When PSC Membership Coordinator Diana Rosato retired last year, she felt that she had come “full circle” at the union. Her last several years were spent preparing the union for a post-Janus era, in which public-sector unions are no longer able to collect agency shop fees. Her earliest years had been spent steering the union membership through an equally difficult time, the fallout of the 1975 financial crisis.
But the union has grown since Rosato joined the PSC staff in 1977. For one thing, Rosato said, there were no computers and the staff was “bare bones” – she kept all information on neatly kept index cards, all of which are still on file and in mint condition, a testament to her fastidiousness. Today, the union boasts a large and sophisticated staff and a leadership that puts a tremendous amount of time and energy into organizing. “The devotion that [leadership and the union activists] have to their work is really amazing,” said Rosato.
Rosato grew up in Queens and graduated from St. John’s College with a political science and sociology degree. She wound up at the union after answering an advertisement for a legal assistant at the PSC in the New York Times. She didn’t get that job, but was offered a position working directly with the executive director and the PSC principal officers instead. It was a tough and busy time, but Rosato enjoyed the challenges and the experience of drafting financial documents, organizing conferences and proofreading contracts.
In 1983, she became membership coordinator, which Rosato recalled as a tough, but important job. “Membership is the heart of the union,” she said. “It’s the customer service of the union. It’s the dues that pay our salaries and the functioning of our office. It’s always been important to me to hear our members; It’s important to listen to members and to hear them, and to do the best to guide them.”
After eight years serving members as coordinator, Rosato stepped away from the union in 1991 to spend more time with her family and relocated to Yorktown, New York. But in 1998, the PSC called her to come back. After some consideration, she agreed.
Rosato encountered big changes in the union upon her return. Part-timers were entering the union, a monumental change that Rosato played a key role in managing the logistics of. Dues were no longer set at a flat rate, but restructured as a percentage system.
More recently, Rosato had been responsible for overseeing all computerized PSC member and non-member records pertaining to employees covered under the PSC contracts on CUNY and Research Foundation (RF) payrolls. She was also the resident expert on any and all things membership – from dues deductions, union codes, and refunds to membership benefits and membership status for both members and nonmembers, staff, officers, CUNY and RF personnel, New York City and New York State payroll agencies, CUNY payroll, human resources staff, Office of Labor Relations and PSC affiliates. A big part of Rosato’s legacy will be the hours she poured into digitizing decades-worth of union membership efforts, which will enable staff organizers and union activists to organize more efficiently and effectively.
“Diana’s extensive knowledge and mastery of the rules of membership was evident throughout the training process,” said Denyse Procope-Gregoire, who took over for Rosato last year. “She kept meticulous, well-organized records for every aspect of her job. She worked closely with PSC affiliates, CUNY, and city and state payroll agencies, building strong relationships to support her work. Exceptional excellence and competence defined her,” said Procope-Gregoire.
Rosato has served on several union committees and as a trustee for the Professional Staff Union pension plan for many years.
Rosato formally retired this past summer, but continued to work as a PSC consultant until December. Rosato, who lives in the Hudson Valley town of Cold Spring, New York, said that when the pandemic is over, she hopes to do some traveling and participate in community service. In addition to that, she hopes to take part in one of her favorite personal activities: researching her ancestorial roots in Italy and the former Yugoslavia.