Expatriate Owl

A politically-incorrect perspective that does not necessarily tow the party line, on various matters including but not limited to taxation, academia, government and religion.

Friday, May 12, 2006

The Elusive Agreement

Consistent with the expectations expressed in prior postings, the entries in this blog continue to be a bit fewer and far between than I would prefer, owing to the very robust schedule I have been keeping. This will likely continue for a while.

As alluded to in previous entries, one of the ongoing demands upon my time and energies is a part-time faculty position at a college of the City University of New York. In such capacity, for reasons explained in the posting of 18 December 2005, I am a (largely unhappy) member of the faculty union at CUNY, the Professional Staff Congress. And, just as the Transport Workers Union has yet to reach an agreement with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, so, too, is the PSC now attempting to finalize an agreement with CUNY. A tentative agreement has been struck between PSC and CUNY, but it needs to be ratified by the rank & file union membership (my personal inclination is to vote against it).

It is Friday, 12 May 2006. Since 26 April, all we have had to go on is a statement from PSC President Barbara Bowen describing the PSC-CUNY agreement, assurances on the PSC website that "There will be ample opportunity for members to discuss the settlement at chapter meetings on campus throughout the month of May. Members will also receive the complete proposed contractual agreement and explanatory materials before being asked to vote on ratification. Ratification ballots will be mailed in May."

I have yet to receive any ink-on-paper copy of the proposed contract, and am unaware of any other PSC member who has. And, in this age of the Internet, there is no actual posting on the PSC website of the proposed contract. Only a lick and a promise from Barbara Bowen.

As I recall, the TWU website featured, linked directly to its homepage, an actual document of their proposed agreement with the MTA (never mind that it was shot down by a mere seven votes when it went out for the ratification).

One would think that 16 days after the agreement, the monks at the scriptorium should have had ample time to make a few copies. But all that we hear is that the American Arbitration Association will send out copies "in May." And, of more than a small amount of concern, the PSC website still does not show the actual agreement!

The following passage from a United States Supreme Court opinion seems very relevant:

"Honesty of purpose prompts frankness of statement. Concealment is indicative of fraud."

--- Crosby v. Buchanan, 90 U.S. 420, 457 (1874).

I cannot help but harbor growing suspicions if the PSC continues to conceal The Elusive Agreement. These suspicions are nurtured by several 2nd and 3rd hand accounts that have been circulating of late, including some internet postings not only by individuals and organizations inherently hostile to Barbara Bowen's New Caucus slate (including here and here), but also from the blog of fellow CUNY faculty member Bill Ferns, who candidly admits his empathetic tendencies towards Barbara and the New Caucasians. [BTW, Bill's blog, The Ivory Soapbox, features a good analysis of the current standoff between PSC and CUNY, and is recommended accordingly, notwithstanding his political orientation that diverges from my own.]

All of this palabra from PSC and from the Chancellor is all well and good and interesting, but I am a lawyer, I am a former Department of Defense Contracting Officer, and I am a former IRS agent. I want to see the actual document!

Howcum it still has not been posted up on the PSC website?


  • At 12 May, 2006 14:58, Blogger Bill Ferns said…

    Don't be in such a hurry. I suspect that when we see the actual MOU (Memorandum of Understanding), it's going to be every bit as bad as you fear.

    My Pollyanna-ish instinct is to accept that we're burned on this contract, and start planning more effective strategies and tactics for the next negotiations in 18 months.


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