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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…
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…
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 (email@example.com).
Prescription Drug Phone Scam Targeting Empire Plan Members
The Department of Civil Service is aware that third party companies, unaffiliated with The Empire Plan, are targeting enrollees with offers to obtain medications for no cost or reduced cost. Do not provide your personal information to these companies; they are not authorized by The Empire Plan. If you are able to provide details regarding the call such as the phone number and the medications they say they will cover, please report this information to the Plan by calling the toll-free number at 1-877-7-NYSHIP (1-877-769-7447) and selecting option 4 to reach the Prescription Drug Program. If you have any questions about your Empire Plan prescription drug coverage, please visit www.cs.ny.gov/empireplanrxprogram or call The Empire Plan toll-free number.
United University Professions
Post Office Box 15143
Albany, New York 12212-5143
800 342 4206 / 518 640 6600
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
Please see UUP’s new Special Bulletin on faculty courses and intellectual property concerns at the link below – and share it with colleagues.
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.
Jamie Dangler, PhD
Vice President for Academics
United University Professions
Message from Fred Kowal
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!
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 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:
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).