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UUP Calls for Addressing Climate Change in Massive March

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The People’s Climate March was a march for the ages, and UUP was a part of it.

Dressed in blue T-shirts emblazoned with the words “Climate Justice,” more than 40 UUP members joined hundreds of thousands of their labor sisters and brothers, environmental activists, students, actors, musicians, and other demonstrators calling for curbing climate change in the Sept. 21 march.

More than 310,000 people marched in the Manhattan protest; organizers, who expected about 100,000 participants, called the event the largest climate march in history. It dovetailed with climate change marches worldwide.

The march went off just days before a Sept. 23 U.N. summit in New York City on climate change.

“It’s imperative that we’re here,” said UUP President Fred Kowal. “I think what we’re trying to do is to bring some healing about for the planet and for our students because they’re going to inherit this world.” MORE

UUP: Loud and Strong in NYC Labor Day Parade

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UUP President Fred Kowal said he wanted UUP to march in the 2014 New York City Labor Day Parade to demonstrate the union’s strength to politicians, candidates, unionists and anyone who was watching.

Mission accomplished, and then some.

More than 300 UUP members, along with family members and friends, marched proudly up Fifth Avenue, joining thousands of unionists from New York City and across the state in the parade.

Members fell in behind UUP President Fred Kowal and the union’s statewide officers, chanting and waving signs that said “Speak Up for Workers” and “Labor Works for You.” They smiled, waved and even blew kisses on a sweltering, humid day with temperatures in the mid-90s.

There were no complaints, only gritty determination as members, wearing red UUP shirts, marched 17 blocks up the sun-drenched avenue, handing pencils to parade goers who cheered as they walked past.

“We’re showing our strength, our solidarity, and our willingness to literally take to the streets in defense of the work that we do,” said Kowal. More

New York State AFL-CIO Issues Endorsements for November Elections

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The New York State AFL-CIO has endorsed a slate of more than 200 candidates for statewide, legislative, and congressional seats in November’s midterm election.

The powerful federation, which represents 2.5 million workers and retirees from public and private sector and building trades unions across New York, declined to issue an endorsement for the state’s gubernatorial race at its Aug. 18 endorsement convention. NYSUT has also passed on backing a candidate for governor in November.

UUP and NYSUT are affiliated with the New York State AFL-CIO.

“Our members want a state that prioritizes the creation of good, long-term jobs and strong investment in the public services all New Yorkers rely on,” said federation President Mario Cliento. “ But that only happens if we elect the right candidates to office. Union members from throughout the state will work together in a coordinated effort to ensure that our endorsed candidates, and in turn an agenda that puts workers and their families first, are successful on election day.”

As a union, UUP does not endorse candidates. However, UUP’s statewide officers and more than 20 UUP members were part of a delegation of more than 400 NYSUT members that participated in the endorsement convention, and voted for candidates to endorse.

“We approve of the list of candidates that the New York State AFL-CIO has chosen to endorse, and UUP will work to support those candidates,” said UUP President Fred Kowal.

The federation is backing two statewide candidates, Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. It endorsed 26 Congressional candidates, 63 state Senate candidates and 147 candidates for state Assembly; it will review endorsements for three Assembly seats after September primaries.

To support candidates, the federation will contact members at home through member mailings, flyers, phone bank operations, and a “labor-to-neighbor” program, where union members visit area members to talk about specific races.

View complete list of 2014 NYS AFL-CIO endorsements for state Assembly and Senate
View complete list of 2014 NYS AFL-CIO endorsements for Congress

AFT Demands an End to Exploitation of Contingent Faculty

aftThe American Federation of Teachers (AFT), UUP’s national affiliate with 1.6 million members, issued a strong call for “ending the exploitation of contingent faculty.” At SUNY New Paltz, fully half of the teaching faculty are contingents, with over 200 part-time adjuncts and some 70 full-time lecturers.

In a series of resolutions passed at AFT’s convention, meeting July 11-14 in Los Angeles, AFT demanded pay equity for contingents, including compensation for class preparation time and office hours. Further demands include:

• Equitable access to employee benefits;

• Access to and compensation for opportunities for professional development;

• Meaningful job security, including job security comparable to tenure, long-term academic appointment contracts or certificates of continuing employment, which guarantee the presumption of rehiring;

• Opportunities for career advancement, including conversion opportunities to full-time, tenure-track positions;

• Enforceable standards for the timely notification of teaching appointments;

• Protections for academic freedom, regardless of tenure status; and

• Full inclusion in and compensation for participation in all institutional work, including service, research and governance.

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