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"Zeller, Polishook Win Top Posts"

The first article from this issue of The New York Teacher, the monthly newspaper of the New York State United Teachers federation, reports the results of the first Professional Staff Congress (PSC) election held in April 1973. Belle Zeller, from the former Legislative Conference (LC), won the presidency by small margin over Israel Kugler, from the former United Federation of College Teachers (UFCT). A third candidate, Edgar Pauk, had a decisive impact on the election as his total vote tally was larger than Zeller’s margin of victory. A caucus, led by Irwin Polishook, supported Zeller, and won 15 of the 20 remaining seats on the union’s Executive Council.

The second article details a recently authorized strike vote from union members. Set for October 1st, the strike declaration was tactically used by the PSC in order to break their deadlock with CUNY administration over the terms of a new contract. Most problematic for the newly formed PSC was the administration's initial refusal to recognize the new union as the official bargaining agent for the more than 16,000 professors, instructors and other non-classrrom staff at CUNY. Ultimately, the two sides reached an agreement not long after this article was published, rendering the strike unnecessary.

The PSC was formed in April 1972 following the merging of the LC and UFCT. Leaders from both former groups sought to control the direction of the union in its earliest years, a fact that led to particularly contentious early elections. In the following election in 1976, Israel Kugler and Irwin Polishook contended for the PSC presidency. Polishook won decisively, and Kugler dissolved his caucus. 

Source | Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
Creator | The New York Teacher
Date Created | July 1973
Rights | Obtain From Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
Item Type | Text (Article / Essay)
Cite This document | The New York Teacher, “"Zeller, Polishook Win Top Posts",” CUNY Digital History Archive, accessed June 19, 2019,

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