results are in from the PSC’s chapter elections for 2001. Half
the chapters held elections this year, and three of the twelve
races were broadly contested. At College of Staten Island and NYC
Tech, incumbents were defeated by New Caucus slates, while at
Lehman College the largely incumbent Academics Caucus turned back
a New Caucus challenge.
also a changeover in the leadership of the Higher Education
Officers Chapter, the union’s largest, with the New Caucus
winning all positions. Only one of the HEO positions, a delegate
slot, was contested.
results mean that the New Caucus now has a solid majority in the
PSC’s Delegate Assembly, a shift in which the HEO Chapter’s 14
delegates were the single biggest factor. In the uncontested
elections there were many “fusion” slates, with people who had
been on different sides of the 2000 union-wide elections running
were mailed out to members on April 2, and counted on April 24.
The races at CSI, Lehman and NYC Tech were tallied at the American
Arbitration Association, while the rest were counted by staff at
the PSC Central Office.
count at the American Arbitration Association, April 24.
Standing (from left) are candidates Shirley Beheshti, Sharon
Swacker and Bob Cermele of NYC Tech; John Mineka of Lehman: and a
staff member of AAA.
Vasilios Petratos of the New Caucus edged out Mohamed Yousef of
the Staten Island Independent Caucus (renamed from “Unity” for
this year’s election) by 87-74. “I have had a long run, 31
years as a chapter chair,” said Yousef. “I think that may be a
record, so I have absolutely nothing to be sad or bitter about. We
have been trailblazers for unions in higher education.” He
added, “I’ll be working closely with Vasilios and his
group—we’re like a family on Staten Island.”
Petratos thanked everyone who had voted for both sides.
“I want to reassure you that we are representing everyone and
are closing our ranks in solidarity,” he told chapter members.
“Our common ground unites us.”
Tech, Robert Cermele of the New Caucus defeated John Donoghue of
the City University Unity Caucus for chapter chair by a wide
margin, 153-43. “We were quite shocked at the results, to tell
you the truth,” Donoghue told Clarion. He said that the
chapter’s new leadership had “promised an awful lot and now
they’re going to have to come through with it.” Cermele said
he was “gratified that the great majority of our faculty at NYC
Tech shared our vision for a responsive union chapter that will
involve the membership and, through democratic means, create an
effective, powerful force.” Both sides noted that there had been
a much higher turnout than in past elections, with almost double
the usual number of votes. “The level of interest in this
election was really quite amazing,” said Donoghue.
Helene Silverman ran for chapter chair uncontested, on the newly
formed Academics Caucus slate. In the vice chair race, Manfred
Philipp of Academics defeated John Mineka of the New Caucus 95-59.
“Both slates at Lehman ran on a platform of supporting the
PSC’s officers in the current contract negotiations,” said
Philipp, despite differences over local issues such as the
frequency of chapter meetings. Philipp and Mineka both noted that
Lehman has been going through a financial crisis, and Mineka said
that this “climate of uncertainty” may have led many faculty
to stick with the incumbents. “I think people have appreciated
the way we’ve handled it,” said Philipp.
In the HEO
chapter, Jean Weisman of the New Caucus was unopposed to become
the new chapter chair. “We will work together with other PSC
members to win a contract which includes significant salary
increases, a promotional series for HEOs, overtime pay and job
security,” she said. Outgoing chapter chair Stu Zuckerberg told
Clarion, “The people taking over are well
experienced—they’ve been contributors to the HEO chapter.”
The new and old teams agree on the main issues facing HEOs,
Zuckerberg said, “so I think things are going to work out
elections demonstrate how democratic processes unite us,” said
PSC First Vice President Steve London. “I’m gratified that the
union is coming together, and that the members sent a strong
message supporting the union’s new direction.”