NYSC AAUP Fall 2021 Conference Program

NYSC AAUP Fall 2021 Meeting and Conference
Business Meeting: Friday, November 5th (2:00pm – 5:00pm
Conference: Saturday, November 6th (8:30am – 3:30pm)

Promoting, Assessing, and Protecting Health and Safety on College and University Campuses; Covid and Beyond



Link to Program: 2021 Fall Conference (nyscaaup.org)

Link to Registration: NY State AAUP Fall Meeting & Conference Registration (nyscaaup.org)

Friday (11/5) Business Meeting (2:00pm – 5:00pm)

This meeting is open only to AAUP members in good standing and preregistration is required. A Zoom invite and Agenda will be sent to registered attendees prior to the meeting.

2:00pm – 2:30pm             Pre-Meeting Greet and Chat (optional)
2:30pm – 4:30pm             Business Meeting
4:30pm – 5:00pm             Reports/Open Forum
5:00pm – ?                         Virtual Happy Hour

Saturday (11/6) Conference (8:30am – 3:30pm)

Preregistration is required. A Zoom invite will be sent to registered attendees prior to the Conference.

MORNING PROGRAM (8:30am – 11:30am)

8:30am – 8:45am           Coffee Chat & Networking
8:45am – 9:00am          Welcome and Introductions

9:00am – 11:30am  Discourse on Campus Safety & Health Issues and Mitigations

SPEAKERS: Jamie L. Becken, Senior Safety and Health Inspector, NYS Department of Labor (NYSDOL) and John Usher, Program Manager 1, NYS Department of Labor, NY P:ublic Employee Safety and Health (PESH) Bureau

An Intro to PESH, Discourse on Campus Safety & Health Issues and Mitigations – Addressing employee safety and health concerns can also benefit student safety. We all have a role to play in hazard awareness and mitigation. This presentation will give participants an overview of the Public Employee Safety & Health (PESH) Bureau, Employer and Employee Rights & Responsibilities afforded under the OSHA State Plan, and Anti-Retaliation protection. There will be an overview of several campus safety and health issues, including Workplace Violence Prevention, the importance of de-escalation, hazard identification, situational awareness, the ongoing impacts of COVID-19, and policy enforcement issues. Discourse on effective means of bringing about change, including metrics, problem solving as a team, avoiding common committee pitfalls, and building and maintaining credible, respectful, and lasting working relationships. Will also inform participants of the availability of free and confidential Consultation Assistance services from PESH and other available resources to help guide staff with identifying and addressing safety and health concerns to build a safer campus community.


LUNCH (11:30am – 12:30pm) The ‘lunchroom’ will be open if you would like to eat together, as well as chat with colleagues and/or network. Otherwise please re-join us at 12:30pm for our afternoon program.


AFTERNOON PROGRAM (12:30pm-3:30pm)

12:30pm – 3:00pm  “PSC Health and Safety Watchdogs” – Harnessing the Power of Rank and File Activism: Lessons Learned from the PSC Health and Safety Watchdogs

SPEAKERS: Barbara Bowen, PSC Safety Watchdogs and former PSC President and Susan Fountain, Coordinator of PSC’s Occupational Health and Safety Committee, the “Watchdogs”

Is rank-and-file activism any match for a global pandemic?  This session will explore what happened when COVID-19 arrived in New York City with devastating speed, while the largest union at the City University of New York had based its health and safety work on member education rather than reliance on “experts.”  Everyone is a leader, the PSC officers and health leaders believed; workers know more about their own working conditions than anyone else.  The speakers will discuss the PSC’s twenty-year history of member organizing on health and safety as a precursor to an unprecedented level of member engagement during the past year.  What is the potential power of a membership in which several hundred members attend weekly Health and Safety Watchdog meetings and have been trained to inspect their own workplaces?  Has the PSC’s model been strong enough to stand up to the current crisis?  Does it suggest ways that organizing on other issues could gain similar urgency? 

3:00pm – 3:30pm – Closing Remarks



Jamie L. Beckin:   Jamie is a Senior Safety and Health Inspector in the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) Public Employee Safety and Health (PESH) Bureau.  Jamie has been with PESH for 8 years, initially as a Safety and Health Inspector, and later assisting employers through the PESH consultation program.  Her previous professional experience includes working as an Environmental Project Manager and as a Hazardous Waste Technician.  She has a B.S. in Chemistry/Biology from Springfield College and a M.S. in Teaching and Curriculum from Syracuse University.

John Usher:  John is an Assistant Program Manager in the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) Public Employee Safety and Health (PESH) Bureau.  John has been with PESH for 23 years, initially as a Safety and Health Inspector, and later assisting employers through the PESH consultation program.  He entered his current management role in April 2021.  His previous professional experience includes working for a number of environmental consulting firms.  He has a B.S. in Environmental Health and Technology from Springfield College.

Barbara Bowen:  Barbara Bowen has recently stepped down from the position of President of the Professional Staff Congress/CUNY, a title she held for 21 years.  She will be returning to the classroom next year, as a professor of English at Queens College and the Graduate Center, CUNY.  Under her leadership, the PSC challenged the pattern of racist austerity funding for CUNY and led the coalition that developed The New Deal for CUNY legislation.  At the bargaining table and through militant action in the streets, the PSC also broke new ground on paid parental leave, sabbatical pay, paid adjunct office hours, teaching load reductions and other changes that benefit members while also enhancing the education at CUNY.

Susan Fountain:  Susan Fountain is an adjunct professor at CUNY’s School of Professional Studies. She developed and currently teaches in the B.A. in Human Relations program, which serves working adults. She also designed the Graduate Certificate in Adult Learning program at CUNY SPS. She has taught courses on adult learning, adult development, program design, conflict management, interpersonal behavior, and leadership. She is a delegate to the Professional Staff Congress, CUNY’s faculty and staff union, and a coordinator of the PSC’s Occupational Health and Safety Committee (the “Watchdogs”).