Communication is key

If you used a computer, watched television, read a newspaper, drove on a highway, or rode the Long Island Rail Road last year, chances are you saw UUP advocacy in action.

We placed TV and newspaper ads, put up billboards and LIRR transit posters, ran a micro-website called, and earned news coverage across the state as we fought for and against issues impacting UUPers.

And if you read The Voice, you got detailed breakdowns of those issues, as well as intriguing “big picture” stories about the effects of state budget cuts on SUNY, its teaching hospitals and its students. You also read interesting stories about our members in action at work, at home and with the union.

Kudos to UUP’s Communications Department for that.

Led by Director of Communications Denyce Duncan Lacy, our communications staff snared a number of prestigious awards last month in competitions sponsored by the International Labor Communications Association (ILCA) and the American Federation of Teachers Communicators Network (AFTCN). Communications Specialist Mike Lisi won the Max Steinbock Award—ILCA’s top prize—for a story titled “Speaking Up for SUNY” in the January 2010 issue of The Voice. You can read more about the awards earned by Lacy, Lisi, Media Relations Specialist Don Feldstein and Publications Specialist Karen Mattison later in this issue.

I’m very proud of the Communications Department for carrying out two of my most important initiatives as UUP’s president: to open up communications with members and to let them know what UUP is doing to help and protect them.

Channels of communication

We’ve developed several outlets to deliver those messages, starting with the magazine you’re reading right now. You can also get UUP updates online via Facebook and our Twitter feed, which can be accessed via our website, at

Speaking of our website, look for it to undergo a major overhaul in the coming months. Our new webmaster, Lucas Williams, came on board in August and he’ll be making the site more interactive and easier to navigate. If you have any ideas about what you’d like the website to include, call Lucas or share your ideas with him via e- mail at

While you’re at it, feel free to e-mail or call me or any of the UUP staff. We’d relish the opportunity to answer questions and help in any way we can. And please, take a moment to tell us a little about yourself: where you work, what you do and how we might do more for you.

Contract updates on web

As you may know, UUP’s contract with New York state expired July 1; most of its provisions remain in place until a new accord is reached under the Triborough Amendment to the state’s Taylor Law. We were scheduled to hold our first meeting with the state’s bargaining team on Aug. 25.

Rest assured we’ll be keeping you informed every step of way through postings on Facebook and Twitter, and news bulletins on our website. The website is where you’ll find detailed information on contract negotiations, so keep checking back for the latest news.

9/11: 10 years after

Ten years ago this month, I was scheduled to fly to Buffalo for a meeting, but the flight was canceled.

It wasn’t an ordinary cancelation, not by a long shot. Then again, it wasn’t an ordinary day.

I was set to fly on Sept. 11, 2001.

I’m sure all of you remember where you were and what you were doing that fateful morning a decade ago, as television and radio newscasters broadcasted the unthinkable. That day, 2,977 ordinary people were killed, as were 411 emergency workers who died trying to fight fires and save lives. The America we knew just 24 hours before was gone, forever changed by those heinous acts of terrorism.

It is appropriate to remember the sacrifices made and the ongoing sacrifices that continue to be made as a direct result of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. In this issue of The Voice, four UUPers who were in Manhattan in the days immediately following 9/11 share their experiences and their thoughts on the 10th anniversary of the worst-ever terrorist attack on U.S. soil.

A new start

It’s a new academic year and we’ll be facing many challenges, some we’ve seen before and some that we haven’t seen.

As always, we’d love you to get involved. If you’ve been thinking about stepping into a leadership role at your chapter, it’s a great time to make that move. Now more than ever, we need energetic, dedicated unionists to help us take UUP to the next level.

Oh, and by the way, best wishes on the start of a new academic year.

Walter Apple has been hired as UUP retiree member services coordinator. He replaces Anne Marine, who retired in April after 12 years of service to the union and its retiree members.

Apple comes to UUP most recently from a temporary position at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, where he worked as an administrative assistant in human resources. Prior to that, Apple worked for nearly two decades at Aetna, starting out as a claims benefits consultant before working his way up to senior customer service representative. In the latter role, he served as concierge for eight direct accounts, as a mentor to represent-atives to increase performance, and as a liaison for the company’s benefits, eligibility and technical divisions.

“Walter comes to UUP with 18 years of customer service experience in health care and dental,” said UUP?President Phil Smith. “He also is knowledgeable in COBRA, HIPAA, the Family and Medical Leave Act, and short- and long-term disability regulations.

“He will be a great asset to our members who are looking toward retirement and to those who are currently retired.”

Committee on Active Retired Membership (COARM) Chair Judy Wishnia and COARM Southern Tier Region Chair Jo Schaffer were involved in the interview process.

— Karen L. Mattison

Remembering 9/11 We are not healed

Ten years later and the pain remains.

And the images are forever etched in our minds.

Images of two hijacked commercial airliners ramming the World Trade Center that sunny morning of Sept. 11, 2001. Images of grayish billowing smoke followed by the towers’ collapse, first the North, then the South.

Images of thousands of disheveled, disoriented New Yorkers covered in a white soot that seemed to attach itself to everything. Images of anguish: thousands of missing person posters papered across lower Manhattan. Images of heroes aboard United Airlines Flight 93 and at the Pentagon.

And the indelible image of the World Trade Center’s jagged iron skeleton jutting up from the smoldering heaps of rubble.

We haven’t forgotten. We can’t forget.

“How can you possibly work there and forget?” said Laura Terriquez-Kasey, a Binghamton UUPer and a member of the Metro New York 2 Disaster Medical Assistance Team that was at Ground Zero two days after the attack. “Five, 10, 20 years, it impacts you every day.”

“Every time they recovered a body, everything stopped and everyone was quiet,” said David Scholl, an Upstate Medical University UUPer who was deployed to Ground Zero as a member of the New York Air National Guard 174th Fighter Wing. “It was very solemn and so quiet.

All the equipment stopped. It brought tears to my eyes.”

Scores of UUPers like Scholl and Terriquez-Kasey went to New York City in the aftermath of the attacks and were left forever changed by their experiences. Here are four of their stories.

The worst by far

Laura Terriquez-Kasey saw the havoc Hurricane Katrina wreaked with her own eyes.

She’s seen destruction caused by floods, tornados and earthquakes.

But nothing, nothing comes close to the total devastation caused on Sept. 11. “To this day, the odor in the air, everything that occurred is still with me,” said Terriquez-Kasey, a clinical assistant professor and a longtime emergency response nurse who’s been teaching at Binghamton University since 2000. “It’s very hard to describe to people the tremendousness of this.”

Terriquez-Kasey, who joined the Metro New York 2 Disaster Medical Assistance Team just three months before the Sept. 11 attacks, was sent to Manhattan Sept. 13 to set up an emergency response unit—a triage tent at the American Express building just a half-block from Ground Zero—to assist medical staff in treating survivors.

They began providing medical and emotional care to firemen, police and construction workers as the rescue quickly turned into a recovery effort. And while her years of experience as an emergency response nurse served her well, there were times that Terriquez-Kasey couldn’t help but be overwhelmed.

“The people who were responding were in total shock; it was a grieving shock,” she said. “The police officers were having a very hard time coping with what they had to deal with. And we were grieving tremendously for all the losses. There were many a time someone just sat crying on my shoulder, such a profound sadness.”

Terriquez-Kasey returned to Binghamton and began developing what is now the graduate level Disaster Nursing Certificate Program—a direct result of her experiences at Ground Zero. The program is designed to better prepare emergency responders to handle emergency situations.

“Disaster response and issues have changed dramatically since Sept. 11, but that’s probably the only good thing that came from (the attacks),” she said.

One thing’s for sure: The sickening shock and horror she felt days after the attacks have subsided, replaced by a numbness that will never go away.

“You feel it inside,” she said. “To this day, you feel it.”

A horrible way to die

It’s the chaos that Henry “Hank” Dondero remembers most.

Dondero, a retired dentist who’s taught dentistry at SUNY Farmingdale since 1979, spent weeks in the wake of Sept. 11 volunteering with the New York City’s Medical Examiner’s Office to identify the remains of 9/11 victims.

Routes to the office, at First Avenue and 30th Street, were blocked off after the attacks, which made getting there impossible without city-issued credentials and the occasional police escort.

“You’d pass so many checkpoints,” Dondero said. “When you went down 30th Street at night, they had generators running lights. It was like you were at an Italian feast. But it was all business; you were there to do something.”

For Dondero and dozens of other forensic dentists, their business was to examine and identify recovered remains using dental records, police and eyewitness reports, and data from companies at the Twin Towers. As part of the World Trade Center Dental ID Team, he worked eight- and 12-hour shifts in the weeks after the attacks; the dental unit ran 24 hours a day until October 2001 and closed in June 2002.

Dondero, who oversaw shifts as a “tour commander,” estimated that he was responsible for about 100 of the more than 600 identifications made by the unit.

It was a gruesome task, especially in the first few days after Sept. 11.

“You go through a gamut of emotions,” he said. “First, you see someone so mutilated and think, ‘Look what happened to this poor S.O.B.’ The next emotion is self- serving, ‘Thank God it’s not me.’ Then you move past it and say, ‘There is someone I can help by doing this job.’

“It’s something I would have loved to have not done, but I’m glad I did it,” Dondero said.

Dondero said he attends a 9/11 memorial service each year at Farmingdale. And each year, he wears the dental unit jacket issued to him by the Medical Examiner’s Office.

“You can’t forget,” he said.

Lost, not found

He couldn’t save anyone, or help identify human remains, or carry debris from the ruins of Ground Zero.

But UUPer Bruce Jackson had a camera. He also had a mission.

Jackson, a University at Buffalo distinguished professor of American culture, knew that the mementos and memorials to those lost in the World Trade Center attack would soon begin to fade, victims to Mother Nature and time. They must be preserved, caught on film and kept for posterity.

“It’s the stuff that disappears that often tells us about a moment in time,” said Jackson, who shot more than 1,000 photos on film while spending a few days in the city about two weeks after the attacks. “I tried to show what the survivors were doing at that point, and there were still people who were hopeful that loved ones would turn up.”

Through his lens, Jackson captured the hope, sadness, grief and loss that New Yorkers at Union Square and nearby neighborhoods felt in the weeks after 9/11. He walked through Manhattan, photo-graphing the thousands of smiling faces peering from missing person posters taped to lamp posts and building walls, on bus stop shelters and fire alarm boxes in the days and weeks after the attacks. Below the photos were urgent notes hastily scrawled, silent screams from thousands of grieving family members pleading for any information on the whereabouts of loved ones who went to work on Sept. 11 and never came home. In one photo, a Superman action hero next to a small U.S. flag is perched over a sign that reads, “You are our brothers too, and we are proud of you!” A missing person poster for Judy Fernandez, who worked on the North Tower’s 104th floor is in another photo; the weatherworn poster is ripped across the woman’s face. Jackson’s photos were exhibited in October 2001 on the Mainstage Wall of the university’s Center for the Arts. They will be displayed again in 2013, when he debuts a photographic retrospective at Buffalo’s Burchfield Penney Art Center. Jackson said he’s also used the photos as teaching tools in field work and while working on documentaries with students.

The photos echo the anguish felt in New York City in the weeks following Sept. 11. They’re also a constant reminder that everything is different now.

“The consequences of 9/11 are far greater than I could have imagined wandering around Manhattan looking at those sad posters of missing children and mothers, and smelling that air mix of death and electrical fire,” said Jackson.

“We’re a more insular country than we were in 2001,” he continued. “The added security has eroded civil liberties. And now we’re facing an astonishing budget crisis because we’ve been fighting wars on borrowed money.”

New York, New York

David Scholl was wearing his U.S. Air Force camouflage uniform the first time he visited New York City.

It was Sept. 12, 2001.

Scholl, plumbing facilities manager at Syracuse’s Upstate Medical University, was part of the New York Air National Guard 174th Fighter Wing—which made him certain he’d get the call to help aid rescue efforts at the World Trade Center.

The 174th’s original mission—to set up a base camp to treat thousands wounded in the attacks—was scrubbed when rescue teams quickly realized there were few survivors. Instead, he spent the next 10 days assigned to a security detail at and near Ground Zero.

Welcome to New York.

“The first night we did security near a residential area about four blocks away (from Ground Zero) and it was pitch black because there was no power in the city,” said Scholl, who retired from the 174th in 2006. “You couldn’t see anything without a flashlight.”

Scholl and his security team spent a few nights sleeping under the Triborough Bridge, where the rats were the size of cats, he said, laughing. While on the job, they caught a pair of Michigan-based photographers dressed as firemen trying to sneak in to Ground Zero for a closer look, he said.

“Something struck us funny about these two—the captain was very young and the firefighter was very old,” he said. “So the cops cuffed them and left them there to show anyone else who wanted to sneak in what would happen to them.”

But the laughs were few and far between during those days, especially at Ground Zero, which Scholl described as a “war zone.” He was able to get a bird’s-eye view of the site from a nearby building.

“What was really eerie was that you could see all the damage to the surrounding buildings,” he said. “There was a unique, putrid-type smell in the air and there was this white dust that people were covered in.”

These days, Scholl said he feels a mix of pride and sadness when he thinks about 9/ 11 and his experiences at Ground Zero.

“In Iraq, our soldiers are dying to protect what we started to do back then. A lot of those soldiers were kids in school in 2001, and they’re doing what my generation was doing: fighting for the flag and our freedom. And that’s a good thing.”

— Michael Lisi

UUP, state set to begin contract talks

UUP was contacted by the state in July to begin the process of contract negotiations.

As The Voice went to press, UUP and state negotiators tentatively scheduled Aug. 25 as their first meeting date.

UUP President Phil Smith and Chief Negotiator Jamie Dangler of Cortland held a joint meeting Aug. 11 of the union’s Negotiations Team, Negotiations Committee and chapter presidents to provide information about the negotiations process and to address questions from chapter leaders.

As negotiations proceed, chapter leaders will be provided with updates for distribution to members, and information will be regularly posted to the UUP website ( Click on the “2011 Negotiations Information” link under Latest Information on the right hand side of the UUP home page.

Meanwhile, the Team continues to meet to discuss specific strategies on a number of issues previously outlined by the membership.

UUPers should feel free to contact Dangler at for further information or to submit questions or comments.

— Karen L. Mattison

Members first: Learning to lead in challenging times

From state budget battles and bitter contract negotiations, to fighting to protect members in the classroom and on the job, Bill Simons has faced his share of challenges over the years.

So it made sense to see Oneonta’s longtime chapter president offering advice to new and returning UUP leaders during a panel discussion on what to expect as a new leader, one of several seminars held during the union’s two-day New Chapter Leaders Orientation in June.

“You don’t have to be an expert on everything,” said Simons. “You have good people around you. Keep calm in the eye of the storm.”

“My advice is to persevere,” added Buffalo Center Chap- ter President Mike Behun. “Work around the impediments you face.”

Simons and Behun were two of a handful of seasoned UUP chapter officers who led the June 20-22 orientation; 15 new chapter presidents and vice presidents representing 13 campuses attended the event.

A mix of former and first-time leaders were there, including David Ramsey (Cobleskill), Walter Kim Hartshorn (Plattsburgh), Carol Gizzi (Stony Brook HSC) and Peter Brown (New Paltz). Fred Kowal, UUP’s former statewide membership development officer and Executive Board member, was also at the presentation; he’s back as Cobleskill chapter president, a post he held through most of the 1990s.

A number of new faces also attended: Mark D’Arcy (Alfred), Andrew Koenig (Buffalo HSC), Dean Reinhart (Buffalo State), John Lawless (Empire State College), Solomon Ayo (Farmingdale), Jeriluanne O’Bryan-Losee (Morrisville), Jeffrey Miller (New Paltz), Maureen Curtin (Oswego) and Michael Walker (System Administration). “We need strong, younger individuals to take over for the people who have accomplished so much before us,” said Reinhart, Buffalo State chapter’s new vice president for professionals. “We need to find people who will lead the union into the future.”

Learning the ropes

New leaders took part in breakout sessions for chapter presidents and vice presidents and got an overview of the union’s contract with New York state. But the highlight was the panel discussion, where veteran UUP leaders talked about their experiences as chapter leaders and shared strategies and words of wisdom with new leaders.

Purchase Chapter President John Delate led the discussion, which featured Behun, Simons, Farmingdale Chapter President Yolanda Pauze, Upstate Medical University Chapter President Carol Braund, Stony Brook Chapter President Arty Shertzer, and Rob Compton, Oneonta’s vice president for academics, as panelists.

“It’s been a great learning experience, learning about the challenges we’ll face and how to handle those issues for our members,” said Ayo, Farmingdale’s new vice president for professionals. “You realize that you’re not alone out there.”

That’s why union leaders are tapped to teach the forum, said UUP President Phil Smith.

“The orientation for new leaders is best led by people who have walked in those same shoes,” he said. “Our people have been there before and they are the best teachers.”

— Michael Lisi

Scholarship honors leader’s late daughter

Twenty-five years after tragedy struck her family, Upstate Medical University Chapter President Carol Braund finds her smile again every year when a high school student accepts the scholarship named after her late daughter.

Pamela Braund was just five days away from starting college at Penn State, where she planned to pursue her dream of becoming a teacher. But that dream and her life ended tragically Aug. 19, 1986, when she was killed in an auto accident.

Though her life was cut short, her name and spirit live on a quarter of a century later in the form of the scholarship that bears her name. The Pamela Braund Memorial Scholarship was first bestowed in 1987, and is awarded annually. The one-time $1,000 scholarship goes to a graduating senior from Fayetteville-Manlius High School—Pam’s alma mater—pursuing a major in education at a four-year college.

Braund proudly attends the annual ceremony at the high school where the scholarship award is presented.

“I have found that meeting the recipient and learning where they are going to school and what area they want to teach helps briefly to fill the huge void in my life that losing a child can create,” she said.

Braund recalls how the accident devastated her family, and had a profound impact on her friends and their families.

“The outpouring of emotional support and financial support was incredible,” Braund said. “As we became aware of the extent of the giving from friends, business acquaintances and professional friends, we talked about how to best use these gifts in a way that would reflect Pam’s great love of people.”

In the months following Pam’s death, Braund said her family and friends talked about the teacher that her daughter aspired to become, and the impact she might have had on public education.

“It became clear that a positive way to acknowledge our huge loss would be to establish a scholarship to be given to someone that might become the teacher that she had wanted to be,” she said.

— Donald Feldstein

Spotlight shines on UUPers

Each year, hundreds of UUP members publish books and articles, and are recognized for accomplishments on campus and in their communities. The Voice is pleased to recognize three members in this issue.

Doug Skopp, a distinguished teaching professor of history at Plattsburgh, published the fictional novel Shadows Walking (CreateSpace, December 2010), after 20 years of research on two topics of personal interest: the ethics of public life and World War II. One reviewer called Shadows Walking “a well-researched and plausible story of an average man and his decent into evil.” Skopp donated the proceeds of several books purchased during the union’s annual Silent Auction, held to benefit the UUP College Scholarship Fund. Skopp is a member of UUP’s Scholarship Development and Selection committees.

Daniel Fay, a professor of accounting at Canton with more than four decades of service to the college and community, recently received a Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Service, which provides systemwide recognition for consistently superior professional achievement. Fay has been a board member of the SUNY Canton College Foundation for more than 20 years. He has helped create student scholarships through two endowment funds, and is a founder of the college’s Investment Club, which analyzes and recommends investments for the College Foundation.

Joseph Damrath, an associate professor at SUNY Alfred, recently received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, which recognizes mastery of teaching techniques and superb skill in teaching. Damrath—a practicing attorney since 1981—teaches business law, estate planning, the legal environment of business, and ethics in leadership/management. He has been a Hornell City Court judge since 1989, and was named a distinguished jurist by The Center for Dispute Settlement in Rochester.

— Karen L. Mattison

UUPers learn about labor, leadership at summer school

Linda Veraska and Ruth Meyerowitz had never been to summer school before. Both were glad they went this summer.

Veraska, the System Administration Chapter’s part-time concerns representative, and Meyerowitz, a Buffalo Center Chapter member, used some vacation days in July to attend the United Association of Labor Education’s Northeast Regional Summer School for Union Women. The theme of the 36th annual summit was “Fired Up for Change!”

The women chose to attend the five-day program, held July 17-22 on the Rutgers campus in New Jersey, to learn more about the labor movement, to sharpen their leadership skills and to learn new techniques to get more UUPers involved in the workings of the union.

“I know one thing that I will do is to reach out, one-on-one, to members to get them to become involved,” said Veraska, program officer for Turkey in SUNY’s Office of Global Affairs. “That was a big take-away for me. It’s all about personal connections; that’s the most effective way to get people involved.”

Well worthwhile

“It was fabulous,” said Meyerowitz, an American studies professor at UBuffalo. “I’ve wanted to go since I saw a film about Bryn Mawr summer schools (for workers) held in the 1930s, so I was really excited about this opportunity to do more leadership training. It was great because I learned techniques to involve more faculty in the union.”

Each year, the seminar brings together rank-and-file union women to learn more about the labor movement and develop skills to make them more active, effective union leaders and members.

More than 100 women from across the Northeast went to the Summer School, most of them from non-education unions such as the Transport Union Workers of America and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. It was a very diverse group of women, which made being there even more beneficial, Meyerowitz and Veraska agreed.

“It was a different kind of union environment and I really enjoyed it,” Meyerowitz said.

Women only

That the event was solely for women made a difference; the gathering allowed participants to discuss issues unique to them. Veraska and Meyerowitz said they were intrigued and inspired by the “war stories” told by a female plumber, one of just five females in a union of about 4,000 members.

“Hearing about her struggles gave you courage,” said Veraska. “She reminded me of the courage women need to have on a daily basis.”

At the summit, Veraska and Meyerowitz took part in several seminars dealing with issues facing unions, such as educating the media about what unions do and fighting stereotypes that union members are overpaid and overcompensated.

More than book smart

“I learned as much outside just talking to people as I learned inside the class-room,” Veraska said. “We’re different in so many ways, but the struggles we go through are the same.”

Other topics covered included dealing with intergenerational issues in unions, and a fundamental shift that’s pushing unions to focus more on organizing and mobilizing members rather than the traditional role of a service organization.

A memorial commemorating the 100th anniversary of New York City’s tragic Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire was also held. The women were given names of one of the fire’s 146 victims, which were read during a candle-lighting ceremony at the end of the program.

The memorial spurred Veraska to go to the public library and borrow a book about Frances Perkins, a champion of organized labor in the 1930s and 1940s.

“It was a fantastic experience and I’d do it again,” Meyer-owitz said of the Summer School. “It wasn’t a vacation, it was work. But it was fun.”

— Michael Lisi

September 2011

May/June 2011

Let’s close the books on this one

In my September 2010 column, I started the year by congratulating the thousands of UUPers who stepped up and spoke out against the so-called Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act (PHEEIA), a threat UUP played a large part in averting thanks to your hard work.

To close out the year, I want to thank you again, this time for your tireless dedication to UUP in 2010-11.

It’s been an interesting year, to say the least.

We faced challenge after challenge and fortunately won more battles than we lost, including a big one: the restoration of $60 million in state aid for the state’s three teaching hospitals—SUNY’s first legislative restoration in a decade.


That victory didn’t come without lots of hard work and worn shoe leather, both graciously donated by 119 UUPers, many who made multiple trips to Albany to meet with lawmakers. From late January through late April, members logged 426 legislative visits; they met with 58 of the Senate’s 62 senators and 128 of the Assembly’s 150 members, including every person on the Assembly’s Higher Education Committee.

And legislators listened when UUPers advocated for SUNY. Besides securing the hospital aid, UUP helped enact legislation allowing Upstate Medical Center to acquire Syracuse’s Community General hospital—and bring Community General employees into the union.

Be assured that we’ll also continue to make our opinions known regarding the new NYSUNY 2020 proposal. I have a number of serious reservations about it, as you’ll read about later in this issue.


While legislators didn’t return any of the $100 million in funding reductions to SUNY in the 2011-12 budget, many of them understand that the University cannot withstand more cuts; SUNY has been slashed by nearly $700 million over the past three years.

Many of them got the message through our effective statewide multimedia ad campaign, which included television and newspaper ads, billboards, Twitter and Facebook plugs, and the revival of our microsite, which SUNY students and supporters used to send more than 10,000 electronic faxes and petition signatures to their state representatives.

Our message—to think ahead and invest in higher ed—is one that we’ll be repeating to lawmakers over the summer and throughout the year.


We also saw the compassion and caring UUPers have for their sisters and brothers as the union battled fiercely to protect members in the tiny New York State Theatre Institute (NYSTI) Chapter. Though the union fought valiantly to preserve funding for NYSTI, it was gutted by state budget cuts and forced to close.

And members watched with anger and frustration as conservative Republicans in states like Wisconsin, Ohio, Florida and others blatantly tried to bust public unions for political gain while using public workers as scapegoats for million-dollar budget deficits—a move castigated by President Obama himself. UUPers saw through the ruse and participated in pro-union rallies across New York, including the huge “We Are One” rally in Times Square.


We will face many more challenges in the fall, including what we expect to be prolonged and difficult negotiations for new contract, NYSUNY 2020 or yet another SUNY flexibility proposal, and battles to protect our members at Stony Brook HSC and SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn.

As always, we’re going to need you to step up and speak out. Your support is what makes UUP strong, and we’re going to need that strength to take on the trials and tribulations of 2011-12.

On a closing note that’s also a new beginning, I want to say thank you to the delegates that elected me to another two-year term as UUP president. I am honored and I am looking forward to working with all of you to meet the challenges ahead.