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Home » Clarion » 2022 » December 2022 » Contract bargaining team assembles

Contract bargaining team assembles

Developing contract demandsBy ARI PAUL & SHOMIAL AHMAD

Amy Jeu (Credit: Erik McGregor)

George Emilio Sanchez (Credit: Dave Sanders)

The union’s bargaining team is made up of 17 members of the PSC Executive Council, consisting of full-time and part-time faculty and HEO and CLT representatives. Some members have served on previous PSC bargaining teams. Some are new. This year, to assist the bargaining team, the Executive Council has formed several demand development committees in areas of critical importance to members: educational technology and educational quality, contingent and part-time work, work-life balance and professional respect, and common good and health and safety.


The current PSC-CUNY contract expires at the end of February 2023. All bargaining team members have voiced a commitment to winning a fair contract.

George Emilio Sanchez, a senior college officer on the PSC Executive Council, is looking forward to serving on the union’s contract bargaining team for the first time. “It just feels like it’s a very important role,” Sanchez said. “The responsibility is pretty intense.”

The bargaining team meets regularly to devise the bargaining agenda that PSC delegates will later ratify. This process includes long deliberations over union priorities and members’ needs, outreach to different constituent groups and research to formulate the best arguments to persuade and move management. Members should prepare to mobilize. Sanchez believes it’s going to be a big fight to win pay raises that go beyond inflation.


For Pamela Stemberg, a part-time personnel officer, serving on the bargaining team is a way to deepen her longtime commitment to advocating for colleagues and students. “I’m looking forward to sitting across the table from CUNY rather than thinking of how many times I’ve yelled at them at Board of Trustees hearings,” she said.

Stemberg hopes to make the process of negotiating a contract more accessible to PSC members. She also hopes to build on the union’s progress on adjunct wages in the last contract and professionalize their role in the university community.

Ángel Martinez, a part-time personnel officer, wants CUNY management to really know what the life of an adjunct is like. “Driving across the George Washington Bridge to get to work is one thing if you’re a full-timer, but another thing if you’re a part-timer. To travel from one campus to another could be a daunting task,” he said. “This is New York City. The cost of living has skyrocketed. I have this obligation to put a human face on this…. We have homeless adjuncts. We have adjuncts who live in precarity.”


The bargaining team also has former leaders who have served on previous bargaining teams. This is the third time Sharon Persinger, former PSC treasurer and current university-wide officer, has participated in bargaining. This year she serves on the Educational Technology Demand Development Committee.

The pandemic made online teaching more complicated, she noted, which has inspired members to build off the previous contract gains that regulate online teaching observations. Improved labor and academic freedom protections can be won this time around in terms of online teaching, she said, noting, “We taught online for more than two years. There were a lot of things that were accepted because we were in a crisis.”

Professional staff are also focusing on issues that are needed for the titles they represent. Amy Jeu, a cross-campus officer and a college laboratory technician at Hunter College, noted that some CLTs are working multiple jobs in order to survive on CUNY salaries and that the workload is increasing. Like many CLTs, HEOs and library faculty members, she wants to explore contractual provisions for remote work options in addition to across-the-board raises.

PSC Treasurer Felicia Wharton is another first-time bargaining team member. Along with her fellow team members, she has been busy listening to different sectors of the union, including the PSC Environmental Health and Safety Committee, HEOs and CLTs. “I like to listen to the members and really get an idea of their experiences,” she said. “By actively listening, [you think of] ways of how to construct [an issue] as a demand.”


The other members of the PSC bargaining team are Michael Batson, senior college officer; Lawrence Bosket, university-wide officer; Iris DeLutro, vice president for cross-campus units; James Davis, PSC president; Luke Elliott-Negri, university-wide officer; David Hatchett, vice president for senior colleges; Penny Lewis, PSC secretary; Youngmin Seo, university-wide officer; Lynne Turner, part-time personnel officer Sharon Utakis, vice president for community colleges; and Andrea Vásquez, PSC first vice president.

Published: November 21, 2022 | Last Modified: November 30, 2022

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