers. This campaign, along with others like the anti-Pathways and adjunct seniority efforts, has dramatically increased the level of political awareness and participation among our members.
Nivedita has been active in progressive movements within and outside the university for more than 20 years in the US and India. She remains committed to working on improving the working conditions of our members while ensuring that our union actively works with other forces to protect and nurture public higher education and promote a progressive social vision.
Nivedita is an active scholar. Her research interests include Marxist theory, postcolonial studies, theories of nationalism and cultural studies; she has published widely in these areas. Her edited book, The Other Side of Terror, (Oxford, 2009) offers a Left critique of terrorism discourse. She is currently at work on her next book on postcolonial theory and literature.
Sharon Persinger is Treasurer of the PSC. She is an associate professor of mathematics and computer science at Bronx Community College, with a PhD in mathematics from the CUNY Graduate Center and a master’s in computer science from City College. She has served as chair of the PSC chapter at BCC since 2010. With her leadership, the BCC chapter has worked to restore adequate funding for CUNY, improve health and safety at the college, win equity for adjuncts, and support the struggles of other unionized workers in the Bronx. She has served as a member of the PSC Executive Council since 2011, is a member of the Labor Goes to the Movies Committee and the Committee on the Militarization of CUNY, and was recently appointed as a trustee of the PSC-CUNY Welfare Fund and a member of the NYSUT Policy Council. Born into a union family in West Virginia, Sharon learned about the importance and power of organized labor from the United Mine Workers.
The Executive Council (“the EC”), the union’s 27-member leadership group, is responsible for making policy recommendations to the DA. The EC is elected directly by the entire membership and has overall executive responsibility for the union. EC members serve three-year terms.
The Delegate Assembly (“the DA”) is the union’s central policy-making body The DA holds open meetings at the union hall each month during the academic year. The DA is comprised of representatives from each of the chapters plus the 27 General Officers of the union who comprise its Executive Council.
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