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Academic Freedom

The Academic Freedom Committee is a long-standing committee of the Executive Council.


The committee’s mission is three-fold

1. Educational.

  • Educate members about the state of academic freedom – past and present — nationally and at CUNY.
  • Contextualize academic freedom in a contemporary university characterized by growing centralization, corporatization, assaults on faculty governance and reliance on contingent labor.
  • Promote discussion of key issues about academic freedom through PSC print and digital media and face-to-face meetings and forums.

2. Proactively identify issues that threaten academic freedom and, as appropriate, provide advice and/or research to PSC leadership bodies on how to respond to such threats.

3. Function as a link to our affiliates, particularly the AAUP and AFT, on issues of academic freedom. Help promote national initiatives and campaigns of our affiliates at CUNY (e.g. the work of the AFT and AAUP in response to the so called “academic bill of rights; the work of the AAUP to build institutional protections for the academic freedom of adjuncts).

Name: Tony Alessandrini
Title:  Chair

Committee Website


Workplace bullying is repeated, unreasonable actions aimed at intimidating, humiliating, degrading or undermining an employee or group of employees (Clarion, June 2012). We know from testimony given during our DA and chapter meetings and through years of organizing that bullying is a real problem at CUNY. It’s a difficult issue, not easily solved by an employer or a union.

CUNY management and the PSC agreed during the last round of contract negotiations to develop a joint campaign to address bullying in the workplace. That shared commitment was reaffirmed last fall, and the union is continuing this important work with the intention of further engagement with the University.

Like all our work, confronting workplace bullying requires collective action and active solidarity. PSC members need guidance about how to address bullying when they experience or witness it. But the culture of our CUNY workplaces must also be shifted so that bullying is universally unacceptable and our colleagues who are the targets of bullying feel empowered and supported, not alone or ashamed.

To guide our anti-bullying efforts, the Committee members turned to the set of Community Norms and Practices adopted by the PSC in July, which call on us as PSC members and individuals to “nurture a work environment that is respectful and free from discrimination, harassment or bullying.” The commitments we make to each other in the norms and practices don’t have to apply to just our community of unionists, they can and should apply to our entire university community.

Name: Amy Jeu
Email: [email protected]

Name: Clara Wajngurt
Email: [email protected]


This committee is responsible for recommending policies and actions that will empower the PSC to contribute to dismantling the structures, practices and ideology of racism and to achieving racial justice within the City University, the union, the city and beyond.

Diane Auslander
Rulisa Galloway-Perry
Shawn Grant
Mobina Hashmi
David Hatchett
Cecelia McCall
Mary Phillips
John Pittman
Young-Min Seo
Sharon Utakis
Andrea Vásquez
Felicia Wharton

The Archives Committee is responsible for continuing the process of insuring that PSC documents will be made available to members, historians, and others. The PSC has already turned over PSC material in the past to the Wagner Labor Archives of New York University and the committee works with the PSC officers and staff to insure that process continues.

The committee also makes recommendations on how the PSC office can save its materials most effectively, including items in paper or digital/electronic form.

We are developing an ongoing oral history program that will collect interviews with past and present leaders of the PSC for deposit in the Wagner Archives.

The committee also is working with the chapters of the PSC to encourage them to save material/documents and to develop a process where that material can be transferred to the PSC and eventually to the Wagner Labor Archives.

Finally, the committee would like to see the booklet on the history of the PSC, which covers the period to 1996, supplemented by a history of the union since then. We will make a recommendation to the PSC leadership on how this might be accomplished. The Committee is anxious to have your suggestions on what we should discuss, and how we may do so most effectively.

More than 20 interviews by the PSC Archives Committee of leaders and activists in the PSC’s history are available at the NYU Tamiment Library & Robert F. Wagner Archives. The oral history interviews are online in the PSC digital oral history collection or go to the Digital Tamiment, do a search for the “Professional Staff Congress” and you will have access to many of the interviews. Also housed at the Wagner archive, but not online, are traditional archival material, including a major PSC documentary collection. Most of these interviews plus much more PSC historical material is available at the CUNY Digital History Archive. A search for “Professional Staff Congress” or “PSC” will yield rich results.)

Name: Irwin Yellowitz
Title: Chair
Committee for Adjuncts and Part-timers

THE COMMITTEE FOR ADJUNCTS AND PART-TIMERS is a standing committee of the Delegate Assembly. It is responsible for the consideration of problems and the recommendations of policies related to the part-time instructional staff. The chairperson of this committee shall be the Vice President for the Part-Time Instructional Staff. Go the CAP web page to learn more.

Name: Lynne Turner
Title: Vice President for Part-Time Personnel
Contract Enforcement

The Contract Enforcement Committee is a committee established by the Principal Officers comprised of PSC elected leadership and PSC staff. This committee provides oversight and assists in strategy for grievances, arbitrations, PERB filings, and other contract enforcement actions. The Committee also considers strategies to address developing and anticipated contract enforcement issues. These strategies may include grievances and/or organizing strategies, legal actions, political action, or recommendations for labor-management consultations or referrals to the Negotiations Committee for follow-up.

Name: Penny Lewis

Title: Co-Chair

Name: Felicia Wharton
Title:  Co-Chair

The Elections Committee is a standing committee of the DA.

RESPONSIBILITIES: The Election Committee is elected by the Delegate Assembly. Under article viii, section 3a of the PSC Constitution the Election Committee shall: draft rules and requirements for elections and the filling of vacancies to be considered for adoption by the Delegate Assembly, conduct elections of the Professional Staff Congress, review and make recommendations to the Delegate Assembly regarding disputed elections, and conduct referenda authorized under Article XIII, Section 5.

Members Alternates
Erik Freas
Marcella Bencivenni Tony Gronowicz
Marissa Moran Peter Kolozi
Marcia Newfield Steve Leberstein
Kathleen Offenholley Cara Murray
Claudia Shacter-deChabert John Pittman
Michael Spear Laura Tanenbaum
Name: Kathleen Offenholley
Title: Chair
Environmental Health and Safety

PSC Environmental Health and Safety (PSC EHS), a committee of the Executive Council, serves our members by helping to identify health, safety and environmental issues that could cause problems in our working environment. The committee (aka HS Watchdogs) work with members and with local chapters to investigate and motivate management to insure an environment free of occupational hazards. We believe that work should not be dangerous to our health, and that sustainable environments support sustainable (healthy) people.

A healthy and safe working environment is a right and not a privilege.

Name: Jean Grassman
Title: Coordinator
Name: Susan Fountain
Title: Coordinator
Name: Contact
Phone:  212-354-1252 (Ask for Health and Safety)
Environmental Justice Committee

OUR FOCUS: Climate change is a fact. The wider and deeper the understanding of its nature, its causes and its impact, the more effective the PSC can be in crafting an appropriate response.

Clearly, in the realm of public policy, responses to climate change raise questions of environmental justice that, directly and indirectly, now and over the long term, affect the CUNY community and the city of which it is a crucial part. We believe that the PSC must work actively within the university and with allies outside to share information and mobilize support for initiatives that place racial and class equity at the center of public responses to the climate crisis. Our particular focus is the CUNY community and its constituency.

The Environmental Justice Working Group will:

  • work with our City University partners to widen and deepen the understanding across the CUNY community of the nature, causes and impact of climate change
  • take a census of faculty who teach climate change-related courses as well as those who administer climate related initiatives centrally and on the campuses;
  • coordinate CUNY-wide discussions of the possibilities for information sharing and collaboration;
  • support CUNY’s clean energy and community solar efforts, and the many campus-based initiatives that elevate environmental justice issues through teaching, activism, and the building of community a
  • work to define a distinctive PSC perspective on what an environmental justice agenda for CUNY should look like;
  • evaluate the most effective ways to collaborate with environmental justice groups outside the university, and particularly our sister unions;
  • hold forums and workshops to facilitate the above.

We believe that these objectives are not only legitimate in themselves for a social movement union, but have the potential to draw additional members to an active role in union life.

Go to our web page for a full overview of the committee and its activities.

Name: Nancy Romer
Title: Chair

The Finance Committee, a standing committee of the Executive Council, is authorized to make recommendations to the EC regarding the finances and budget of the Professional Staff Congress. The Treasurer chairs this committee. It meets on a quarterly basis and is responsible for developing a proposed annual budget and reviewing all annual audits. The committee also reviews quarterly investment reports thereby making sure that the union’s investment policy is adhered to. Recently, the committee’s responsibility was increased to include the revision of the PSC’s annual 990 report.

Name: Felicia Wharton
Title: Chair
Grievance Policy

The Grievance Policy Committee is a committee of the Executive Council. The Grievance Policy Committee reviews all PSC grievances once Step 2 is complete. The Committee makes determinations concerning further action on the grievances reviewed. The University-wide Grievance Counselor is a non-voting ex officio member of the Committee.


The International Committee, a committee of the Executive Council, was formed to help members and leaders better understand how international economic and political developments inform the political conditions we face locally in the PSC. The pressure to privatize public universities and create an increasingly contingent workforce is not unique to this country, nor is it best understood in the national context alone. We meet one Saturday per month to discuss readings, develop resolutions to propose to the union’s Delegate Assembly, and hear presentations by invited speakers—often from academic unions in other countries.

A significant part of our work is also leading the union’s campaigns to extend solidarity to academics and trade unionists abroad. To that end, we have engaged with unionized faculty around the world. Our conference on globalization and academia drew participants from Canada, Mexico and beyond; our solidarity work has included organizing demonstrations calling for an end to the repression of teachers in Mexico, and organizing a donation of computer equipment to the teachers’ unions in Haiti after the earthquake of 2010.

Our committee’s efforts to connect PSC members with their global colleagues have led the union to partner with several international organizations. The TriNational Coalition in Defense of Public Education in the Americas, for example, brings together the NAFTA countries of Canada, Mexico and the United States, and the Initiative for Democratic Education in the Americas (the IDEA Network) joins teacher unions in the Western Hemisphere for research on common topics.

Name: Immanuel Ness
Title: Chair
Name: Tony O’Brien
Title: Secretary

The Committee on Legislation, a standing committee of the Executive Council, organizes opportunities throughout the academic year for members to address their elected officials about their jobs, CUNY’s operating and capital budgets, and legislative initiatives such as reforming state Unemployment Insurance rules covering adjunct faculty.

All members are welcome at monthly meetings.

Name: Heather James
Title:  Chair
Phone: 646-737-4496.
Name: Bettina Damiani
Title: PSC Staff
Library Faculty

The Committee for Library Faculty, a standing committee of the Delegate Assembly, is responsible for the consideration of concerns and the recommendation of policies related to library faculty employed at all units of CUNY.

Name: Alycia Sellie
Title: Chair
Membership Retention Crisis Committee

This committee is an ad hoc committee of the Delegate Assembly created to address drop in union membership due to adjunct layoffs and to provide mutual aid to those who were laid off. The committee’s goals are to draw laid-off members closer to the union, explore in the short-term all possible ways to help those who have lost their jobs, and pursue long-term solutions to the problem of membership and work continuity in the face of austerity. The committee will explicitly involve laid-off members in its work.

Name: Manny Ness
Title: Chair
Phone: 646-427-2686

The Committee on Contract Negotiations is one of four standing committees of the Executive Council. The committee develops union proposals for contract negotiations and negotiates agreements with the City University of New York and the Research Foundation of the City University of New York. Contract proposals are presented to the Executive Council and the Delegate Assembly for approval. Contract settlements are presented to the Executive Council for recommendation to the Delegate Assembly.

Our Bargaining Team
Michael Batson
Lawrence Bosket
James Davis
Luke Elliott-Negri
David Hatchett
Amy Jeu

Penny Lewis
Angel Martinez
Sharon Persinger
George Sanchez
Claudia Shacter-deChabert

Youngmin Seo

Pam Stemberg
Lynne Turner
Sharon Utakis
Andrea Vásquez
Felicia Wharton


The Pension Committee is a standing Committee of the Executive Council. It is charged with matters of pensions, annuities and retirement benefits.

Members of the Committee:

Emily Schnee (Co-Chair), [email protected]

Diane Menna (Co-Chair)

Bob Cermele

James Cohen

Susan DiRaimo

David Hatchett

Marcia Newfield

Sharon Persinger

Felicia Wharton

Safety Net

In the wake of the Great Recession of 2008-2009, attacks against Social Security, public sector pensions, Medicare and other social safety net programs have escalated — all part of an ominous political thrust to shift the burden of the municipal, state and federal budget crises to working families and the poor.

The attacks on these programs constitute a major threat to the wellbeing of the next generations of American workers, as well as to those currently depending on retirement, survivor or medical benefits.

In response, the Retirees’ Chapter in October 2010 formed a Social Safety Net Working Group. At its February 2011 meeting, the PSC Executive Council voted to expand what started out as a chapter initiative into a union-wide campaign.

The primary purpose of the campaign was to:

Educate our own members, especially younger in-service members, about the issues.
Set the record straight about these programs by dispelling the misinformation used to undermine support for them.
Join larger coalitions already formed in defense of the social safety net.
The group, initially consisting of nine retirees, has met regularly to review literature on safety net programs and to develop resources on three areas in particular to be used in an educational campaign:

Retirement Insecurity: Pensions andSocial Security
Healthcare: Medicare and Medicaid
Putting Food on the Table: Food Stamps and Unemployment Insurance
The group’s first task was to draft a short, plain-spoken booklet explaining the programs and why their support is crucial. Its second was to plan a major forum.

Name: Jim Perlstein
Title: Co-Chair
Name: Lolly McIver
Title: Co-Chair
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