A Long-Time Adjunct’s Response to Executive Council Member Statement

Mike believes that our present Union leadership wants to do away with the two-tier labor system at CUNY, and for that matter the two-tier system in the American University system as a whole. I too do not doubt this.

But what does doing away with the two tier system mean for this leadership and what would it mean for adjuncts?

Well, the answer is nobody really knows. We do not talk about it, say, at Delegate Assembly meetings, because our leadership has never brought it up. Since there are so many other more important matters concerning full-timers (the real university), we just have not had the time.

True, we followers are somewhat to blame for this subject being ignored, but….we are, after all, just followers. I believe the rules are to look at the leadership, if we must insist in continuing to play this right-wing game known as liberal democracy.

I have complained for years over the lack of democratic inclusion in our Union, and this is a prime example. The silence has been deafening.

Fusion (for those who know what this was) is another example of where a lack of democratic participatory opportunity once again reined over our heads. This project so potentially dear to all adjuncts was again begun, done and failed in quiet anonymity. Mike, why do you tout this failure?

Now as far as the PSC leadership’s valiant fight to maintain health insurance is concerned, if this Union cannot maintain the one serious benefit adjuncts have (which by the way only 12-15% of us obtain), then you guys should just hang up your hats.

Mike you also speak of the time and energy put into keeping adjunct concerns before the administration. But if this minimalist goal cannot be done (reminding the admin that we still exist), then what else would there be to do for adjuncts?

Yes, collecting data on the releasing of adjuncts could be useful, Mike, but what useful thing came of it, and what would the leadership do if they found something disturbing?

Now let’s get serious. What about the fight over Pathways, and how the PSC leadership denied adjuncts the right to vote on the issue of “no confidence.” This was an opportunity to root out some of that apathy to which you refer. But instead, you supported adjuncts not being included. Well, so much for democratic inclusion.

And what about the strict enforcement of the 9/6 rule? You admit yourself that it was a big mistake, but then suggest in the next line that maybe it was not that bad. However, I am sure you know that the very few conversion lines that came through for adjuncts did not come as a result of the 9/6 debacle.

Mike, you also suggest that the PSC leadership did not choose the historical moment we are presently living through, and this is true. But I have pushed for 15 years the idea that the PSC needs to go on a serious ideological offensive. We (excuse me – the Union leadership) have incredible resources at their finger tips, but these resources remain silent and unused.

Numerous concrete suggestions I and others have made have been simply ignored. In fact a number of full timers have left the Union because of this. And this is particularly why I cannot take this leadership serious or believe in their sincerity regarding adjuncts.

I love you Mike because you are a fellow being, a brother, but I do not appreciate your political actions.

Harry T. Cason, adjunct, College of Staten Island, CUNY

[To sign the open letter, go here.]

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