Petition in support of our contingent colleagues

UUP, Binghamton Chapter Update

Dear Colleagues,

As you know, many of our contingent colleagues have been working along side us for years, demonstrating their commitment to the success of this institution and its mission. They have provided expertise and labor, and are a key part of the excellence that makes Binghamton a “Premier Public University”. 

However, the current fiscal challenges have left many of them vulnerable to departmental budget cuts. Some of our long-time colleagues, many who have dedicated years to this institution, are at risk of losing their appointments and/or health insurance in the middle of a global pandemic and economic crisis — a time when both are critical to their security and wellbeing and that of their families. This is unacceptable.

In addition, the faculty and professional staff who remain may be expected to cover the courses or other professional obligations that are now unassigned, without compensation or an equivalent reduction in other professional obligations.  This would also be unacceptable. 

There are alternatives to consider before eliminating positions, before threatening the health and wellbeing of our colleagues, and before diminishing the quality of the education our students will receive. Together with UUP chapters across the SUNY system, the Binghamton chapter urges our administration to take a strong stance in support of our contingent colleagues. 
I also encourage each of you to click on the link below, read the petition, and to add your name to show you stand in solidarity with our contingent colleagues!
PETITION IN SUPPORT OF CONTINGENT EMPLOYEES

In solidarity!

Sean G. Massey PhD, UUP Chapter President, Binghamton University Ph. #(607) 4382
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Course Development Agreements/Intellectual Property – SPECIAL BULLETIN

Please see UUP’s new Special Bulletin on faculty courses and intellectual property concerns at the link below – and share it with colleagues.

https://uupinfo.org/reports/reportpdf/IntellectualPropertyBulletin.pdf

In the context of online course expansion some faculty are being presented with course development agreements that give their campus intellectual property ownership of their courses/course materials.  Faculty lose their intellectual property rights only if they sign a written waiver surrendering ownership of their work. Individuals should know the full implications of what they are asked to sign and whether there are possibilities for alternatives that do not relinquish their ownership rights.

Sincerely,

Jamie Dangler, PhD
Vice President for Academics
United University Professions
1-800-342-4206
jdangler@uupmail.org

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UUP Tele-Town Halls

Message from Fred Kowal

Colleagues, 

Nothing is more important than carrying the voices of our membership forward in this difficult time. Our advocacy efforts are multiple and on-going, and I extend a heartfelt thank you to the dedicated members who have sent letters, made phone calls, and joined our social media campaign to protect SUNY and the work UUP does.

We will always be stronger when we are engaging one another and working from the grassroots. In this vein, we are scheduling a series of tele-town halls, which will include a brief presentation on the overall economic perspective of where we are as a state and as a nation, as well as an overview on New York State and national public higher education funding trends. The presentation will then be opened up to our members for a solution-driven discussion. If there is a “best” way to face these unprecedented times, I am certain that together UUP members can and will develop that strategic plan.

The tele-town halls will take place on the following days: 

  • May 7, 2020 at 11:00 AM 
  • May 13, 2020 at 3:00 PM 
  • May 19, 2020 at 6:30 PM
  • May 21, 2020 at 11:00 AM

In order to hear from as many members as possible, we are asking participants to choose just one date to join in on the conversation. To participate, please register here: https://uuphost.org/myuup/Registration/TOWNHALL/Register.php

Please follow the registration link and sign-up to attend one of these events. Information on how to log-in to the event will be sent the week of the tele-town hall. Please share information about the tele-town halls as widely as possible. 

Your entire statewide team is eager to hear from you!

In solidarity,

Fred

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UUP Advocacy in Congress

Colleagues,

I am writing to you with a request to add your voice to the thousands of other UUP members advocating to keep our union strong and to protect SUNY.  The recently enacted budget has – for now – spared SUNY from budget cuts despite the downturn in the economy. But we must work to guard against likely future cuts and press our representatives in Washington for federal relief in what is expected to be a difficult year ahead.

Please click here: https://actionnetwork.org/letters/uupcovid19letter/ to send a letter to your member of the House of Representatives and our United States Senators. Thanks to Senator Schumer, New York received significant resources for state-operated campuses and our hospitals. In addition to the $180 million direct aid to campuses, we will seek funding from other pools of money from the recent stimulus bill. Today, with your voice, we are advocating for additional resources in the next round of stimulus that will preserve our state funding and strengthen the position of SUNY and the work we do. We have been in constant contact with our national affiliate AFT since this crisis has unfolded and they are incorporating our input into their national agenda.

I thank you for your dedication. Our advocacy and work does not stop in these times of crisis, the times demand we do even more.

In solidarity,
Fred

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Chapter “office hours” on Monday April 13 @ 2:30pm

Dear Colleagues,

In an effort to stay in touch during these strange times, the Binghamton Chapter of UUP will be holding virtual office hours on Monday, April 13 from 2:30-3:30 pm using the Zoom conference system. Jamie Dangler, UUP’s Vice-President for Academics will be joining us on the call. Jamie has been an invaluable resource to all of the UUP Chapters during this crisis and will try to answer any questions you have and tell you more about what UUP has been doing to advocate for and protect our members during this crisis.

Because we know your time is limited, and because we’d like to answer as many questions as possible during this call, we are asking that you try to submit some of your questions in advance. To facilitate, we’ve set up this online form:

Click here to go to the form

Please feel free to include as much (or little) information about yourself as you are comfortable providing. The deadline for question submission is end of day Friday, April 10.  I will send out the zoom link closer to the date (note: in order to maintain security, the zoom meeting will be password protected).

In solidarity!

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COVID-19 RESOURCE PAGE

The UUP website has a direct link to all information related to the Coronavirus. Just click on the Coronavirus link at the top of the page and it will take you to a listing of resources, including a portal which members are using to post questions to us, Fred Kowal video details what UUP working on, and numerous other items. There will be an updated Q & A which reflects the most recent progress UUP has made on issues and the new ones that are coming up thanks to input from so many of you, especially our chapter presidents, who are providing great information to UUP on a daily basis.

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PROFESSIONALS: How can Professionals fight workload creep?

Given the current atmosphere on campus, it’s extremely important that professionals understand your rights with regard to the terms and conditions of our contract.  Professionals are being delegated duties initially assigned to their supervisor.  Compensation for additional duties should be discussed and agreed upon prior to taking on these additional duties.

  1. Understand the basic principles that apply to your professional obligation.
  2. Take advantage of discussing job duties with your supervisor as your Performance Program is being developed
  3. Make sure you have a current Performance Program that accurately reflects your professional obligation
  4. Consult with the chapter leadership if you have questions
  5. Document workload increases
    1. Begin to keep a log of work done in area areas that are subject to workload creep
    2. Use written correspondence to document that you have taken on additional workload for specific reason/projects – and note that you do not consider it to be part of your professional obligation going forward
    3. Make sure your performance Program is modified to reflect workload increases, identifying extra work as such in relation to previous years
  6. A change in duties and responsibilities may warrant a promotion, salary increase, reduction in duties, extra service pay or compensatory time
  7. Consider requesting a salary increase or promotion whey you feel it is warranted especially if your Performance Program shows an increase in duties and responsibilities
  8. If additional duties are added to your performance Program ask for others to be removed, or ask for a salary increase.
    1. Ask for an end date for temporary duties
    2. Ask for a temporary salary increase if duties are temporarily assigned
  9. Professionals can self nominate for a promotion or salary increase during the months of January and June.  If you are denied a salary increase or promotion you can appeal to denial to the College Review Panel by contacting the Binghamton Chapter Vice-President for Professionals.

Participate in Workload/Performance Program workshops run by our Labor Relations Specialist

Access the L.E.A.D. Program through the UUP web site to learn more about workload and many other topics.

Keep a copy for The Guide for Professionals handy for tips on how to use your Performance Program to help keep workload in check.  Linked here

Contact your chapter leadership:

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Telemedicine benefit is now available

Dear UUP represented employees,

I am happy to report that the telemedicine benefit is now available to enrollees in the Empire Plan, SEHP, and the Excelsior Plan. The Department of Civil Service has posted the message below on NYSHIP Online. In addition, they will send a notice to your Health Benefits Administrators for distribution and will send a postcard to UUP enrollees at their homes.

To access the telemedicine program, LiveHealth Online, enrollees must go to www.empireblue.com/nys to access the link and obtain the coupon code. The coupon code will be entered as the payment. Instructions are attached for signing up. Enrollees should follow the instructions and provide the information as it is requested.

UUP and the Empire Plan is doing all they can to support you and your family through this unprecedented time and is introducing a new telehealth benefit to help you access health care services remotely. LiveHealth Online lets you stay home and have a video visit with a board-certified doctor or licensed therapist on your smartphone, tablet or personal computer.

If you are concerned about leaving your home to receive medical care or your ability to access care, The Empire Plan will cover telehealth visits at no cost to you. Register or login at www.empireblue.com/nys to get a coupon code to cover the full cost of your LiveHealth Online visit.

Please see the attached pdf for instructions and coupon code.

In Solidarity,

Tom

Thomas Tucker
Vice President for Professionals
(800) 342-4206
ttucker@uupmail.org

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Vision Works

Dear Visionworks Patients,

In accordance with recommendations from the CDC, as well as Federal and State authorities, we are temporarily closing all Visionworks’ locations due to the COVID-19 virus, but we will preserve access to our doctors for emergency eye care needs. With this temporary pause, we can protect the health and safety of our associates, doctors, and the communities we serve. While our storefronts are closed to the public, we are still safely working to ensure we meet each patient’s needs:

  • If you recently purchased glasses or contacts with us, we will ship them directly to you
  • If you have an exam scheduled during the closure, we will call or email you to reschedule your appointment

If you have lost or broken glasses or just need a new pair of glasses or contacts, and you have an existing prescription, we have several options for you at visionworks.com where you can utilize many insurance plans. In addition, we will work to assist you if you have an expired prescription

If you have an essential eye care need or an emergency, you can call us at 1-800-784-7427 and we will work to connect you to one of our doctors

We have implemented significant procedures to ensure the safety of our patients, our doctors, and our associates. When we reopen our locations, we will continue with the appropriate procedures to ensure the safety of our community. For more information visit visionworks.com/safety-protocol.

In the past few weeks, we have put policies in place to help our associates, including: flexible schedules, supplemental pay for reduced hours, advanced paid time off and continuing pay for those associates directly impacted by COVID-19. As we close all of our stores, we will continue to care for our associates by extending these policies through April 3rd.

We apologize for any inconvenience this unexpected closure may cause you. Thank you for being our patient and we look forward to seeing you soon.

Sincerely,

Pete Bridgman
President, Visionworks of America

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EMPIRE PLAN ENROLLEES

Dear UUP- represented employees,

I am writing to inform you of the additional resources available for Empire Plan enrollees.

Cost Sharing Waivers for COVID-19 Testing

Enrollee cost-sharing requirements for COVID-19 testing at approved locations are waived. In addition, copays, coinsurance, and deductibles for visits associated with COVID-19 testing are waived, whether the testing is provided in a health care provider’s office, an urgent care center, or an emergency department. This cost-share waiver applies to all active Empire Plan enrollees, early retirees, and Medicare-eligible retirees.

Early Prescription Refills
To ensure enrollee access to medications, enrollees will be allowed one emergency prescription refill of up to a 30-day supply for three prescriptions of retail medications and one prescription of specialty medications during a 90-day period. Normal copay rules apply.

Managing Coronavirus Anxiety
Visit the Beacon Lens at beaconlens.com for advice and tips on managing stress and anxiety due to coronavirus. Additional online resources on this topic are available in a guide from the NYS Office of Mental Health and at the Centers for Disease Control.

Nurseline
The Empire Plan Nurseline is fully prepared to share information with enrollees on the COVID-19 virus and triage them to the appropriate level of care as necessary based on the severity of their symptoms. As a reminder, the Empire Plan Nurseline number is 1-877-769-7447, Option # 5.

UUP will keep you posted as any new information regarding the coverage of the COVID-19 virus by the Empire Plan becomes available. Keep apprised on COVID-19 by visiting https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/home. Here you can also sign up for email updates on the coronavirus.

In Solidarity,
Tom

Thomas Tucker
Vice President for Professionals
(800) 342-4206
ttucker@uupmail.org

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