Archive for United University Professions

Statement by UUP President Fred Kowal on Harris v. Quinn ruling

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On June 30, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 on Harris v. Quinn, a long-awaited case that could have gutted unions by barring them from collecting agency fees from non-members.

The case was brought by a group of Illinois home-care workers who refused to pay their fair share of their union’s costs to represent them in collective bargaining agreements. The court ruled that the home-care workers should be considered as “partial public employees,” and not be forced to pay their fair share—known in New York as agency fee—even though they would still be represented by their union.

In essence, these home-care workers would be “free riders,” contrary to the Supreme Court’s landmark 1977 case Abood vs. Detroit Board of Education, which asserted labor’s constitutional right to collect dues and collectively bargain for public workers.

UUP’s ability to represent its 35,000 members isn’t impaired by the Harris ruling, which does not apply to “full-fledged” public employees such as SUNY academics and professionals, teachers, police officers and firemen who work in the public sector.

Strong anti-union forces bankrolled and supported the case. The National Right to Work Committee Legal Defense Fund represented the home-care workers. The Legal Defense Fund is linked with the billionaire Koch brothers, the American Legislative Exchange Council and the Cato Institute, among other anti-union advocates.

Read entire article here.

Join Us for Mayday $5K Rally Thursday, May 1, at Noon

New State Budget Increases Aid for SUNY, Helps Safeguard SUNY Hospitals

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UUP President Fred Kowal

 

The head of the union that represents academic and professional faculty at the State University of New York today expressed concern that while the enacted state budget took many steps forward, it fell short of providing the resources necessary to meet the university’s growing needs.

“State lawmakers responded to our call to increase state support for SUNY’s state-operated campuses and to safeguard SUNY hospitals, and for that we are extremely grateful,” said UUP President Fred Kowal, Ph.D. He noted that the $7.6 million increase for state-operated campuses is the first increase in state support for SUNY since 2008. “It’s a step in the right direction toward closing the gap created by years of underfunding, but more needs to be done.” MORE

 

Faculty Demand Fair Pay For All

Faculty members at SUNY New Paltz, whose salaries have stagnated for years, are determined to take action. Thus far, the departments of Anthropology, Art History, Educational Studies, Elementary Education, Library, Sociology, Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies have unanimously passed a Resolution for Fair Pay, and more are expected to follow suit in the coming days.

The resolution calls for the College to award raises to those who had previously been recommended for discretionary salary increases (DSI) in 2011 and 2012. The measure also supports a higher starting salary for adjuncts, over 200 part-time lecturers who teach a substantial number of introductory and specialized courses at the College.

According to UUP chapter President Peter D.G. Brown, pay for adjuncts has plummeted by 49% since the 1970s, when adjusted for inflation. At its Delegate Assembly earlier this month, United University Professions (UUP) overwhelmingly supported a $5K Campaign to pay adjuncts a minimum starting salary of $5,000 per three-credit course.

“This is an intolerable situation,” Brown said. “Faculty morale has never been lower in the 42 years that I have been at the College. People are very demoralized, angry and frustrated. Many younger faculty members are actively looking for jobs elsewhere, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to hire good faculty to come and work under these depressing conditions.”

Because the state’s previous contract with the union (UUP) expired in July 2011 and a new one was not in place until July 2013, employees were not paid any DSI during that period. The Resolution for Fair Pay also calls for adjusting the workload of 75 full-time lecturers, whose teaching load is higher at New Paltz than at any of the other comparable colleges in SUNY.

Employees saw their paychecks shrink even further this fall with the imposition of unpaid furlough days and higher mandated premiums for health insurance. According to Brown, “While ignoring the deplorable situation of its current employees, this administration evidently has plenty of money to hire new faculty and lavishly reward former administrators. This is truly an intolerable situation!”Resolution, Elem Ed, 10-13

Departments that have passed this Resolution for Fair Pay at SUNY New Paltz:

Anthropology, Art History, Educational Studies, Elementary Education, Library, Sociology, Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies.

This Resolution has also been endorsed by the Student Senate of the Student Association of SUNY New Paltz.