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2018 Dependent Care Advantage Accounts – New Employer Contribution

Date posted: September 11, 2018

The new 2016-2022 Agreement between UUP and the State includes an employer contribution to Dependent Care Advantage Accounts (DCAA) for UUP-represented employees who are enrolled as DCAAccount participants for the 2018 plan year.

UUP-represented employees (or employees who were represented by UUP at the time they enrolled) who have an active 2018 DCAAccount do not need to do anything. The employer contribution will be deposited into the employee’s DCAAccount with the October 3, 2018 paycheck (for employees on the Administrative payroll – the vast majority of our members) or the October 11, 2018 paycheck (for employees on the Institutional payroll).

Please note that adding the employer contribution to DCAAccounts will not increase the employee’s annual election amount – unless the employee enrolled for less than the employer contribution. In the latter case, the employee’s DCAAccount will be adjusted to reflect the full amount of their employer contribution.

When the employer contribution is added to DCAAccounts, WageWorks will recalculate or stop remaining bi-weekly payroll deductions, as appropriate, to adjust for the addition of the employer contribution. If necessary, OSC will issue a refund of any remaining excess employee deductions with the paychecks of:

  • October 3, 2018 for employees on the Administrative payroll
  • October 11, 2018 for employees on the Institutional payroll

UUP-represented employees who are not enrolled in DCAA but experience a qualifying change in status may enroll by submitting a change in status application. They will be eligible for the employer contribution for the remainder of the 2018 plan year. Here are some examples of change in status events:

  • Marriage
  • Divorce or separation
  • Death (spouse/dependent)
  • Birth or adoption of a child
  • Beginning or end of employment (employee or spouse)
  • Dependent disability
  • From full-time to part-time employment or vice versa (employee or spouse)
  • Beginning of or return from leave of absence (employee or spouse)
  • Change in work schedule (employee or spouse)
  • Change in custody of dependent
  • Change in rate paid (only if the provider is not a relative)
  • Change in care provider
  • Loss of another Dependent Care Assistance Program (DCAP) plan’s coverage (increase or enrollment only)

If an employee was on a leave of absence or terminated their 2018 DCAAccount they will not receive an employer contribution unless the employee re-enrolls due to a qualifying change in status.

UUP-represented employees with questions about their existing 2018 DCAAccounts should call WageWorks customer service at 1-800-358-7202.

Employees who are interested in learning more about enrolling for the remainder of the 2018 plan year, and the change in status rules, may visit www.flexspend.ny.gov or call WageWorks customer service at 1-800-358-7202.

Finally, for employees interested in enrolling in DCAA during the 2019 plan year, the upcoming 2019 open enrollment period will run from October 9, 2018 through November 9, 2018.

In Solidarity, Fred

 

Contract Ratification Vote Results

Date posted:

Dear Colleagues:

The following message was sent to Negotiations Team Members, Executive Board members and Chapter Presidents on Wednesday when the contract ratification vote tally was completed.  I wanted to share this as widely as possible and so I am sending you information regarding the vote.  As you will see, we have together exceeded all expectations in terms of participation in the vote and support of the tentative agreement.

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I am pleased to announce that UUP’s 2016-2022 contract has been ratified. The American Arbitration Association reported the following after its September 5 ballot count:

Final ballot count:

Total ballots returned: 14,935

14,582 For; 334 Against; 19 Invalid

98% of eligible voters who returned ballots voted to ratify

Member participation in this ratification vote was far greater than voter response for the previous three contracts.  In fact, this is the highest total vote in recent UUP history. A total of 10,681 members cast votes for the 2011-16 contract (with 77% voting in favor), a total of 10,546 members cast votes for the 2007-11 contract (with 97.5% voting in favor), and a total of 10,357 cast votes for the 2003-07 contract (with 96.6% voting in favor).

We owe our thanks to the entire Negotiations Team for their years of hard work to bring us to this point.  We should especially thank Chief Negotiator Mike Smiles, Assistant Chief Negotiator Pamela Malone, Assistant Chief Negotiator Jason Torre, and NYSUT’s Secretary-Treasurer J. Philippe Abraham, who served as chief negotiator for the first half of this contract negotiations round before leaving for NYSUT in 2017, for their strong and tireless work on behalf of all UUP members. I would also like to personally thank Elizbeth Hough, UUP’s Counsel to the President, for her tremendous work on getting the contract completed.

Highlights of the contract include:

  • 2 percent salary increases each year of the contract, retroactive to July 2016;
  • Coverage under the state’s Paid Family Leave Law—making UUP New York’s first state employee union to negotiate into the statutory benefit;
  • Starting in 2019, a minimum salary for part-time academics who are compensated on a per-course basis. After years of effort, this is an historic gain for part-time academics on SUNY’s state-operated campuses;
  • Dedicated on-base funds to address salary compression at campuses statewide;
  • The reestablishment of on-base discretionary salary increases (DSI);
  • Provisions to address hospital needs regarding on-call and holiday pay; and
  • Professional development and other grants to address the professional needs of UUP members and SUNY.

Next Steps:

The final contract will be printed and made available to members as soon as possible. An electronic copy will be posted on the UUP website.

UUP will provide chapters with information as soon as possible about implementation of contract items such as:

  • Pay dates for salary provisions coming to us this fall (pending NYS Comptroller’s Office directives). These will include pay dates for the 2016, 2017, and 2018 2% salary increases, the first ½ of the retro pay owed due to these raises, the $600 lump sum payment (pro-rated for part time employees), and the 2018 discretionary salary award.
  • Open Enrollment period for the 2018 Productivity Enhancement Program (PEP), which allows eligible employees who accrue vacation leave to exchange days for a credit toward their 2018 health insurance premium costs. Enrollment for the 2019 PEP program will occur during the regular NYSHIP open enrollment period later in the fall.
  • Payment of the 2018 employer contribution to the accounts of employees currently enrolled in the Dependent Care Advantage Account (DCAA). Enrollment for the 2019 DCAA and employer contribution will occur later in the fall.
  • Plans for Executive Level discussions involving UUP, SUNY, and the Governor’s Office of Employee Relations on such things as implementation of the salary compression adjustments.
  • Information about distribution of Joint Labor management funding, including funding for Individual Development Awards, Drescher Awards and Campus Grants.
  • Information regarding the dependent scholarship program.

UUP officers and Labor Relations Specialists will work with each chapter to ensure that new contract provisions are understood and appropriately implemented at each campus.

In Solidarity, Fred

Contract ratification ballots in the mail

Date posted: August 7, 2018

The day that UUP members have been waiting for is at hand – they are about to vote on the union’s tentative contract with the state.

Members will soon receive contract ballots at their home addresses. The ballots were mailed Friday, Aug. 3, so they should begin arriving the week of Aug. 5.

The ballots will arrive in a business-sized white envelope from the American Arbitration Association, and each envelope will also contain a postage-paid return envelope addressed to the AAA. Please mail your ballot in this return envelope back to the AAA, not to UUP.

The American Arbitration Association, which is distributing and will count ballots, must receive ballots by 5 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 4. The ballots will be counted Sept. 5.

If you are a UUP member as of May 23, 2018, you are eligible to vote; May 23 is the date that both sides signed the tentative agreement.

If you believe that you are eligible to receive a ballot and vote on the contract, but you have not received a ballot in the mail at your home address, please call the American Arbitration Association at 1-800-529-5218 to request a duplicate ballot.

An empowering message

“Your vote on a tentative contract agreement is the final step in this democratic process, and very possibly the most important and empowering action you will take as a UUP member,” UUP President Fred Kowal said. “All that I ask as you vote is that you be assured that neither the Negotiations Team nor I would have ever presented this tentative agreement to the membership if we did not truly believe it is a very solid, strong and comprehensive agreement that will stand the test of time.”

Highlights of the tentative agreement include:

      • 2 percent salary increases each year of the contract, retroactive to July 2016;
      • Inclusion of the state’s Family Paid Leave provision in UUP’s contract—making it New York’s first public-sector union to negotiate the policy;
      • Beginning in 2019, a minimum starting salary for part-time academics for each three-credit course they teach. This is the first time that UUP has been successful in negotiating a minimum salary for part-time academics on SUNY’s state-operated campuses;
      • A new compensation provision that establishes on-base funds, allowing UUP to address salary compression and inequity at campuses statewide;
      • The reestablishment of on-base discretionary salary income (DSI) increases;
      • Provisions to address hospital needs regarding on-call and holiday pay—which will positively impact UUP professionals at all campuses;
      • Access to a yearly grant to help members pay for their child’s education at a SUNY state-operated campuses.

 

A copy of the tentative agreement and other detailed information is available on UUP’s Contract Negotiations web page.

Since the May 23 signing of the tentative agreement, UUP officers and Negotiations Team members have visited every chapter to meet with members. Officers and Team members have remained on call to answer any additional questions about the agreement, or to speak with members who were unable to attend their campus meeting.

Officers will continue to be available for final questions during the voting process.

“These are very tough times for unions,” Kowal said. “But UUP stood firm even as other public-sector unions reached settlements, because we negotiate only for our members – we would never let outside pressures dictate such an important decision. I can proudly stand behind this proposal, and I hope that all of you will, too.”