Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Sharad Karkhanis Exposes Incompetence at the Professional Staff Congress

I just received this e-mail from Sharad Karkhanis's Patriot Returns site.

>Nine years ago, many PSC members had expectations that the New Caucus management of Barbara Bowen and Steven London would bring fresh energy, new ideas and direction to the competent but slow pace of activity under former PSC president Irwin Polishook. This was however followed by a rude awakening and very big DISAPPOINTMENT.

Instead of a real union, what they got in the Bowen/London New Caucus group was a militant political junta unconcerned with members' needs.

The experience of the past nine years clearly demonstrates that the Bowen/London group has led us to unprecedented disaster in Welfare Fund coverage and further disaster regarding negotiated contracts for members.

They have spent more time and more of our dues money trying to conduct United States foreign policy than they have negotiating, implementing or enforcing the contract.

They have spent more time, more energy and more of our dues money on demonstrations, parades and pickets than any other comparably-sized union in the City of New York, to no avail in terms of benefit to its members. New York City law enforcement has been required to dissipate valuable time and resources guarding these sheep in demonstrators' clothing while we members foot the bills in terms of out-of-pocket cost and loss of credibility.

These nonsensical demonstrations, including the one in front of the Chancellor's home (Click here) have served to render CUNY professional staff a laughing stock.

Expenditure of dues money on breakfasts, lunches, T-shirts, baseball caps and buses for demonstrations in Washington and Pennsylvania is highly irresponsible and wasteful of union members' dues money.

The Bowen/London gang have donated your money to such terrorists as Lori Berenson and Sami Al-Arian.

During their nine-year reign, the New Caucus group has presided over very significant reduction in prescription drug benefits. And they have so dissipated our previously-good dental coverage that it is today nearly non-existent.

They bankrupted the Welfare Fund and then re-funded it by co-opting our duly-deserved retroactive pay!

While UUP (the SUNY union) and UFT (the Teachers' union) achieved significant contractual gains, the Bowen/London New Caucus did not even get us salary increases approaching the increase in the cost of living. Our salaries have thus effectively decreased!

A group which hires a convicted felon as its house attorney and pays him handsomely from your dues money is irresponsible. Nor is it a group which cares for its members' grievances and complaints. Past issues of The Patriot are replete with stories of New Caucus misdeeds and misbehavior in the arena of grievance, all at your expense.

We at The Patriot yearn for a new beginning, for a new leadership whose motto will be "Members First." Contract negotiations, contract implementation and contract enforcement will constitute its primary responsibilities coupled with focus on improved welfare benefits and such political activity on State and local levels as is necessary to advance those causes which directly benefit members.

We deserve a union with focus on legitimate economic and professional concerns of its members, not one which wastes, month after month, the time of its elected delegates on discussion and passage of resolutions on international conflicts and every-social-issue-under-the-sun.

We have had enough.
We have endured enough.
We have suffered enough.
It is time to elect new leadership.
It's time for a real union, one with pragmatic focus on members' needs.


Sharad Karkhanis, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus

Issues of The Patriot may be accessed at
Archived editions are available at

As you know, Susan O'Malley has sought to silence the Patriot by bringing a lawsuit which seeks to limit his free speech and financially bankrupt him. Interested colleagues have weighed in at

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