Leaving out top faculty
I am a life member of the PSC. My grandfather was a labor organizer and he was a proud member of the Workmen’s Circle.
I am not active in the union, and I don’t want to be. I feel privileged to teach at Baruch, but teaching, writing and service are privilege enough.
Our union appears not to represent me or my interests. I don’t view our role as one of political activism. I am not an adjunct. I am not a CLT or a HEO. But I am a hardworking, loyal professor of 35 years who has been at the top of this crappy salary scale for over 20 years. The best the union ever seems to want for me and my senior-faculty colleagues is a meager cost-of-living adjustment. I already teach 18 credits, so that concession on teaching load didn’t mean anything for me.
I understand CUNY does not want to pay us what we deserve. But I am practical, I am economically orientated, and I am a damn good advocate and negotiator. I do not believe the union is negotiating for me; its concerns, efforts and goals always lie elsewhere. When CUNY comes to terms with the PSC, there will only be so much money in the package. Senior faculty will again get short shrift if your agenda is achieved.
My union needs to make primary the problem of salary for senior faculty. I cannot remember a single email from the union saying you will advocate for me and colleagues like me. Your message and focus is always about others at CUNY.
Adjunct professors are part-time. As good as they are, and as low as the wage, your focus on doubling their pay takes budget away from the possibility of restoration of real wages for senior faculty. In an age of limited resources, why do your longest-serving members get the least bargaining focus? We deserve better from the union to which we have paid dues the longest.
I also wish the union would lay off the politics. Our cause is just. The frequent references to “right wing” politics and the political diatribe detracts from our message. The rhetoric is unnecessary and divisive, and it turns me off.
For now, I’ll stay a member, out of respect for my Zayde.
Seth E. Lipner