Spring chapter election results
HEO Chapter Chair Cynthia Bink, right, discusses staff issues with local chapter members at her home campus, City Tech.
When Kathleen Offenholley taught at Brookdale Community College in New Jersey, her union chapter leader encouraged her to get more involved with the union. While she considered herself to be very pro-labor, Offenholley felt she couldn’t contribute her time and energy, because she had a 5-year-old son and little spare time. Maybe when he was older she could get more involved, she told her chapter leader.
With her son now graduating from college, Offenholley, a professor of mathematics at Borough of Manhattan Community College and the outgoing vice chair of the PSC campus chapter, is taking the next step. She was recently elected the new chapter chair in the PSC’s Spring elections, taking over for outgoing chair Geoff Kurtz.
“I’m really passionate about justice for adjuncts, so I want to keep working on that,” she said, adding she wants to continue the chapter’s practice of including College Laboratory Technicians and Higher Education Officers in labor-management meetings. In addition to Offenholley, several new chapter chairs, including two for the newly formed chapters representing CUNY Research Foundation (RF) units, won seats in the recent elections.
Antonica James now leads the RF Field Unit chapter.
Locally, Offenholley said, “We’ve been looking at reassigned time for coordinators of programs because sometimes they get that time and sometimes they don’t get it. It’s really not very systematic and our president has told us that she doesn’t want to give more reassigned time. For some people it’s a huge extra workload.”
Cynthia Bink, the director of counseling services at City Tech, is the new HEO chapter chair (the previous chapter chair, Andrea Vásquez, remains the union’s first vice president). An activist with the chapter since she started at City Tech, she got her start in academic unionism at Passaic County Community College in New Jersey.
“I saw by organizing we could create change,” she said, recalling how administrative workers fought back against the threat of termination without due process through on-campus demonstrations and strong bargaining. “We would all wear black and walk around the building” after several workers were suddenly fired, she said. “After a while, we won a raise and more job security.”
Since coming to City Tech 15 years ago, Bink has experienced the problems HEOs and other members face throughout CUNY. She has campaigned for the administration to address a mold problem in one of the college’s main buildings, where the problem has not been fully solved and some workers are still reporting health problems. Bink added that incumbent HEOs are not getting reclassified, causing HEOs to be both overworked and denied avenues for more pay. Lack of reclassification and having few differential requests approved, Bink said, are some of the biggest issues for HEOs throughout CUNY right now.
Stepping into the HEO chapter chair role is a big deal, she said. She will be addressing issues in all five boroughs, not just at one campus. “I’m curious about what’s going on at the other campuses,” Bink said. “I hope I can listen more. People need to be heard more than anything. I need to go out there and talk to more than the people who go to the Delegate Assembly.”
But she is confident she can step into the job. “HEOs have organizing in their blood,” Bink said, joking that in addition to counseling students in her City Tech job she’ll also be counseling her fellow union members as chapter chair. “We run events and programs. We offer something to the union.”
Scott Cally, an assistant professor of theater arts at Kingsborough Community College, is the new chapter chair for the South Brooklyn two-year campus chapter. Cally, a theatrical lighting designer by trade, was elected in a contested election, replacing Rina Yarmish, who served in the position for two decades.
“I started being active with PSC because I was a grievant and the union saved my job,” said Cally, who began at Kingsborough 13 years ago.
On the local front, he said he wants the chapter to focus on increasing administrative transparency and addressing the declining enrollment on campus (see Clarion’s story on the campus’s enrollment crisis in the December 2018 issue).
“There are large questions about what decision-making is happening on campus,” Cally said. “What is being done about the enrollment? Our facilities are deteriorating at an alarming rate – pipes burst and the heating and air conditioning often aren’t functioning. We’ve had a lot of encouraging words from the administration, but we’re really going to be demanding to see some results.”
More generally, Cally, who is also a member of United Scenic Artists, Local USA 829 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, said that he believed that after the next contract is settled, the union can begin discussions about equity for community college faculty.
Cristina Moore was elected the chair of the Hunter College Campus Schools Chapter. She told Clarion she had served as vice chair but decided to step up into the chapter chair role in order to better serve the membership after the previous chair retired.
“We are a high school and elementary school in one building and there seems to be some inequities among the schools that I have been trying to rectify,” Moore said. “We also got the wrong amount of back pay, which we fixed and the employees have all been paid accurately.”
The Spring elections also yielded two new union leaders for the PSC’s small but important private-sector membership. The members in PSC’s Research Foundation chapters see the importance of staying organized beyond getting together when it is time to negotiate a contract. For several years, the chapters functioned without formal representation in the PSC’s Delegate Assembly – but not anymore.
“I just want to see us…use the power of the union to improve the lives of people here,” said Charles Chaung, the newly elected chapter chair of the RF Central Chapter. Chaung was a part of the bargaining committee that negotiated the RF Central’s last contract. When it was time to elect a leader, he was ready. “I figured that I could step up and do that,” Chaung said.
For Antonica James, the recently elected chair of the Research Foundation Field Unit Chapter, the power of the union comes from unity. She was surprised when she found out that there was no leadership in the unit. For her, the granddaughter of a Teamsters shop steward, becoming a chapter chair was a no-brainer.
“This is a big deal. This is important,” James told Clarion. “We weren’t organized and we should be. And we can be.”
RF workers in the PSC bargain separate contracts from the PSC-CUNY contract since the Research Foundation is a private nonprofit employer. Both units, the RF Central and the RF Field Unit chapters, have time to organize before their next round of bargaining. RF Central’s contracts expire at the end of 2022; the RF Field Unit Contract expires in the summer of 2021.
A senior business systems analyst, Chaung sees his new role as identifying members’ issues and ensuring that the workplace is equitable. “It’s also important,” he said, “to ensure that the contract is being followed and to strategically frame the issues in order to get the most traction from management when in contract bargaining.”
James, a retention and engagement specialist at City Tech, is focused on building her chapter across the three campuses it covers: City Tech, LaGuardia Community College and the Graduate Center. She said she knows her issues and the issues at her campus, but she needs to identify other members’ issues that aren’t similarly situated. For her, building the RF Field Unit Chapter means doing mundane but important tasks: setting up the structure of regular meetings, mobilizing around workplace issues and ensuring that she and her colleagues have a face and a voice within the PSC.
“I hope to see our membership grow and have people take on what we’re doing,” James said. “I want to see members be proud to be a part of this chapter.”
The newly elected leaders will serve three-year terms. Half of the PSC chapters held elections for local leaders this year; the other half will vote in spring of 2020. Union-wide elections for officers and the Executive Council took place last year and will be held again in the spring of 2021. Both local officers and union-wide officers serve three-year terms.
Complete results of all the chapter officers elected last month are on the PSC website.
PSC Election Results
Borough of Manhattan Community College:
Chair, Kathleen Offenholley; Vice Chair, Robin Isserles; Secretary, Anthony Creaco; Officers-at-Large, Yakov Genis, Yolanda Medina, Charles Post, George Stevenson; Delegates to the DA, Anthony Creaco, Angeles Donoso Macaya, Erik E. Freas, Deborah Gambs, Anthony Gronowicz, James Hoff, Craig Hutchinson, Robin Isserles, Andrew Levy, Hemalatha Navaratne, Owen Roberts, Sharell Walker, Brianne Waychoff; Alternates to the DA, David Allen, Heather James, Ines Carrera Junco, Andrew Smallwood, Rebecca Smart, Michelle Wang; Welfare Fund Advisory Council, Hyacinth Martin, Wambui Mbugua
Brooklyn Educational Opportunity Center:
Chair, Felicia Wharton; Vice Chair, Angel Calderon; Secretary, Irene Dascher
College of Staten Island:
Chair, George Sanchez; Vice Chair, John Lawrence; Secretary, Peter Galati; Officers-at-Large, Jillian Baez, Carol DeMeo, Catherine Lavender, Susan Mee-Crimmins; Delegates to the DA, Cesar Arenas-Mena, Michael Batson, Jonathan Cope, Cary Karacas, John Lawrence, Ruth P. Silverberg, Nelly Tournaki; Alternates to the DA, Valerie Forrestal, Maureen Garvey, Christina M. Hagedorn, Halil Ege Ozen, Chang-Hut Shen; Welfare Fund Advisory Council, Philippe Marius, Donna Scimeca
Higher Education Officers:
Chair, Cynthia Bink; Vice Chair, Janet Winter; Officers-at-Large, Angela Eustace, Zoraida Hernandez, Sara Mazes; Delegates to the DA, Anthony Andrews, Jeffrey Ballerini, Lawrence Bosket, Rachel Brown, Arthur Ben Chitty, Iris Delutro, Zee Dempster, Myrlene Dieudonne, Victoria Dolan, Marva Frederick, Renee Freeman-Butler, John Gallagher, Rulisa Galloway-Perry, Jennifer Harrington, Sharon Hawkins, Justyna Jagielnicka, Vanessa Jennings, Karlene Johnson, Barbara Kopp, Jennifer Lee, Isela Lopez, Pedro Luna, Philippe Marius, Graciano Matos, C. Mark Miller, Darryl Minor, Chastity Norman, Keith Okrosy, Victoria O’Shea, Geniece Pacifici-Elejalde, Gogie Padilla, Maria Patestas, Jesus Perez, Daliz Perez-Cabezas, Marcus Richardson, Anita Rivers, Alexander Romeo, Samina Shahidi, Michele Stewart, Andrea Vásquez, Kathryn Wayler, Janet Winter, Diana Zechowski; Alternates to the DA, Shakia Brown, Andrea Garnett-Lovell, Karen Johnson, Maureen LaMar, Mary Murphy, Anthony Parrella, Peter Santiago, Billy Wang
Hunter Campus Schools:
Chair, Cristina Moore; Vice Chair, Irving Kagan; Secretary, Kelly McDougall; Officers-at-Large, Philip Frankel, Barbara Ghnassia, Sylvia Schaindlin, Lee Weinberg; Alternate to the DA, Sonya Glasser
John Jay College of Criminal Justice (Special Election):
Alternates to the DA: Sami Disu, Jayne Mooney, Sandra Swenson
Kingsborough Community College:
Chair, Scott Calley; Vice Chair, Christopher Chapman; Secretary, Mary Dawson; Officers-at-Large, Gregory Aizin, Donald Hume, Mohamed Lakrim, William Rooney; Delegates to the DA, Vincent Cuccia, Morris Didia, Maureen Fadem, Maria Hernandez, Tanya Johnson, Rick Repetti, Rina Yarmish; Alternates to the DA, Tamara Bellomo, Tian Cai, Susan Ednie, Ayalur Krishnan, Michael Rosson; Welfare Fund Advisory Council, Yves Etienne, Thomas Mintz
Chair, Robert Farrell; Vice Chair, Mary Frances Phillips; Secretary, Ayanna Alexander-Street; Officers-at-Large, Eleanor T. Campbell, Joseph Fera, David Hyman, Wingyun Mak; Delegates to the DA, Ayanna Alexander-Street, Diane Auslander, Eleanor T. Campbell, David Manier, Abigail Mellen, Mary Frances Phillips, Ruth Wangerin; Alternates to the DA, Thomas Conroy, Humberto Lizardi, Nara Roberta Molla da Silva, Sarah Soanirina Ohmer, Jennifer Poggiali; Welfare Fund Advisory Council, Dana Fenton
Manhattan Educational Opportunity Center:
Chair, Karen Berry; Vice Chair, Samuel Paul; Secretary, Jacqueline Andrews; Officers-at-Large, Catherine Nelson, Lawrence Williams; Alternate to the DA, Latoya Cameron
Medgar Evers College:
Chair, Clinton Crawford; Vice Chair, Shirley Daniels; Secretary, Verna Green; Delegates to the DA, Janice Bloomfield-Alves, David Hatchett, Yvanne Joseph; Welfare Fund Advisory Council, Kamau Chow-Tai, James Gaynor
New York City College of Technology:
Chair, Benjamin Shepard; Vice Chair, Carole Harris; Officer-at-Large, Kyle Cuordileone; Delegates to the DA, Nora Almeida, Meghan Behrent, Sandra Cheng, Andrew Douglas, Reneta Lansiquot-Panagiotakis, Angela Loguercio, Sean MacDonald, Annie Ngana-Mundeke, Konstantinos Panayotakis, Patricia Rudden, Shauna Vey; Alternates to the DA, Gwen Cohen Brown, Sarah Ann Standing, Mark Noonan, Christopher Swift
Queensborough Community College:
Chair, Edmund Clingan; Vice Chair, Julian Stark; Secretary, Mike Cesarano; Officers-at-Large, Linda Hart, Susan Jacobowitz, Phil Pecorino, Clara Wajngurt; Delegates to the DA, Clarence J. Hall Jr., Daniel Mann, Hayes Mauro, Wally Rosenthal, Julian Stark, Joseph Vallone; Alternate to the DA, Susan Jacobowitz; Welfare Fund Advisory Council, Clara Wajngurt
Research Foundation Central Office:
Chair, Charles Chaung; Vice Chair, Evan Michelin
Research Foundation Field Units:
Chair, Antonica James; Vice Chair, Lori Rothstein
Chair, William Friedheim; Vice Chair, Robert Nelson; Secretary, Marva Lilly; Officers-at-Large, Michael Frank, Constance Gemson, Doris Hart, Lawrence Rushing; Delegates to the DA, Robert Cermele, Jacqueline DiSalvo, Glenn Kissack, Cecelia McCall, Eileen Moran, Bonnie Nelson; Alternates to the DA, Anne Friedman, Mark Goldberg, Raymond Hoobler, David Kotelchuck, Marcia Newfield; Welfare Fund Advisory Council, Irwin Yellowitz