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Check here for updates, documents, and information related to the COVID-19 crisis.

COVID-19 Telecommuting Pilot


It has been a very very busy week! I would like to thank everyone who has helped with our union response to the barrage of challenges that we have all been facing under these extraordinary circumstances!
So many have contributed to our union’s response. Individual messages and phone calls from members have helped us to understand specific situations in your departments, a chain email of folks working in/concerned about the status of the Library helped to bring pressure on that issue, and last but not least, the elected leadership of the chapter have stepped up to brainstorm and to represent the collective interests of the entire bargaining unit. A special thanks also to our Labor Relations Specialist, Bill Capowski, who has been doing terrific work with us under difficult (remote!) conditions.
Things that you should be aware of:
  • Last weekend, statewide UUP negotiated an agreement with the State to enable a Telecommuting Pilot Program (pdf attached). There was previously no provision for working from home in our contract, and this agreement has given campuses across the system the authority to make such arrangements, on a temporary basis.
  • As promised, I am attaching to this email the answers we received from our initial list of questions to the New Paltz administration last week. Apologies for the delay in turning this information around, but it’s been a bit busy this week!
  • As of 5 pm today, the Sojourner Truth Library is closed; this was one of our major efforts this week. Kudos to everyone who pulled together to make it clear to the College that it was unsafe to keep the space physically open; of course, our librarians continue to provide excellent assistance with a wide range of electronic services while working remotely.
  • The UUP chapter office is closed for the duration of the crisis. Our wonderful Chapter Assistant, Mary Thompson, packed up her files and other materials necessary to work from home last Thursday, where she continues helping us remotely. Thanks Mary!!
  • Mary is now starting to send out notifications regarding the Individual Development Awards (IDAs). The campus committee, chaired by Rachel Rigolino, gave us the results of their deliberations just as the coronavirus pandemic began to break. At this point, we have already received word from several applicants that the events they had been planning to attend with the money have been cancelled, and so asked to withdraw their applications; we are awaiting clarification from the statewide JLMC if there will be some flexibility regarding the activity period (which ends July 1, 2020), in case events originally scheduled for the Spring are postponed until sometime after that date. When we have that information, we will share it with everyone.
  • Our chapter Executive Committee met for a marathon Zoom meeting on Tuesday, at which we drew up the next set of concerns for Labor-Management, which is set to meet next Wednesday, March 25 (via WebEx meeting). Please see the proposed agenda attached. We will publish our notes for this discussion with management as soon as we can process them after the meeting.
  • We are working to update the chapter website to include key contact information, updates, and the relevant documents; I will let everyone know when that is up and running.
  • We have set up a Google Form for you to use, if you would like to share concerns that you have as we work through this crisis. Here is the link:  Please feel free to use this form to let us know what’s going on!!
We are all entering a brave new world here; if you have any concerns related to COVID-19 and potential impacts on your job, issues that arise related to potential health and safety situations, or any other comment or suggestion, please don’t hesitate to let us know. We are all here to support the collective work that we do, together.
Hi all,
We are trying to keep abreast of this fast-moving situation as best we can, and we are committed to providing essential information to all of you on a regular basis. Here are some of the latest developments, and the most current information we have available:
  • Statewide UUP has confirmed an agreement with the State (GOER, SUNY Central), that members who are subject to a county/state Dept of Health-mandated quarantine, whether because they have tested positive for the coronavirus or for preventative quarantine, will be permitted 14 days of paid sick leave that they will not have to charge to accruals. The State is in the process of working out how to change the time and attendance system to enable this non-chargeable time. Please note: you MUST be under specific Dept of Health/official authority orders to quarantine, not just your personal doctor’s advice in order to qualify for this non-charged sick leave.
  • The local county announcements closing the K12 schools do NOT apply to SUNY New Paltz. Only the Governor’s office has the authority to close our campus, so we are still waiting to hear what happens on that front. That said, we are encouraged by the email that just went out from HRDI to all-fs, informing everyone of the option to work out an arrangement with your supervisor to work from an alternate location (which could include your home). Please be advised that you MUST arrange this with your supervisor in advance, and ultimately follow the direction given by them.
  • If you yourself are sick, you can charge your sick time for days when you do not come into the office; if you stay home to tend to a family member who is sick, you should charge ‘family sick’ on your time and attendance. We are contractually permitted a maximum of 30 days of family sick leave each year, up to the limit of sick days you have accrued.
  • I got word this afternoon that the Administration ‘has answers to the questions’ that we sent to them on Wednesday, but they did not call us back before the close of business today. I’m guessing that means we won’t have answers until Monday. As soon as we do have that information from our preliminary list of questions, we will be sharing it with all of you.

We have set up a Google form that you can use to anonymously send your questions and concerns to us, as we continue our conversations with the Administration. The link for this form is here: This a difficult and stressful time for everyone. Take care of yourselves, and make some space to breathe and unplug from the news for a while this weekend to lower your anxiety levels. Rest assured that our union chapter has your back and that we will continue to inform and advocate for you as effectively as we can.

In solidarity,

Beth E Wilson
UUP-New Paltz Chapter