Congratulations to NCFI on their victory in the PSC election at the GC. And congratulations to CUNY Struggle candidate Andy Battle, who was elected alternate delegate at Hunter!
CUNY Struggle ran in this election because we wanted to build horizontal rank-and-file power and promote debate and democracy in our union. We consider taking a third of the votes at the GC a respectable showing, and a signal that our message resonated with a significant number of GC workers who reject the idea that there is no alternative to the failed strategy of neoliberal incrementalism which the New Caucus represents. We note, however, that the turnout was dismal: only 306 people cast ballots out of a potential 1,036 eligible voters. We’ve already detailed the anti-democratic effect of mail-in ballots, and we heard from numerous members who did not receive a ballot to their home address on time, even after requesting one from the PSC.
We consider this a win because our goals are not simply to assume power, but to transform the PSC into a different kind of organization–a militant, democratic body that recognizes the pernicious changes sweeping higher education and possesses the scope and imagination required to confront them. In the course of the campaign, the NCFI slate repeatedly and publicly claimed that it supported many of the demands on our platform, and publicly disavowed loyalty to PSC President Barbara Bowen — something we can be sure wouldn’t have happened without CUNY Struggle challenging them in the election.
Now is the time for NFCI to act on this rhetoric… let the reforms begin! For starters, CUNY Struggle members have begun drafting a series of democratic reforms to the PSC structure, the first of which would institute proportional representation in governance and open bargaining, and will be proposed at the May delegate assembly. We look forward to receiving the support of NCFI members on this initiative, along with our alternative delegate, Andy Battle. The NCFI leadership must also follow through on its commitment to hold democratic chapter meetings and institute procedures to that effect. As it stands there is no process in place for deliberation at chapter meetings, as we witnessed first-hand at last week’s GC chapter meeting, when a motion to vote for adopting a member’s proposal degenerated into chaos.
If you voted CUNY Struggle (or tried to, or believe that a challenge to the status quo is necessary), we thank you and we want to hear from you! We don’t expect the New Caucus’s storied history of talking like a social movement while acting like a business union to end anytime soon. And the New Caucus will happily spackel over the cracks that have emerged in their hegemony these last three months, invoking the same tired language of unity in the face of Trump, or whichever excuse comes next. This means we must not let up in building our own independent power inside and outside the PSC, toward the next contract campaign, and beyond.