PAnorama: May 2003
to honor graduates
As part of the commencement ceremony this year, MVCC graduates will receive
keyrings from the Professional Association.
PA President Ellis Gage Searles will be on stage to congratulate each graduate
and present this keepsake on behalf of the membership. With the help of funding
from a NYSUT LAP grant, the PA is beginning what is intended to be an annual
Coin-style, bronze tone metal keyrings have been designed to show the PA logo
and motto on one side and the words "MVCC Graduate" encircled by "The
Faculty and Professional Staff Congratulate You" on the other. The commencement
program will contain a letter of congratulations from the PA Executive Board.
vision benefit selected
The MVCC PA Benefits Fund will provide a new vision plan beginning this summer.
Under the plan, bargaining unit members and their families will be eligible
for free annual comprehensive eye care services--eye exams, frames, and lenses--through
participating providers. Davis Vision, a NYSUT-endorsed company, was selected
by the Benefits Fund trustees at a meeting on May 6th.
Members and their families will be covered under Davis Vision's "Premier
Platinum" plan. It includes the following:
- a wide variety of frames
- choice of glass or plastic lenses
- all ranges of prescriptions including single vision, bifocal, trifocal,
- prescription sunglasses
- standard progressive lenses
- various coatings
- one-year breakage warranty
- fittings for contacts
- up to four multi-packs of plan contact lenses per year.
A number of local optometrists participate in the plan, including all Empire
Required enrollment by members for themselves and their families will be done
electronically through a link on the PA website that is now under construction.
An announcement will be made by email when the link has become operational.
A Summer Institute workshop has been scheduled for the morning of May 22nd.
Enrollment may be done at the session. Also, representatives of NYSUT Member
Benefits and Davis Vision will be there to answer questions and provide brochures.
A collection of sample frames will be available to try on.
The MVCC PA Benefits Fund was negotiated as part of our new contract. Trustees
of the Fund are Julie Dewan, Sam Drogo, Paul Halko, Ron Miller, and Ellis Gage
Searles. Paul Halko serves as Chair. Marie Czarnecki is the Fund Secretary and
Mike Donaruma, the Fund Treasurer.
Education and Learning Trust seeks instructors
If you are interested in teaching undergraduate or graduate courses in NYSUT's
Effective Teaching Program, please let Ellis know. Applicants are being sought
for positions in the Utica area. To apply, you must be a union member, have
a NYS teaching certificate, a masters degree, and at least five years teaching
The Effective Teaching Program offers professional development opportunities
through research-based interactive graduate courses and dynamic workshops and
in-service programs designed for K-12 educators. Also, the Paraprofessional
Program offers undergraduate courses for paraprofessionals in meeting the new
state and federal requirements.
members among those recognized for service to students with disabilities
Each year, the Mohawk Valley Community College Office for Services to Students
with Disabilities joins together with students to recognize college employees
who have gone "above and beyond the call of duty" in their service
to students with disabilities.
And each year, Professional Association members make up the bulk of the list
of those being honored.
The following is a list of the 2003 honorees who are members of the PA, accompanied
by a brief quote from their nomination letters. It would be impossible to serve
the needs of our students with disabilities without the support and assistance
of these valuable professionals. Along with our students, we thank and honor
- Sarah Coleman "has been the most helpful of all the other instructors."
- Duane Isenberg and Andrew Keiser "If I did not understand
a question, they explained it so I could understand."
- Colleen Kehoe-Robinson "Asking for help is very hard for me,
and she made it easy for me to do this."
- Ron Labuz "because he is not only a remarkable teacher [but
also] a great human being."
- Jonathan Meeter "has taken the extra measure to help me understand
the information given out in class."
- Kevin Mokry "will do everything he can to help you become your
- Mario Restive "gave me a way to complete write-up papers as
I was unable to utilize the computer labs."
- Donna Sawyer "[is] outstanding; when you have the kind of disability
I have, this is the kind of person you need."
- Ann Smallen "taught me the value to work hard to accomplish
- Gina Testa-Appel "helped me to attain a lot of the material
in her classes by taking that extra step."
- Steve Woolf "in a moment of anguish, luck brought me in contact
with Mr. Woolf."
the President's Desk
Ellis Gage Searles
Two years. Having just completed my first full term as PA president, I guess
I'm no longer new at it.
It's certainly true that over these past twenty-four months, I've learned a
great deal. I have expanded my vocabulary ("Stipulation," "Landrum-Griffin,"
"HECAS"), improved my reading skills (contract language says what
it says), gotten a better grasp of the political process (budgets, endorsements,
member items), and grown daily in my awareness of all things "union."
This learning has been just what I expected it to be when I first took office-a
very welcome opportunity to find out more about something I care deeply about.
What's more, since it's the very nature of the work that using new knowledge
happens almost simultaneously with gaining it, additional learning opportunities
are created exponentially.
So it's not too much to say that I've had a busy couple of years.
All of this I anticipated.
What I could not possibly have anticipated is the extraordinary kindness of
the people I would come to appreciate from a new perspective, colleagues and
friends who would offer unstinting support and tireless assistance to me personally
and, at the same time, to the organization as a whole.
Experiencing this has been the very best part of being PA president. It's given
me a chance to spend time among some of the most wonderful individuals, to learn
from their experience, and to see them give of themselves constantly, cheerfully,
What I know now is mainly this: our union has the great good fortune to have
within it remarkable men and women who contribute every day, who help, who support
each other, and who do it all without looking for any thanks.
Today, as I begin another term, I want to say it anyway. To my brothers and
sisters in the membership--and especially in the leadership--whose expertise,
generosity, and good will I've learned from and come to depend on, thank you.
members, take note!
Academic-year members of the bargaining unit are reminded that Article 9.6
of the Collective Bargaining Agreement provides for compensation for any work
done after the end of obligation, which is June 2nd this year. If you perform
committee or other work requested by the College after June 2nd, you should
submit a request for payment to Human Resources indicating the number of hours
you have worked.
Human Resources requires that you include a log of dates, specific hours (e.g.,
"10:30 to 12:00," not "1 and a half hours"), and a description
of activities. Members who are part of a search committee should direct questions
about reimbursement for meals or other expenses to Human Resources beforehand.
Please send a copy of your request for compensation to Ellis.
- Those who submit hours for payment should include a log of dates, specific
hours ("10:30 to 12:00," not "1 and a half hours"), and
a description of activities.
- You should submit this info directly to HR, with a copy to Ellis.
- Search committees who plan to take candidates out for meals should talk
to HR about how to do so.
- Questions about procedures should be directed to HR.
Summer Institute workshops
Your Union Works: How Contract Savvy Are You?
Thursday, May 22
9 to 10 a.m.
Test your knowledge of your contract.
What are your rights and responsibilities? What's new in the 2002-2005 collective
bargaining agreement, including provisions for travel, retirement, tuition
waivers, evaluation, and more? Ask questions and get answers from Sam Drogo
(Negotiations Chair) and Dennis Rahn (Grievance Chair).
Your Union Works: New PA Benefits are Coming!
Thursday, May 22
10 to 11 a.m.
Find out about your new benefit fund. What is it? What will it offer you?
A panel discussion of PA Benefit Fund Trustees led by Paul Halko (Benefit
Fund Chair ) and Laura Calhoun (NYSUT Member Benefits Representative).
Classroom & Campus Safety
11 to 12 noon
What things should we be aware of when it comes to keeping safe in our classrooms
and offices, labs and athletic fields--in fact, everywhere on campus? The
PA has invited members of the College community to participate in this panel
discussion, including Dr. Daniel Larson (VP Instruction), Denise DiGiorgio
(VP Student Services), Joe Palmer (Director, Campus Safety and Security),
Steve Rosati (Coordinator, Administrative Services/Rome Campus), and Carolyn
D'Argenio (Asst. Professor, Social Science/Criminal Justice). Moderated by
makes presence known at March for Public Education
On a bright, sunny Saturday, several cars carried PA members to the Empire
State Plaza in Albany, where they made clear their support of public education
in New York.
Tens of thousands of New Yorkers flooded the plaza between the State Capitol
Building and the NYS Cultural Education Center, some having spent an entire
morning traveling by car, bus, and train to reach the plaza by noon.
As the May 9th "NYSUT Leader" notes, the rally was "unprecedented
in collaboration and cooperation of disparate groups that share a common concern
for public ed: unions, administrators, school boards, parents and students."
Gathered together in support of public education from pre-K through post-grad,
the crowd loudly voiced their support for the Senate and Assembly, which restored
over $1 billion in state aid to public education.
Knowing Pataki is likely to veto the budget bills and that a legislative override
would be necessary for the restorations to become law, the crowd directed to
Pataki repeated chants of "Sign the bill!" and to the Legislature
repeated chants of "Override!"
Over $400 million of the pro-posed Legislative restorations go to higher education.
With regard to aid specifically for community colleges, while the Executive
Budget proposed a reduction of $345 per student, the Legislative Budget restored
all of it, equaling over $74 million.
involved for good health: Research confirms that collective action contributes
to personal and social health
the University of Sussex University Newsletter
Editor's Note: The full text of this report comes from the 13 Dec.
2002 edition of the University of Sussex newsletter "Bulletin,"
available online at www.sussex.ac.uk/press_office/bulletin/13dec02/article3.shtml.
Research led by Dr John Drury, Lecturer in Social Psychology in SOC [the School
of Social Sciences], has found that not only does participation in protests
and demonstrations have the potential to change the world: it is actually good
This was one of the findings of a large-scale interview study of protest crowds
and social movements, often known as "collective action."
"Many published activist accounts refer to feelings of encouragement and
confidence emerging from experiences of collective action," says John.
"But it is not always clear how and why such empowerment occurs, so we
aimed to explain what factors within a collective action event contribute most
to such feelings."
The study involved in-depth interviews with nearly 40 activists from a variety
of backgrounds, in which over 160 collective action experiences were described.
The range of events described by interviewees included traditional marches,
fox-hunt sabotages, anti-capitalist street parties, environmental direct actions,
industrial mass pickets--and even student occupations.
"The main factors we found to contribute to a sense of empowerment were
the realization of the collective identity: the sense of movement, potential,
unity and mutual support within a crowd," says John.
"However, what was also interesting was the centrality of emotion in the
accounts. Empowering events were almost without exception described as joyous
occasions. Participants experienced a deep sense of happiness and even euphoria
in being involved in protest events. Simply recounting the events in the interview
itself brought a smile to the faces of the interviewees."
Psychologists have become increasingly interested in the role of positive experiences
and emotions not just in making people feel good but also in promoting psychological
and physical health. Uplifting experiences have been found to be associated
with a variety of indicators of well-being, such as speed of physiological recovery;
ability to cope with physical stressors; and the reduction of pain, anxiety
The Sussex study also involved Dr Chris Cocking and three Social Psychology
students: Joseph Beale, Charlotte Hanson and Faye Rapley.
good and the meaning of symbiosis
"Do-gooders." "Goody two shoes." The first time I heard
the term "goody two shoes," the class bully in grade school used it
as justification for beating up another boy. I recall wondering why someone
deemed a "do gooder" deserved to get picked on.
Fortunately, we're no longer in grade school and we better understand the value
of doing good. In thinking about the philosophy behind the PA's increased community
activism, I can see that it stems from our understanding of the genuinely symbiotic
relationship between our organization and our community. The word "symbiosis"
comes from the Greek: sym meaning together and bios meaning life. Life together.
Symbiosis happens when two entities mutually benefit from--indeed, sustain life
Here's an illustration of this symbiotic relationship between the PA and our
community. We selected Hospice Care as the beneficiary of our Spring Social
50/50 Raffle. To learn more about the agency, I spoke with Lorie Phillips, Respiratory
Care Coordinator. She talked about their function as a health-care program for
the terminally ill and their families, indicating that services include home
health aides, spiritual counseling, and bereavement support-all with an emphasis
on pain management. Lorie went on to discuss how Hospice had been a great help
when one of her relatives was struggling with cancer.
Knowing that Jackie Womack volunteers for Hospice every year, I stopped by
her office next. Like Lorie, Jackie gets the idea of symbiosis. After Hospice
provided bereavement counseling and other support when she lost her son to a
birth defect in 1987 and again when her brother passed away in 1992, Jackie
determined to give back to Hospice--and she has done just that, year after year.
Lorie and Jackie are two "do-gooders" who really get the meaning
of symbiosis. I know that many others in the PA do as well because we raised
over $800 for our Spring Social. Send your ideas for future fundraisers to a
member of the Community Outreach Committee.
election results in continued expertise, energy
Rather than duplicate the tables here, we ask that you please view results of
this year's election in the Executive
Board and Committee Chairs &
Members pages. Most of the just-elected terms end on 5.31.05. Per PA by-laws,
several committees have until June 5th to elect their chairs.
the way to a cure
The Rome Teachers Association is inviting people to participate in its annual
event to help fight cancer by purchasing candles in honor of or in memory of
a loved one. In support of the American Cancer Society, this year the New York
State School for the Deaf in Rome will be hosting the overnight event on June
7th and 8th.
If you would like to help light the way to a cure, send a donation of $5 per
candle (checks payable to the American Cancer Society) to Pat Mungari of the
Rome Teachers Association, PO Box 1105, Rome, NY 13442. To participate in the
Relay for Life of Rome, contact Kathy Peters of ACS by email (firstname.lastname@example.org)
or phone (724.8125). Registration cost is $10 and the registration deadline
is May 30th. The opening ceremony takes place on the 7th at noon; the closing
ceremony on the 8th at 11 a.m.
Member's Voice: Wal-Mart intransigence toward unions part of a bigger picture
Editor's Note: We welcome member responses to this or any other article
published in PAnorama.
Notwithstanding the self-congratulatory nattering of the mansion and Mercedes
set, we live in fallen times.
As any more-than-casual student of American history would agree, ours was a
middle-class revolution, led for the most part, by prosperous white men who
sought to replace a political and economic system based on hereditary aristocracy
with one based on meritocracy and individual initiative.
For two hundred years, as that new system grew and changed, the prosperous
white men who ran it, out of religious conviction and a lingering sense of noblesse
oblige, were willing to empower ever-greater numbers and varieties of ordinary
human beings into full economic participation and political self-determination,
within the boundaries of our democratic experiment.
The road to political equality and economic justice has not been an easy one.
A ruinous Civil War was fought to free one group within our polity from literal
slavery. Over time, successive waves of immigrants and native yeomanry joined
forces, often reluctantly, to expand the franchise and to ensure the right of
collective bargaining to industrial and agricultural workers. These collective
efforts to improve the lot of ordinary Americans were met by stiff resistance
at every step of the way by the forces of entrenched economic privilege and
political reaction, often backed up by the peace-keeping capacity of the state
and federal governments. Yet, slowly and painfully, real progress was made.
In an effort to both inhibit political radicalism and adhere to the spirit
of competition and free enterprise, the federal government passed laws that
restricted the combination and concentration of great wealth built up by huge
corporations after the Civil War.
In the aftermath of the Great Depression, the New Deal instituted the rudiments
of a social safety net under the precarious lives of the working poor. By the
second half of the 20th century, most Americans exercised their franchise in
most elections, and many workers belonged to some form of union. Of even more
importance, most Americans believed with good reason that their government was
on their side, and in the world at large America remained a shining example
of the capacity of a democratic society to ensure freedom, equality, and justice
And then what happened? Simply this: beginning with the ascendancy of Ronald
Reagan, the powers of reaction began to roll back all of the gains of the past
two centuries. In the last two decades, under the noses of a slumbering and
ill-informed populace, there came to power a group of politicians so arrogant,
short-sighted, and greedy, that they have, quite literally, begun to kill the
goose that laid the golden egg!
Most of these "Contract With America" legislators, in spite of their
strenuous, often unethical efforts to become part of the government, have ill-concealed
contempt for that government. They believe that democratic institutions are
irrelevant shows which must be tolerated in order to have the only things that
really matter to them: the laws protecting private property and the law enforcement
and military necessary to insure that protection.
All other possible functions of government--such as the regulation of corporate
activity for the purpose of protecting the rights and general welfare of the
public, the encouragement of the small, efficient units of business or agriculture
that actually produce new jobs, the protection of the natural environment, and
the seeking of consensus with the international community in matters of foreign
policy--these legislators regard with a sneer. Consequently, our noble experiment
in self-government is in far more danger of being poisoned from within than
attacked from without!
In a sane legislative climate, the principle of economic competition would
be protected from the rapid rise of cannibalistic economic combinations like
Wal-Mart, and the right of Wal-Mart employees to unionize would be protected
by federal law. A handful of huge corporations would not be allowed to eradicate
small competitors and claim monopolistic market share in any sphere of economic
Just as biological extinction simplifies and destabilizes natural systems,
so the unregulated
predatory activities of giant corporations simplify and destabilize economic
systems. Yet euphemisms like "outsourcing" and "downsizing"
have entered the vocabulary as legitimate business activities, as 21st century
business theorists resort to the 18th century laissez faire pronouncements of
Thomas Malthus as their operating manual.
Wal-Mart has been encouraged to invade every demographic niche in the country;
it certainly has not been restrained from doing so. The ostensible reason for
allowing this elimination of smaller competitors such as local retail stores
is that Wal-Mart, with its giant economies of scale, can afford to sell goods
at lower retail prices than the small fry. This is at least temporarily true,
and much of Wal-Mart's customer base are working-class and lower-middle-class
consumers seeking the lowest prices.
These are also the same folks who seek employment with Wal-Mart. But the beast
is not satisfied with dominance in most retail sales; it wants them all! You
can now purchase all your fresh and processed foods from this same giant that
not long ago carried only clothing and housewares. What's next? Wal-Mart life
insurance, geriatric nursing, tombstones, and mortuary services?!
Is it any wonder, then, that Wal-Mart wants to prevent the unionization of
its work force and institute a modern form of feudalism? This is an entity that
wants it all, and has at least tacit government approval for its game plan.
So how do we mere mortals register our disapproval of Wal-Mart's goals and methods?
Certainly voting with our wallets is an effective method. We can make an effort
to buy goods from smaller retailers whenever possible, even if it costs a little
extra. There will be no psychic loss in so doing; unless you are a herd animal,
you will not miss the experience of shopping at Wal-Mart! In addition to boycotting,
joining in pro-union demonstrations outside Wal-Mart stores is an effective
way of showing solidarity with Wal-Mart employees and embarrassing the management.
And there are other effective strategies available to citizens who want long-term,
We need to put forth and sup-port local and statewide political candidates
who are committed to economic diversity, economic justice, and humane economies
of scale in business and agriculture. Grassroots organizing, voter registration
drives, petition, initiative, referendum, and recall, are political tools still
available to citizens of a democracy.
These methods are time-consuming and labor-intensive, but they are effective.
Nothing good comes without sweat and sacrifice, and those of us who care about
the future of our country have no choice!
consolations to celebrations, Member Support & Recognition is here for you
Carolyn West Pace
As we all know, life has its many ups and downs.
The grapevine will tell us that a colleague has published a book, has been
elected to a position in a professional organization, or is celebrating the
birth of a child or grandchild. These are all events that deserve acknowledgement
and praise from colleagues. The same grapevine also will tell us of losses and
sadnesses in our colleagues' lives, which call for the support and recognition
of colleagues as well.
The members of the PA Member Support & Recognition Committee--Cyndi Busic-Snyder,
Patty Hirsch, Beverly Jaskolka, and I--would like to know all about the ups
and downs of PA members.
Each semester, we take turns sending notes of celebration and sympathy and
everything in between to PA members. We watch for those all-too-frequent "sad
news" messages on the MVCC email system, we listen carefully to co-workers,
and we take emails and calls from concerned colleagues. Then we pick up our
pens and write a personal note of consolation or celebration to express the
If you know of anyone who should receive a card from the PA, please contact
me by email at email@example.com or by phone at 792.5447. And, since life brings
so many ups and downs, our committee needs more members. If you'd like to join
Member Support & Recognition, let me know that too.