PSC Mourns the Passing of Former President Irwin Polishook
Irwin H. Polishook, President of the Professional Staff Congress/CUNY, Local 2334, AFT, AFL-CIO for 24 years from 1976 to 2000, died on September 13, 2019 at age 84. Polishook was a scholar of colonial America and taught History at Hunter and Lehman Colleges, CUNY. He was a founding leader of the PSC when it was formed through a merger of the Legislative Conference and the United Federation of College Teachers in 1972, and became president in 1976. He helped negotiate the union’s first contracts, led the PSC through the fiscal crisis of the 1970s and later staunchly resisted structural upheavals at CUNY. He was a leading voice for unions in higher education within the PSC’s affiliate, the American Federation of Teachers, and led the AFT’s Higher Education Program and Policy Council. Polishook was also a member of the Executive Committee of New York State United Teachers, the Steering Committee of the NYC Municipal Labor Committee and held offices in the American Association of University Professors. A video biography detailing Polishook’s accomplishments is posted on the CUNY Digital History Archive. It was produced to celebrate his retirement in 2000.
Polishook is survived by his wife Sheila, also a retiree member of PSC, his son Lewis, daughter-in-law Susan Sapiro, and two granddaughters. Donations in his memory may be made to the Belle Zeller Scholarship Trust Fund, which provides an annual graduate scholarship in his name. (Send c/o PSC 61 Broadway NY, NY 10006)
In the September Clarion
The Unpaid Work of Adjuncting
More than 275 CUNY adjuncts charted the time it took them to grade, plan lessons, teach and guide students using an online and mobile application that tracks time. The application shows how much time it takes for adjuncts to actually get the work done. And the numbers are alarming. Read about the union’s “Log Your Hours” project in this month’s Clarion.
Take the AFT Presidential Endorsement Survey
The PSC’s national affiliate, the American Federation of Teachers, is urging members to take part in the union’s presidential endorsement survey. (The AFT’s 2020 endorsement process is covered the May issue of Clarion.) Please take a moment to tell the AFT which issues are important to you. The Democratic candidates want our votes and the endorsement of our union. Let’s make sure that investment in high-quality, affordable public postsecondary education (one of the survey choices) is high on their list of priorities. For the survey, use PSC/CUNY and AFT #2334 for the local name and local number fields.
Student Walkout for Climate Change—Fri., Sept. 20
Meet-up Location for PSC Members Who Can March with Students
The global school walkout for climate change is happening this Friday, September 20. The PSC endorses the student walkout and urges union members to support the movement in ways that do not interfere with the fulfillment of their normal work responsibilities. In New York, participants will gather at Foley Square at 12 noon on the 20th, and then march to Battery Park at 1 PM for a rally featuring Greta Thunberg and local youth leaders. The PSC’s Environmental Justice Working Group invites PSC members who are not at work on Friday afternoon, September 20, to march with them in support of the students. Meet your PSC colleagues at 11:45 at the Southwest corner of Worth and Lafayette Streets. They will be carrying red PSC signs. The rally at Battery Park will run from 2:30 – 5:00 PM.