This past weekend (April 16-17), APSCUF elected its officers (Pres, VP, Secretary, Treasurer) for two year terms. The electees (I don’t like the term “winners” because it implies that those who didn’t win are “losers”) are:
President: Steve Hicks, Lock Haven
VP: Ken Mash, East Stroudsburg
Secretary: Helen Bieber, Kutztown
Treasurer: Chris Hallen, Bloomsburg
Ken Mash is the only new officer, replacing Amy Walters, who stepped down.
The re-election of Steve Hicks as President is significant for a number of reasons. I voted for (SPOILER ALERT!) Steve and Ken (Helen and Chris ran unopposed, so those votes weren’t nearly as dramatic) because I’ve been satisfied with the work Steve has done in his first term as President, and with the work Ken has done as statewide Meet and Discuss chair.
Are they perfect? Of course not, and the campaign run by Rob Mutchnik for President and Debra Cornelius for VP aired some legitimate concerns–if you’re reading this with much interest, you already know what they are, so I won’t air them again here. I hope, and fully expect, that Steve and Ken will take those concerns more seriously than simply to nod their thanks at Rob and Deb for raising them.
I also hope, although I didn’t vote for them, that Rob and Deb will continue to fight on behalf of APSCUF. The vote tallies were decisive but not overwhelming, which tells me at least these two things: (1) in general, Legislative Assembly delegates are satisfied with the current administration; but (2) Rob and Deb struck enough chords with the delegates to demonstrate that there’s still plenty of work to be done moving APSCUF forward–especially in the near term, as we move into negotiations season, but also in the long term.
Unlike some other delegates, I see the pending negotiations season as an *opportunity* to take on that work, rather than a crisis towards which we’re dashing headlong. We all know that the negotiations will be difficult, as PASSHE continues to misrepresent the budget situation and its impacts. We know that we’re entering negotiations with a different kind of process in place, and a different kind of dynamic among the campuses as a result. From my point of view, given the shift in APSCUF’s ethos over the last few years, all that “uncertainty” actually opens up possibilities for the union, at the state level, to commit to democratic processes, creative mobilizing efforts, and negotiations postures/strategies that would have been very hard to commit to before.
Obviously, preparing for negotiations and possible job actions is hard work no matter what. If that hard work can, in this instance, have positive short AND long-term effects on our union, I’d rather that than work our asses off for a mediocre contract and no long-term impact.