Residential Life Vaccination Eligibility Update

Colleagues,

The following email was sent from SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras to campus presidents and safety monitors. The message expands the 1B New York State vaccination category to include individuals in residential life who do programming with students as part of their assigned duties. 

This step is the first success UUP has had in our efforts to include all in-person professional staff (and academic and professional librarians) in 1B. The efforts have been ongoing for several weeks now and we are not stopping our efforts on behalf of our colleagues. Just yesterday, I sent a letter to the Governor demanding that all in-person professional staff be included in 1B. We have also started a petition drive to get all in-person professionals eligible for vaccination. We need to get everyone to sign, so if you haven’t done so, please do. If you have, please spread the word! This one is easy: We should have every member of our union signed on!

https://forms.gle/kNpwSCAnRv2UDVgA6

I want to thank Ed Quinn, chapter president at the Stony Brook University Chapter for bringing to my attention Cornell University’s actions regarding the residential life staff at Cornell. Ed shared with me the email that went out to all res life staff at Cornell that made them eligible for vaccination if they were involved in student programming. Ed bringing this to my attention gave me the example that I could take to the Chancellor and that he has now endorsed for SUNY. This is how our union works best: Through the sharing of information across our organization so that we can advocate successfully for each other. Thanks, Ed!

Once again, this is only a start. But, it is a start. Now let’s get the Governor to take the step that must be taken: Make all in-person professionals eligible and let’s get everyone vaccinated as quickly as possible.

Stay safe and well…

In Solidarity,
Fred Kowal

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UUP Salary Compression Intake Form

Dear UUP members,

I encourage you to use the UUP Intake Form at the link below to provide us with information or voice any questions or concerns you have about the 2020 salary compression adjustments called for in the 2016-22 NYS-UUP Contract. These adjustments constitute the second of four years of compression adjustments required by the contract. This intake form is not to be used in lieu of contacting campus Human Resources with questions you may have about your specific circumstances. We are encouraging members who have such questions to contact HR. However, even if you speak to HR about your specific case, it is also important for UUP to know what members’ questions and concerns are. 

We are asking interested members to complete this form and return it to us by April 1, 2021.

Information collected through this process will be viewed at the chapter and state levels of UUP. We will use it to address concerns that need immediate attention. We also will use this information to inform the next round of discussions with the State over possible refinements or adjustments to the 2021 salary compression analysis. Modifications to the process and methodology adopted in the second round were a direct result of the information members provided after the first round of salary compression adjustments.

I encourage you to communicate with us through this intake form as soon as possible. We will begin analyzing all information as it comes in.

Please contact your UUP chapter office if you need immediate assistance.

UUP Salary Compression Intake Form: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/UUP2020Compression

Sincerely,
Frederick E. Kowal, PhD
President
United University Professions

UUP Benefit Trust Fund Group Term Life Insurance Program

We were just informed by UNUM (UUP’s life Insurance carrier) that the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) Life Bureau is requiring that Unum remove all Value Added Services (Worldwide Emergency Travel Assistance, Life Planning Financial and Legal Resources, Employee Assistance/LifeBalance – EAP) from New York situs Life products. Therefore, UUP will no longer be able to offer the Worldwide Travel Assistance program to our represented employees beginning January 1, 2021.

It is with great regret that we inform you of this action. The New York State DFS Life Bureau has confirmed that Unum’s insurance policies do not contain specific enough language to allow them to offer value-added services to their customers.Unum has attempted to resolve this issue by adding to their previously approved product filings, unfortunately, the New York State DFS Life Bureau has been unwilling to approve new policy language on the grounds that the services do not have nexus, or inherently relevant connection, to life insurance.

Please spread this information out to your chapter colleagues and retiree members. Should you have any questions or would like any additional information, please feel free to contact the UUP Benefit Trust Fund at 800-887-3863.

In Solidarity,
Tom
Tom Hoey
State Wide Membership Development Officer United University Professions
UUP Office 518-640-6639

State delays 2020 salary increases

Dear Colleagues,

Sorry to have to start the New Year off with bad news, but late yesterday we received notification from the Governor’s Office of Employee Relations, that the state is again delaying implementation of the 2% across the board salary increases that were due to our members on July 1 or Sept 1, 2020 (depending on obligation). At this time, the state has indicated that this delay will extend through the end of March 2021. Once again, the state has indicated that this is a delay in payment, not a cancellation of the 2020 2% increase. This delay of the July 1/Sept 1 2% increase also mirrors an additional delay of the 2% increases that were due to other state employees beginning April 1. 2020.

As we know, the July 1/Sept.1 2% increase is contractually provided for in the 2016-2022 State/UUP Agreement. After GOER notified us of the initial delay in payment in June, UUP filed class-action grievances covering the delayed raises and related delays in minimum salary increases, including minimum salaries for adjuncts, scheduled to take effect in 2020. UUP also filed an Improper Practice with the NYS Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) on behalf of residents working in facilities associated with SUNY’s academic medical centers. Given the repeated delays in implementing our negotiated raises, we are continuing to pursue all appropriate avenues for enforcing our contract and protecting our terms and conditions of employment.

While we did not agree with, or accept the state’s decision, we understand that the decision is driven by the state budget crisis that has developed as a result of the COVID 19 pandemic. To address this crisis, it remains critical that the federal government provides desperately needed assistance to state and local governments across the country, including New York. However, given the situation in Washington right now, it’s clear that any additional federal help will at minimum await the inauguration. Thus, it is more critical than ever for New York State to pass an “Ultra-Millionaires’ tax” and a “Billionaires’ tax.” Additionally, we will continue to increase our efforts to secure passage of the proposed reinstatement of the Stock Transfer tax. This option could generate over $1 billion in the first month!

Tell NYS legislators to fund the state’s recovery. It is critical that NYS legislators hear from you. Please take a few moments to ensure our voices are heard.

For additional information go to: UUP Campaign for Revenue Raisers (uupinfo.org)

Please distribute this information as widely as possible widely to your chapter membership.

In Solidarity,
Fred

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Telecommuting Agreement Extension

Colleagues,

As I indicated in my email of yesterday afternoon, we were expecting that the telecommuting agreement would be extended. We received word in the past hour that the Governor’s Office of Employee Relations (GOER) will be extending the agreement through April 2, 2021. In that, we have no objections to the extension and expecting that neither will any of the other statewide unions, we will continue to advocate for its liberal interpretation so as to protect the health and safety of our campus communities during this most dangerous period of the COVID pandemic.

Thanks, as always, to Elizabeth Hough and Pat Domaratz for their hard work in securing this extension.

In Solidarity,
Fred

GOER to extend the January 1, 2020 vacation accrual cap

I am pleased to announce that we have reached an agreement with the Governor’s Office of Employee Relations to extend the January 1, 2020 vacation accrual cap. (click here to view)

As we are all aware, Article 23.2(d) of the State/UUP Agreement provides that employees who have vacation accruals in excess of 40 days at close of business on December 31, of each year of the agreement must forfeit that excess leave to bring their vacation leave credits down to 40 days on January 1. The new agreement with GOER provides that employees who have accrued vacation credits in excess of 40 days who have been unable to use that excess vacation leave due to ongoing COVID response efforts and will be given an additional year to close of business December 31, 2021 to exhaust that leave. The Memorandum of Agreement is attached for your reference.

Please work with your Labor Relations Specialists to address any questions that may arise on your campus regarding implementation of this agreement.

In Solidarity,

Fred

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Telecommuting Agreement/Salary increases delay

Colleagues,

First, the good news. I have just received word that the telecommuting agreement that all statewide public sector unions negotiated with the State of New York back at the start of the COVID emergency has been extended through the end of December, 2020. This is what we have demanded, though we certainly would have welcomed a longer time-frame. Now, the work needs to focus on making sure that the agreement is interpreted liberally by administrators so that our members can work from home to the greatest extent possible to protect our health while also serving to help alleviate the severe child care crisis we are facing as a society.

Second, as you know, our negotiated pay raises have been delayed for another 90 days. This is disappointing and frustrating – especially for those among us who are earning so little: Adjuncts and part-time professionals. We filed class action grievances when these steps were first taken by the Division of the Budget (specifically, on April 1, when a small number of state lifeguards – for whom we negotiate – had their pay raises delayed, and again on July 1, when most of us had pay raises delayed) Because of this continuing crisis, UUP has today taken the step of starting the process of moving the delayed salary increase grievances to arbitration. Though this does not mean immediate resolution of the crisis, it is a step that can serve to speed up the process.

Third, to clarify what the delayed increases actually mean for us, I want to make clear that we will get all the money we are owed – eventually. When salary increases are eventually paid by the state, all unit members due their 2% salary increase (in keeping with Article 20.9) on either July 1st or September 1st will receive their salary increases retroactively to that date. If the unit member has separated from service (for any reason: retirement, non-renewal, voluntary quit, termination) she/they/he will also receive their retroactive salary increase for the period of time they were in state service after the date the salary increase was due to be paid (July 1st or September 1st 2020) by either electronic deposit or by paper check to their last address on record.

This worsening situation should remind all of us how imperative it is that pressure continue on the US Senate to pass the HEROES Act and for the state legislature to return to Albany to pass tax increases on the super-rich and on Wall Street through the Stock Transfer Tax to help New York recover from the COVID Economic Crisis. Please go to www.uupinfo.org and take action!

Finally, with the news early this morning that President Trump and the First Lady have tested positive for COVID, let us remember to be masked, maintain physical distancing and wash our hands frequently. The pandemic is not controlled in the slightest. We must all do our part to protect each other.

Please take care and stay well…

In Solidarity,
Fred

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COVID Testing Agreement with SUNY

Dear Colleagues,

I am pleased to inform you that we have reached an agreement with SUNY over the terms for mandatory surveillance testing of campus employees. A summary of the provisions of that agreement is provided below. The full agreement is attached.

We continue to press the Governor’s office for an extension of the telecommuting agreement, and we are making progress there. As for campus testing of students, our pressure at the chapter and statewide levels are having a real impact. It’s clear that campuses are beginning to ramp up testing to increase both the rate of testing and the size of samples to be tested. Our united front on this crucial issue is key to our success — and our members’ health and safety. Thanks to all of you for your diligence and hard work.

Key provisions of the UUP/SUNY agreement on mandatory testing:

The agreement provides that campuses must test employees who are required to report in person to campus for work (whether part or full-time). Testing of UUP-represented employees will be conducted in concert with regular surveillance testing of students on campus.

Campuses must use less invasive tests such as saliva tests, short swab rapid tests, or other short swab tests for mandatory testing. If a campus uses long swab testing employees will not be mandated but may volunteer for testing.

Campuses must consult with UUP chapter representatives on the testing protocols for UUP-represented employees and the campus testing plan and information regarding how samples for testing are constructed, such as the size of pools and the number of employees to be tested shall be provided to UUP chapter representatives.

Testing procedures must ensure that: the identity of individual employees testing remains confidential and is only accessible on a need to know basis; the privacy of employees being tested and the identity of employees who test positive must be protected to the extent possible. Employees must be tested during regular work hours and without cost to the employee. Test results shall not be retained in personnel files or other personnel records and shall not be retained by the campus any longer than is necessary to comply with COVID 19 related public health requirements.

Employees who are quarantined or isolated following a positive test at public health, medical, or campus direction shall be allowed to telecommute to the greatest extent possible. If telecommuting is not possible, the employee shall be permitted to use applicable statutory leaves in accordance with state and federal law and leave accruals as contractually appropriate.

The agreement expires December 31, 2020, subject to possible extension by mutual agreement. View Agreement

I’m happy to answer any questions you may have and I look forward to “seeing” many of you at our regional meetings, starting tomorrow for Western New York.

Stay safe, stay well, and take care…
In Solidarity,
Fred

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Fall 2020 Executive Board Meetings – Zoom

Fall 2020 Executive Board Meetings – Zoom

Wednesday, September 16, 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Wednesday, October 14, 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Wednesday, November 18, 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Wednesday, December 9, 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Fall 2020 Labor Management Meetings (Only Officers Attend) – Zoom
Monday, September 21, 1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Monday, October 19, 1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Monday, November 16, 1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Monday, December 21, 1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Please mark your calendars for the Fall 2020 UUP Executive Board Meetings and Fall 2020 Labor Management Meetings.  Dates for the Spring 2021 Executive Board Meetings and Labor Management Meetings have not been finalized as the Spring 2021 calendar is under development.  Due to COVID-19, Fall Frolic and the University-Wide Benefits Fair will not be held this year.  Members wishing to attend the Executive Board Meetings should email the chapter at least two days prior to the event (uup@binghamton.edu).

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