PSC ELECTION MATERIAL
Barbara Bowen, current president of the PSC, led the negotiations and campaign that won back pay, raises of more than 10 percent, and improved dental and optical benefits in the last contract – overcoming fierce opposition from Albany. She led the successful negotiation to reduce the teaching load for full-time faculty and is currently organizing the union’s campaign to win $7K per course for adjuncts, finally ending the exploitative labor system at CUNY. Under Barbara’s leadership, the PSC also achieved a breakthrough in reclassification for HEOs and a salary differential for CLTs and eligible HEOs with advanced degrees. These gains – together with three-year appointments for adjuncts, 80 percent pay for sabbaticals, paid parental leave, reassigned time for junior faculty and health insurance for graduate employees and adjuncts – represent a challenge to the politics of permanent austerity for CUNY. Barbara earned her PhD in English from Yale and holds faculty appointments at Queens College and the Graduate Center. She has published widely on 17th-century literature and feminist theory. She has gained a national reputation as a principled, effective labor leader. As PSC president, Barbara understands that the union’s power to challenge decades of planned underfunding of CUNY derives from the collective action of union members. Bowen believes that the current moment calls for ambitious and visionary unionism and that the PSC has an important role to play.
FOR FIRST VICE PRESIDENT
Andrea Ades Vásquez is associate director of the American Social History Project/Center for Media and Learning and managing director of the Graduate Center’s New Media Lab. She is also project director of the CUNY Digital History Archive. For nearly 20 years, Andrea has helped to organize HEOs across CUNY and, more recently, to reconstitute the Graduate Center PSC chapter. She has served on the PSC Executive Council for three terms and, in the last round of bargaining, on the negotiations committee, where she helped win improvements to HEO reclassification and a new HEO salary differential. She is a member of the Legislation Committee, the 7K Committee and the Archives Committee. Currently HEO chapter chair, Andrea has focused on recruiting new activists while spearheading implementation of the HEO contract provisions. She helped form 22 HEO labor management committees across CUNY, created a HEO resources web page and has trained dozens of HEOs to know and defend the contact. As First Vice President, Andrea would be eager to continue to represent HEOs and to expand her contributions and fight on behalf of all members, especially in the campaign for 7K. She is a staunch believer in the PSC’s principles and goals and seeks to strengthen and expand union participation and power.
Sharon Persinger has served as PSC Treasurer for the past three years. She was on the bargaining team for the most recent contract and for the recently signed agreement to reduce the teaching load for full-time faculty. She has been a trustee of the PSC-CUNY Welfare Fund since 2015 and serves on its audit committee. She serves on the Legislation Committee and the Contract Enforcement Committee, and represents the PSC on the NYSUT Higher Education Policy Council, its work group on Adjunct/Contingent Issues, and the AFT Civil and Human Rights Committee. Sharon is a CUNY graduate, with a PhD in mathematics from the CUNY Graduate Center and a master’s in computer science from City College. She is an associate professor in the department of mathematics and computer science at Bronx Community College. Born into a union family in West Virginia, Sharon learned about the importance and power of organized labor from the United Mine Workers.
Nivedita Majumdar is PSC Secretary, and associate professor of English at John Jay College. As a principal officer of the union, she is on the bargaining team and other major union committees. She is on the executive board of the AAUP Collective Bargaining Congress and the AFT Higher Education Programs and Policies Committee. Nivedita was on the bargaining team that negotiated the 2016 contract with retroactive pay, salary raises, teaching load reduction, and three-year contracts for teaching adjuncts. She was a chapter chair at John Jay College, spearheading the building of a dynamic chapter and leading a successful campaign on workload mitigation for full-time faculty. Nivedita has been active in progressive movements within and outside the university for more than 20 years in the United States and India. She remains committed to improving the working conditions of our members while ensuring that our union actively works with other forces to protect and nurture public higher education and promote a progressive social vision. Nivedita is an active scholar whose research interests include Marxist theory, postcolonial studies, theories of nationalism and cultural studies. Her edited book, The Other Side of Terror (Oxford, 2009) offers a left critique of terrorism discourse. She is currently at work on her next book on postcolonial theory and literature.
Luke Elliott-Negri is a graduate assistant at the CUNY Graduate Center, where he is the PSC chapter chair. He serves on the Bargaining Committee, the 7K Committee and the Working Families Party State Committee. His research interests include social movements and political parties. His forthcoming chapter in Professors in the Gig Economy: The Unionization of Adjunct Faculty in America analyzes the adjunct experience at CUNY since the formation of the PSC.
Michael Fabricant is professor at the Hunter College School of Social Work. For the past three years, he has been first vice president of the PSC, and he served for nine years as PSC treasurer. As the union’s legislative representative, Mike chairs the Legislation Committee and directs the PSC’s work on public funding for CUNY. He has served on every New Caucus bargaining team and is currently the union’s liaison to CUNY Rising, a community-student-labor coalition he helped to found. Mike has also served as the treasurer of the National Coalition of the Homeless and president of the Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless. With Steve Brier, he has recently completed the book Austerity Blues: Fighting for the Soul of Public Higher Education. He is the author or co-author of nine other books and numerous articles.
Steve London is associate professor of political science at Brooklyn College and a visiting fellowat the Murphy Labor Institute. Steve has served the union in many capacities: five terms as first vice president, one term as university-wide officer, chair of the Legislation and Contract Enforcement committees, member of the Negotiations Committee, trustee and executive officer of the Welfare Fund, and NYSUT director. A founder of the New Caucus, in the 1990s he was elected to three terms as Brooklyn College’s chapter chair and as University Faculty Senator. Steve will bring his deep understanding of academic unionism, his rich knowledge of the PSC and his fighting spirit to the new Executive Council.
George Emilio Sanchez is a performance artist and writer and a member of the faculty at the College of Staten Island. Most recently he created and presented a 24-hour “performance filibuster” on gun violence in the United States at Abrons Art Center. He continues to create performance works that address social and restorative justice. George is the chapter chair of the College of Staten Island as well as a member of the PSC Executive Council. He directs the Emerge NYC program that explores the intersection of arts and activism. George is the recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship and two New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowships.
Alia Tyner-Mullings is assistant professor of sociology at Guttman Community College. She has also taught at Hostos and Hunter and was a graduate assistant at the GC. Alia is the third generation of her family to earn a degree at and teach within CUNY. Coming from a background of civil rights and union activities, Alia became the first PSC chapter chair at Guttman in 2014. She is an editor of Critical Small Schools, and author of Writing for Emerging Sociologists, and The Sociology Student’s Guide to Writing, and of Enter the Alternative School. Alia has served one term on the PSC Executive Council and is on the Bargaining Committee.
Penny Lewis is associate professor of labor studies at the Joseph S. Murphy Institute. She has held many positions at CUNY, including graduate assistant, adjunct, high school teacher and instructor. She has also held many positions in the PSC, including organizer, delegate, and Executive Committee member. She is currently a senior college officer, and a delegate from the Graduate Center. Her research interests are labor, social class and social movements; she is the author of Hardhats, Hippies and Hawks: The Vietnam Antiwar Movement as Myth and Memory (Cornell, 2013) and co-editor of The City is the Factory: New Solidarities and Spatial Strategies in an Urban Age (Cornell 2017).
Michael Batson has been active in the union for more than ten years, serving on the Executive Council as a part-time personnel officer since 2009, and as the adjunct liaison to the College of Staten Island from 2007 to 2009. He is a lecturer in history at the College of Staten Island. As an Executive Council member, he has served on several committees, such as the contract Negotiations Committee and the Legislation Committee, and he has represented the Professional Staff Congress at conventions with our affiliates such as the American Federation of Teachers and the New York State United Teachers. Michael is currently on the Bargaining Committee preparing for the next round.
James Davis is professor of English at Brooklyn College, where he has taught since 2003. He has served since 2015 as Brooklyn College chapter chair. James has helped to lead campaigns on cross-title solidarity, adjunct equity and served on the PSC committee negotiating the teaching-load reduction for full-time faculty. Elected to leadership positions in the American Association of University Professors, he served on the AAUP’s Collective Bargaining Executive Council and is currently a candidate for the National Council. An American literature scholar, James has been a Leon Levy Biography Center fellow and recipient of Brooklyn College’s Claire Tow Excellence in Teaching Award.
David Hatchett is a lecturer in English at Medgar Evers College. He has been active in the PSC for more than 15 years. He was as a part-time faculty organizer at Medgar Evers and Hostos Community College from 2000-05. In 2005 he became the coordinator of the adjunct organizing project. He works with the New Caucus leadership at Medgar Evers and was member of the chapter’s Executive Committee from 2010-12 and is currently a representative of the chapter to the Delegate Assembly. He has served as a member New Caucus Governing Board and the PSC’s Executive Council on two occasions.
Lorraine Cohen, a lifelong activist for justice and professor of sociology at LaGuardia Community College, serves on the PSC Executive Council and is a member of the Bargaining Committee. As LaGuardia’s chapter chair, she helped organize against increased workload and served on the Workload Subcommittee for the bargaining team. She actively organized LaGuardia faculty and staff to become involved in the long struggle for a fair contract. Lorraine has been an outspoken advocate for CUNY faculty and staff and believes that the union must act in solidarity with our students, their families and communities. In 2005, Lorraine was NYSUT’s Higher Education Member of the Year.
Howard Meltzer is professor of music and art at BMCC. He began his career at CUNY as an adjunct at Baruch and BMCC, leaving in 1996 to take a full-time position at the non-union University of North Texas and then Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania. Howard returned to BMCC in 2003 and served as department chair from 2011 to 2016. He is a performer and researcher (technology, politics and music) and a longtime member of the American Federation of Musicians. He has served on two regional boards of the ACLU, Dallas and Central Pennsylvania, and represents BMCC at Delegate Assembly.
Michael Spear, assistant professor of history at Kingsborough Community College, is vice-chair of the Kingsborough PSC chapter and has served on the PSC Executive Council since 2011. He is on the PSC Bargaining Committee and the Legislation Committee and was co-chair of the Archives Committee. Michael served on the PSC sub-committee that negotiated the teaching reduction for full-time faculty. His scholarly research is on the New York City labor movement and post-World War II history. Michael’s article “In the Shadows of the 1970s Fiscal Crisis: New York City’s Municipal Unions in the Twenty-First Century” appeared in the September 2010 issue of WorkingUSA.
Sharon Utakis is professor in English at Bronx Community College, with a PhD in linguistics from the CUNY Graduate Center. Before coming to BCC in 2000, she taught as a contingent faculty member at City Tech, Baruch and Queens College, as well as at colleges in several other states. She has been part of the BCC chapter Executive Committee for many years and served as grievance counselor, among other roles, before becoming chapter chair in 2015. She has worked to make the chapter leadership more diverse and inclusive, and is a strong believer in one-on-one organizing.
Iris DeLutro, a senior counselor and CUNY-wide coordinator of the LEAP to Teacher Program of the Murphy Institute since 1984, is PSC vice president for Cross-Campus Units. She serves on the board of directors of NYSUT, the PSC bargaining team and the PSC Legislation Committee. She is also co-coordinator of the Political Action Committee for Queens. Iris has long been a leader in the PSC, and is known across CUNY campuses for her advocacy for all workers and for students. Iris works to ensure equity and advancement for the professional staff and to raise awareness of professional staff issues, including bullying in the workplace, changes to the time and leave time sheets, increased workload and the lack of a promotional system for HEOs and CLTs.
Myrlene Dieudonne has worked at New York City College of Technology as assistant director of Campus Services for five years. Prior to joining City Tech, Myrlene worked as Senior Program Manager at the Police Athletic League (PAL) providing career guidance and counseling for young adults. She is an active member of the HEO Steering Committee at City Tech, advocating for a better working environment and joining PSC campaigns with HEOs and faculty. Myrlene is also a member of the HEO chapter’s Executive Committee, serving as a delegate who represents the interests of HEOs at her campus and throughout CUNY.
Jacqueline Elliot is co-chair of the PSC Environmental Health and Safety Committee, the co-chair of the New York City College of Technology campus Health and Safety Committee, union-wide officer for the College Laboratory Technicians chapter, CLT campus rep, a member of the City Tech Executive Committee and a grievance counselor for the CLT chapter. She works in the biology department at City Tech and has mentored upcoming union activists for many years, encouraging her fellow union members to take their health and safety on the job seriously. She is also a proud graduate of the first class of the PSC’s Next Generation leadership training program.
Janet Winter earned her Bachelor’s degree from John Jay College, and has worked as an HEO there for 30 years. She is currently executive assistant to the director of public safety. She was a delegate, then elected secretary of the HEO Cross-Campus chapter and is currently vice chair of the chapter and a member of the PSC Health and Safety Committee. At John Jay she is on the HEO Labor Management Committee and attends campus labor management meetings. Janet has been involved in numerous campaigns and has a strong relationship with the faculty chapter, serving as a HEO representative.
Carly Smith is an adjunct lecturer in communication studies at Baruch College, where she has taught since 2008. She began her work at CUNY in 2005 as a graduate assistant and adjunct in theater at Brooklyn College. She is a PSC adjunct liaison, a delegate and serves as the vice chair of the Baruch chapter, where she has worked to build part-timer solidarity and organize around pay parity and job security. She has been active in various movements for economic and racial justice, LGBTQ rights and justice in Israel and Palestine. Her research interests include musical performance and global capitalism and the sociology of theater and opera; she has published on branding as cultural performance.
Susan DiRaimo is an adjunct lecturer in English as a Second Language at City College and Lehman and co-author of Life, Language and the Urban Experience. Her doctoral dissertation was on the political poetry of Pablo Neruda. Having served on the PSC Executive Council since 2003, Susan lobbies in Albany and testifies regularly at the Board of Trustees, especially for adjunct salary increases and against tuition increases. Susan is co-chair of the PSC Open Access Committee and on the board of the Belle Zeller Scholarship Fund. She is director of the Northwest Support Committee for the Homeless and received her adult nurse practitioner license from Lehman College.
Meg Kallman Feeley has been an adjunct lecturer in the department of English at Kingsborough Community College since a mid-career occupational disability propelled her to earn an MFA in creative writing from Goddard College in 2002. She serves as the liaison for part-timers at KCC and completed the union’s Leadership Development training program in 2017. She is especially interested in cross-title solidarity and organizing against the multi-tier systems of exploitation in higher education which she calls “tierism.” She could not be more proud to be a member of the PSC, but does wish we would sing more songs.
Blanca Vázquez is an adjunct associate professor in film and media studies at Hunter College. At the Center for Puerto Rican Studies, she was the founding editor of Centro Journal and a researcher on the Culture and Oral History Task Forces. In 2009, she received Hunter’s Cecile B. Insdorf Award for Excellence in Teaching for Part-Time Faculty. Blanca has been a PSC delegate, secretary of the Hunter chapter and liaison for part-timers. She served one term on the PSC Executive Council and was on the last bargaining team. She is a lifelong activist in movements for social justice, women’s equality and Puerto Rican self-determination.
Joan Greenbaum, an early scholar in the fields of technology and work, held faculty appointments at LaGuardia Community College and the Graduate Center. She has been a PSC delegate since 1993. Joan served for seven years as chapter chair at LaGuardia, where she initiated joint chapter meetings for faculty, CLTs and HEOs. Joan was a founder of the PSC Environmental Health and Safety Committee, which she co-chaired for many years. She started the CUNY-wide Watchdog program, which continues to take action on workplace health and safety. Joan is now editor of the Retirees’ newsletter Turning The Page and is on the Retiree Executive Committee.
Steve Leberstein retired as professor of history at City College in 2005. A founder of City College’s Center for Worker Education, he taught history and served as its executive director for more than 20 years. Steve is currently a member of the PSC Executive Council; he has been a grievance counselor, chaired the CCNY PSC chapter, the PSC Social Safety Net Working Group and still chairs the PSC Academic Freedom Committee. His proudest achievement was organizing the campaign to have the Board of Trustees formally apologize in 1982 to the over 50 faculty and staff members at City College who were fired in the Rapp-Coudert purge of 1940-41.