From: Charles Loiacono
Date: October 8, 2013
Subject: Response to Gardyn/Weiss October 3rd Missive
I felt a sense of pity as I read the most recent attempt by Gardyn and Weiss to defend the indefensible. It was pity that I sensed because there was a discernible difference in style that was indeed pitiable. Their first two missives were neurotic in style—an almost frantic use of dissembling. This latest attempt to excuse their earlier writing was like trying to follow a severe stutterer attempting to explain that the listener misunderstood his narrative because the listener had problems with his hearing.
I should be kind and let it go, because this latest missive is too poorly written to warrant a response. I graded it “D-” for style, construction, syntax, and vocabulary, and a resounding “F” for reasoning. Weiss and Gardyn made a fatal error when they thought they could hoodwink the members of the adjunct faculty with verbal sleight of hand. The members of the adjunct faculty are scholars — well educated, highly intelligent, well read, and adept at interpreting what they read. There is really no need for my pointing out the desperately awkward attempt at reasoning by these two, because the adjunct faculty gets it.
Nonetheless, pitiable though it is, allow me to spotlight their dissembling. I suggest that the reader refer to the October 3rd missive as I point to specific lines or paragraphs.
The first page says nothing! It’s devoid of any reason. It’s merely a rant.
On page 2, these two writers set out to enumerate arguments:
Their “First” shows an astonishing ignorance of the history of negotiations. The County Executive did not simply execute each successor agreement; he would intervene by bringing the parties together in his office, and assign a well-respected conciliator, who would actually do the negotiating. The County Executive would never leave the premises. We would negotiate all night long, because the County Executive would not allow anyone to leave until an MOA was signed by all parties. The record shows that the BOT and John Gross never completed negotiations for a successor agreement. It was always the County Executive using his good offices that saved the day. When the current contract was negotiated, the parties convened in a hotel where Martin Scheinman did the negotiating at the behest of the County Executive. The entire AFA Executive Board and Representative Assembly attended until the wee hours of the morning when an agreement was reached. It was the County that paid the conciliator’s fee. While I understand that Weiss and Gardyn, being new to the college, could not possibly know the truth, that’s no excuse for signing their names to a revisionist account of the history of negotiations here at NCC. What they wrote in their “first” has no resemblance to the truth. They have been fed misinformation, and awkwardly have tried to fashion such misinformation into arguments.
Their “Second” on page 2 is an untutored attempt at syllogistic reasoning. .Since the premise is false, the conclusion is erroneous. Read what they actually wrote in their letter of September 27th:
“The County Ordinance does not give the college authority to negotiate. The Taylor Law of the State of New York bestows that authority. The County cannot repeal the ‘joint employer’ status of the County and College that is authorized by the Taylor Law.”
The first sentence is untrue. Everyone knows that. It is the very thing we want deleted from the Ordinance. That’s not sloppy writing, that’s a simplistic lie. By following that lie with the conclusion that the AFA therefore wants to “repeal the ‘joint employer status’” these writers employed faulty reasoning in an amateurish use of the “red herring” ploy. These two writers are not only new and unfamiliar with the college, they are engaging in shyster tactics that only serve to make them look dishonest, uninformed, desperate, and petty. Obviously, deleting the authority to negotiate from Ordinance 307, a local Ordinance passed by the County Legislature and signed by the County Executive, has nothing to do with the joint employer relationship. No one has suggested repealing that relationship. Only the “red herring” made that suggestion.
Their “Third” is an elongated non sequitur. To comment would be redundant.
In their conclusion which they refer to as “First,” (I guess they forgot that they used a first already) they repeat for a second time Newsday’s use of the word “insane” referring to a pay raise for the adjunct faculty. Weiss and Gardyn were so titillated by that, they repeated it twice. If they must cling to a loaded invective by a tabloid that ranks as a rag among literate journals, then I rest my case, because such a base reaction proves that their cause is indeed bankrupt.
They are trapped in the bankruptcy of their cause because the simple truth is verifiable. The record is there for all to see.
- They have never completed negotiations without the intervention of the County Executive.
- They have refused to negotiate with the AFA since they declared impasse in 2010.
- Their intransigence provoked a strike.•At the September 18th conciliation session, there were no negotiations, they repeated their position of 2010, and there was no face-to-face meeting.
- There have been no negotiations since September 18th.
It is not an analytic feat to conclude that it is a ridiculous position to insist that the authority, which they refuse to use, should not be removed, because they want to continue to refuse to use it. In attempting to convince the adjunct faculty that such a position is reasonable is to assume that adjuncts are fools. To attempt to inveigle the County Legislature with a plea to ignore the record and allow them to continue to refuse to negotiate is to assume that County Legislators head the list of fools. The AFA has more faith in our elected Legislators.
Beyond that, these two trustees are making a fatal error in assuming that because many adjuncts crossed the picket line and supported the Board of Trustees’ exploitation of them, that they will buy into the argument that exploitation is good; that it is the BOT’s job to oppress and exploit and the adjunct faculty’s destiny is to be oppressed and exploited. Their message is that it’s just the way things are.
In this latest missive, these two writers have been reduced to repeating failed arguments. They fail to recognize that the reason they look so bad is that they are on the wrong side of the argument. That’s why this sad attempt was so poorly written.
These two trustees don’t have what it takes to end the conflict that is slowly destroying this college. That the Board of Trustees is dysfunctional is palpable. That the words of these two trustees spotlight that dysfunction is there for all to see. Removing them from the sensitive arena that is collective bargaining would be the first step toward healing the wounds that now fester.
Only a responsible Legislature and a strong County Executive can bring this rudderless ship back on course.
Charles Loiacono, AFA President