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State university employees ratify six-year contract

State university employees ratify six-year contract

Deal provides 2 percent annual raises for 35,000 UUP members
State university employees ratify six-year contract
Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivers the 2018 State of the State Address in Albany January 3, 2018.
Photographer: Peter R. Barber/Gazette Photographer

ALBANY — More than 35,000 state university employees have a new six-year contract that will give them 2 percent annual raises.

Their union, United University Professions, and the office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the ratification Wednesday. The deal was approved by a ratio of nearly 49-1, by the largest number of members to vote on a proposed UUP contract in 18 years. The final tally was 14,582-334. 

The previous UUP contract expired July 1, 2016. The new contract is retroactive to that point and runs through July 1, 2022. Among other provisions, it establishes a minimum salary starting in 2019 for part-time academics who are paid on a per-course basis, a longtime goal of that category of instructors.

After the contract was tentatively agreed upon by both sides on May 23, UUP officers and contract negotiators visited every state campus to meet with the membership prior to the ratification vote.

UUP represents 42,000 academic and professional faculty and retirees, with members at 29 New York state-operated campuses, including SUNY’s public teaching hospitals and health sciences centers in Brooklyn, Buffalo, Long Island and Syracuse. It is an affiliate of NYSUT, the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.

“At a time when organized labor is under attack like never before in America, UUP members stepped up in record numbers and voted for our new contract,” UUP President Frederick E. Kowal said in a news release, invoking a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that compromised the funding stream for public-sector unions. “This vote comes on the heels of the Janus case, and proves without a doubt that UUP members strongly support this contract and their union.” 

In his own news release, Cuomo said:

“This contract agreement fairly and appropriately compensates the hardworking men and women who are the backbone of our university system, while also protecting the taxpayers’ bottom line. I applaud United University Professions for ratifying their contract agreement and commend President Kowal and the union leadership for their hard work on this achievement.”

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