Acting Union President Remarks on Status of RCCFT in Wake of Garner Allegations

unnamedComment by Ian Blake Newhem, acting president, RCC Federation of Teachers, associate professor of English

“As the acting President of the RCCFT, I vow to spearhead an era of transparency and democracy. It goes without saying that the entire Executive Board shares this mission, which has already begun in earnest as we fully cooperate with the college administration and the authorities to assist in fact-finding that will lead to understanding of what, if anything, happened, and how we can ensure it doesn’t happen again. All of our interests are aligned: Safeguarding our students and faculty, adhering to the law, ethics, and best practices, and beginning a possibly long road toward regaining trust for and within our beloved institution.

“In the meantime, the RCCFT is fully operational; our excellent contract remains in place; all protections continue uninterrupted; our affiliation with NYSUT, the AFT, the NEA, and the greater AFL-CIO carry on; our union rep from the Tarrytown office as well as the senior union leadership in Albany are fully supportive of our Executive Board and all of our members’ needs; the grievance process remains rock-solid in defense of our contractual rights; our Constitution will be followed to the letter; and our finances (employees’ money) will be managed properly by our elected leadership with full transparency.

“A union is a powerful cooperative venture focused on justice, fairness, and honest dealings; its mission is sacred; and its trust inviolable. In the wake of allegations against Cliff Garner, our Exec Board is committed to restoring confidence both within our unit, and from other constituencies.”