COVID Testing Agreement with SUNY

Dear Colleagues,

I am pleased to inform you that we have reached 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 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.

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.

Mandatory Testing MOA (1)

Stay safe, stay well and take care…

In Solidarity,

Regional Tele-Town Halls


As campuses are reopening across the state, UUP has planned regional tele-town hall virtual membership meetings to hear directly from members about their experiences with the reopening process and other COVID-19 related concerns. The regional tele-town halls will provide an overview of the political and economic landscape related to public higher education, as well as an opportunity to hear about the progress that we have achieved together through coordinated member, chapter, and statewide actions to address COVID-19 reopening issues. While the meeting will begin with a brief presentation, the majority of the virtual meeting will be driven by the participants. Participants will have an opportunity to ask questions and share additional concerns that may need to be addressed by UUP at the chapter and/or statewide level.

The regional meetings will begin at noon and take place over a two-week period beginning the week of September 15. The campuses have been divided up into six regions, as the questions and answers may differ based on the region that the campus is located within. If you are a member at Empire State College, please sign up for the region closest to your location.

The tele-town halls will take place on the following days at noon:

·         September 15 – Western NY (Alfred, Brockport, Buffalo Center, Buffalo HSC, Buffalo State, Fredonia, & Geneseo)

·         September 16 – Capital District (Albany, Cobleskill, Polytechnic Institute, & System Admin.)

·         September 17 – Central NY (Binghamton, Cortland, Delhi, ESF, Morrisville, Oneonta, & Upstate Medical University)

·         September 22 – Long Island (Farmingdale, Old Westbury, Stony Brook, & Stony Brook HSC)

·         September 23 – Hudson Valley/Metro-Downstate (Downstate Medical Center, Maritime, New Paltz, Optometry, & Purchase)

·         September 24 – North Country (Canton, Oswego, Plattsburgh, & Potsdam)

We will always be stronger when we are engaging one another and advocating together for our common future. I encourage you to join your colleagues and participate on the tele-town hall for your region by registering here. Information on how to log-in to the event will be sent to registrants the week of the tele-town hall. Log-in information is individualized. Please share information about the tele-town halls as widely as possible. To assist in sharing the information please find a flier attached (pdf and image

UUP is standing strong in the face of the greatest challenges we’ve ever encountered. I’m looking forward to hearing from as many of our union siblings as possible as we continue to fight for safe, healthy communities and a better SUNY for all!

In solidarity,

NY Renews Climate, Jobs, and Justice Recovery Virtual Rally and Campaign Launch- Aug 19


UUP will be joining our coalition partners in NY Renews for the virtual rally launch of the Climate, Jobs, and Justice Recovery campaign on August 19th.

UUP is a long-time coalition member of NY Renews, and we have worked together to fight for environmental justice across New York. Most recently, we celebrated the passage of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act last year. UUP member advocacy was essential to getting that important legislation passed.

Our current public health crisis, financial crisis and social justice crisis are all deeply linked to our climate crisis. It is more urgent than ever that NY State invest in its communities, create green jobs, transition to 100% renewable energy, and make polluters pay to provide for a decent, just recovery and a transition to an economy that works for all.

I encourage you join us for the Climate, Jobs, and Justice Recovery campaign launch virtual rally on August 19th at 12 pm. I will be speaking alongside other climate activists about the importance of environmental justice for our communities. You can register for the event here.

Please share this information with your colleagues. NY Renews has also compiled a rally toolkit that includes sample social media posts/graphics and emails.

In solidarity,


COVID-19 and Workers’ Compensations Benefits

As you know, members who are diagnosed with COVID-19 who believe their infection was due to work related exposure should be encouraged to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. At this time, potential long term effects of COVID 19 are unknown. Given this, it important that our members protect their rights to medical care and wage replacement through New York’s Workers’ Compensation system. Documenting on-the-job exposure to COVID 19 now can prove critical to protecting their rights to receive Workers Compensation benefits in the future.

Members who are exposed to COVID-19 at work should be encouraged to: document the exposure; report the exposure by following their campus process for filing an accident or incident report; report the exposure to the state Accident Reporting System; and, if they become ill, file a Workers’ Compensation claim. To assist members in this effort, we have prepared an information flyer on Workers’ Compensation and COVID 19 and a COVID-19 Exposure Tracking Form which members can use to create a written record of their exposure. Both the flyer and the tracking form are posted on the COVID 19 Resources page on the UUP website at
UUP COVID-19 Resources Page
*Commit to Participate in Action: For the Health & Safety of Our Communities ; UUP Question Portal-Direct link to UUP officers regarding your COVID-19 questions and concerns.; Know Your Rights-Reasonable Accomodations FAQ -July 17, 2020; Workers Compensation and COVID-19 -July 2, 2020; UUP Member COVID-19 Exposure Tracking Form -July 2, 2020; Higher Education Detailed Guidelines -June 22, 2020

In solidarity,

UUP member webinars for employee groups – Suggestions Welcome

To date, we have held statewide webinars to discuss campus reopening issues and other concerns for the four employee groups listed below. During these webinars, UUP members were able to address questions to me and other statewide officers, learn from each other about common challenges across campuses, and consider ways to work together to address pressing issues related to the COVID-19 crisis. Participants received notes from the discussions and we continue to help facilitate connecting colleagues to each other and to their chapter leaders for follow-up.

We began this webinar series in response to requests and suggestions from members at various campuses. Based on participation (more than 100 members at each webinar) and feedback from participants after the webinars, we believe it could be very helpful to provide similar opportunities to other employee groups — or to hold additional webinars with those groups we’ve already met virtually with.

Please submit suggestions for additional employee group webinars via our COVID-19 comment/question portal at this link:

UUP Employee Group Webinars to date
Residence Life – June 17
Student Health Services and Counseling Services – June 24
Academic Department Chairs – June 25
Academic Librarians and Library Professionals – July 13

In solidarity,

UUP Pre-retirement session

Dear Members,

If you are considering retiring in the next few years you should attend the UUP Pre-retirement seminar. This session was well attended in June and is in response to a request for those that may have missed it. It is scheduled for Friday 7/24/20 from 12:30-2:00 PM via the Microsoft Teams Meeting Link Below. It is being hosted in conjunction with and by the Empire State College UUP Chapter.

Here is the link:
Join Microsoft Teams Meeting

An important note is that past retirees from Cobleskill recommend that if you are within 5 years of retiring you should attend this session to learn some of the vast important content and considerations. Numerous retirees have said they found it helpful to attend this presentation more than once as they approached retirement.

Topics include:
• State Retirement System
• Retiree Health Care Plan
• Medicare coverage
• UUP Retiree Membership
• Dental and Vision coverage options for Retirees and more…

Please RSVP to if you plan to attend.
Thank you.
Bill Tusang
UUP Cobleskill

Important Resolutions on Social Justice/Chancellor Search


At last Friday’s Executive Board meeting, the attached resolutions were passed. Yesterday, they were shared with Chapter Presidents. But given the importance of each of them, I felt it necessary to share them as widely as possible. Please feel free to share them with your colleagues.

One addresses the structural violence directed against communities of color. It focuses on the wide spectrum of challenges that must be met and changes that are necessary for our state and nation to overcome our history of racism and violence. The other, in a similar vein, addresses the departure of Chancellor Johnson, and calls for a nationwide search — one which must aggressively pursue candidates who come from under-represented communities of color. For SUNY to finally begin to address its lack of diversity in administration, faculty and staff, it must start at the top. At a time when New York is quickly becoming a state in which the majority of the population will come from communities of color, this step must be taken. It is long overdue.

UUP Executive Board Resolution on Social Justice

UUP Executive Board Resolution re SUNY Chancellor Position

I urge you to study both resolutions, as they demand much of all of us. There are no quick and simple solutions to the challenges we face. The work awaits us all.

I wish all of you a restful and enjoyable Independence Day Holiday weekend. Please stay safe and stay well.

In Solidarity,