The PSC’s Spring 2014 chapter elections were largely uncontested. The sole exception was at Hunter College, where ten candidates were running for the chapter’s nine Delegate Assembly positions.
Nonetheless, there was significant turnover in local chapter leadership. Eight new chapter chairs were voted in and more than half of those elected this spring are new to their positions.
The newly formed Guttman Community College chapter held its first election this spring, with a 50% voter turnout. The new school enrolled its first students in 2012, and its campus PSC chapter was officially established a little over a year ago.
Alia Tyner, an assistant professor at Guttman and its first PSC chapter chair, says the chapter is working to ensure that college policies provide bargaining unit members with the same rights as those at other CUNY campuses. “We’ve had several issues where the things created by Guttman were not aligned with the [PSC-CUNY] contract,” Tyner told Clarion.
“It’s an old saw to say, ‘The union is only as strong as its members make it,’” wrote Michael Handis, newly elected chapter chair at the CUNY Graduate Center, in a letter to chapter members. “But it’s an old saw that’s worth some reflection.” Handis urged members take an active role in building the union at the GC, “helping to create a space for representation, dialogue, solidarity and faculty strength.”
Sigmund Shen, the newly elected chapter chair at LaGuardia Community College, says members at his chapter are thinking about how to address pressing issues like full-time faculty work load and conditions for adjuncts. Shen, who has served as a PSC delegate for six years, says many are ready to join a strong contract campaign. “They’re hoping for significant movement,” he told Clarion, “and they’re hungry to know what they can do to get the most out of this contract.”
Albert Sherman, re-elected as chair of the CLT chapter, said its main issue is CUNY’s imposition of new timesheets: “But this chapter is strong, and I believe we will work it out.”
The elected slates were affiliated with the New Caucus, which has held union-wide office in the PSC since 2000, at every campus except Guttman, where candidates were unaffiliated. At Hunter College, all New Caucus candidates were elected and drew between 153 and 125 votes each. Sándor John, an adjunct associate professor of history who ran as an independent, received 61 votes in his unsuccessful bid for one of Hunter’s seats in the union’s Delegate Assembly.
PSC elections run on a three-year cycle: half of the chapters held elections for local leadership this year, while the other half voted last year. Election for Executive Council and other union-wide positions will be held in Spring 2015. Both local and union-wide officers serve three-year terms.