Text Archive

Day of Action
NYS Paid Family Leave

The SUNY-specific NYS Paid Family Leave guidance, which implements the agreement to extend NYS Paid family Leave to our members, has been released.

The UUP specific guidance document can be found on the SUNY Benefits website at: https://www.suny.edu/media/suny/content-assets/documents/benefits/ltd/SUNY-PFL-Policy-December-2018.GOER-edits-12.7.18.pdf. Additional SUNY-specific information, including the SUNY-specific forms that The Standard created to apply for Paid Family Leave benefits, can be found at: https://www.suny.edu/benefits/attendance/pfl/.

NYSHIP rates

The NYSHIP rates for 2019 have been released and are available at https://www.cs.ny.gov/employee-benefits/nyship/shared/publications/rates/2019/ny-active-ratified-rates-2019.pdf. Additionally, the option transfer deadline has been extended to January 18, 2019.

Discretionary Salary Award

Information provided by the State of New York states that in the paycheck of October 31 there will be a $600 lump sum payment on payroll June 30, 2017 and October 17, 2018, and part-time employees on payroll April 30, 2017 (prorated). This is the Discretionary Salary Award (DSA) for the 2016-2017 period.

The Alfred Chapter of UUP negotiated with Alfred State College administration for across-the-board Discretionary Salary Awards (i.e. not on base, per the contract with New York State) for the 2017-2018 fiscal year, but administration was precluded from making across-the-board disbursements by the SUNY Board of Trustees, who resolved that the DSA for 2017-2018 could not be made to all employees at once. As a consequence, Alfred State College administration, which had not been planning on merit awards, found itself in the position of having to implement a merit system on short notice.

If you have questions, comments or concerns about the Discretionary Salary Award, please contact Joe Petrick at petricja@alfredstate.edu, or extension 4311.

Contractual Pay Dates

Eligible employees will receive the base salary increases, retroactive cash, and lump sum payments/awards provided in the new 2016-2022 Agreement in the following paychecks:

• October 31 paycheck:
$600 lump sum payment (prorated for part-time employees)
— Payable to employees on payroll June 30, 2017 and October 17, 2018
— Part-time employees on payroll April 30, 2017 also eligible

• November 28 paycheck
2016 2% increase to base salary
— Payable to employees on payroll as of June 30, 2016 and September 5, 2018
— Employees not on payroll on June 30, 2016 who worked in the preceding and following academic years also eligible
2017 2% increase to base salary
— Payable to employees on payroll as of June 30, 2017 and September 5, 2018
— Employees not on payroll on June 30, 2017 who worked in the preceding and following academic years also eligible
50% of retroactive cash for back pay from the 2016 and 2017 increases
— Remaining 50% of retro will be paid in the first paycheck in July 2019

• December 12 paycheck
2018 2% increase to base salary
— Payable to employees on payroll as of June 30, 2018 and September 5, 2018
— Employees not on payroll on June 30, 2018 who worked in the preceding and following academic years also eligible
100% of retroactive cash for back pay from the 2018 increase

• December 26 paycheck
2018 Discretionary Salary Awards – lump sum awards not added to base salary, paid at the discretion of the campus president
Total campus money for DSA equal to 1% of the UUP payroll

UUP continues to work with the Governor’s Office of Employee Relations and SUNY to ensure that information about new contract provisions will be made available to our members as implementation details are finalized. Please stay tuned for more information.

UUP Contract Update

The following is an update on implementation of various benefits provided to UUP-represented employees in the new 2016-2022 State/UUP Agreement:

• 2018 Dependent Care Advantage Account (DCAA) Employer Contributions:
— Employees currently enrolled in DCAA should now have the 2018 employer contribution in their accounts and have received related adjustments in their October 3 paycheck.
— Employees not currently enrolled who have a qualifying change in status may still enroll for 2018 and receive the employer contribution as long as they do so before November 5.
— Additional information regarding DCAA and enrollment based on a qualifying change in status can be found at www.flexspend.ny.gov or by calling WageWorks customer service at 1-800-358-7202.

• 2018 and 2019 Productivity Enhancement Program (PEP):
— Employees who earn vacation leave and would like to cash in a portion of that leave for a bi-weekly credit to offset health insurance premium costs may enroll in PEP 2018.
— As previously reported, open enrollment for 2018 PEP closes October 12.
— Open enrollment for 2019 PEP will run from October 15 through November 15.
— Interested employees must remember to enroll twice to participate in both the 2018 and 2019 programs.
— Enrollment Forms may be obtained from the appropriate campus Health Benefits Administrator (HBA) (typically in the Human Resources Department).

• 2019 Flexible Spending Accounts Open Enrollment through November 9:
— Open enrollment for participation in the Health Care Sending Account (HCSA) and/or the Dependent Care Advantage Account (DCAA) in 2019 has begun.
— Employees who are interested in paying for health care or dependent care expenses on a pre-tax basis in 2019 and/or receiving the DCAA employer contribution for 2019 must enroll before midnight on November 9.
— Information about both HCSA and DCAA and the process for enrollment can be found at www.flexspend.ny.gov or by calling WageWorks customer service at 1-800-358-7202.

• Drescher Affirmative Action/Diversity Leave Program:
— Drescher funding is available for Spring 2019.
— Applications for the spring semester are due November 1, 2018.
— Additional information about the Drescher Affirmative Action/Diversity Leave Program can be found at nysuup.lmc.ny.gov/diversity/drescher.html

• Individual Development Award (IDA) Program:
— Funding will be available for retroactive IDAs for professional development expenses incurred during the period from April 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018.
— Campus allocations and timeframes for both the retroactive program and for the current year program (July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019) will be announced soon.
— Additional information about the IDA program can be found at nysuup.lmc.ny.gov/development/individual.html

Please stay tuned for UUP-specific information about the following new programs:

• Dependent Scholarship Program
— For children of UUP-represented employees who are enrolled at SUNY state-operated campuses. The UUP Benefit Trust Fund will announce details of the program soon.

• Family Leave
— UUP is working with SUNY and the Governor’s Office of Employee Relations to finalize UUP-specific guidelines for use of New York State Paid Family Leave, which will provide partially-paid leave for up to 10 weeks per year beginning January 1, 2019.
— UUP will also provide information about ways the new PFL benefit and other provisions for family leave (use of accruals, unpaid leave, etc.) can be used successively to supplement one another.

Ratified Contract

United University Professions has come to an agreement with the state on a new six-year contract that includes salary increases, paid family leave, and a minimum per-course salary for part-time academics.
Ratified on September 5, the contract took effect immediately and will run through July 1, 2022. It is be retroactive to July 2, 2016, which is when the union’s current contract expired; UUP has been without a new contract since then.
“This is a fair and equitable agreement that meets the unique needs of our members and provides them with reasonable salary increases, paid family leave benefits, a new minimum salary for part-time faculty, and other enhancements that address members’ concerns,” said UUP President Fred Kowal. “We fought hard for the gains in this pact and we believe our members will recognize that.”

Agreement details

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.

Empire Knowledgebank eLearning Program

The New York State/United University Professions Joint Labor-Management Committees (NYS/UUP JLMC) is pleased to announce the Empire Knowledgebank (EKB) eLearning Program for UUP-represented employees. The program will be available April 1, 2018 through March 31, 2019. Employees who apply to the EKB Program will be issued a license to access eLearning products provided by Enterprise Training Solutions, Inc. With the EKB license, employees will have the opportunity to access thousands of eLearning courses, eBooks and short course videos for opportunities to enhance their professional and career development, for certification preparation and continuing education in a variety of areas.

For more information, please visit Empire KnowledgeBank eLearning Program

Chapter Action Project

United University Professions (UUP) has launched the Chapter Action Project (CAP) program, which is a three-year union initiative funded by NYSUT and developed by UUP to assist in building a chapter-based structure to recruit and engage new union members and activists. Training of executive board members for the Chapter Action Project took place in March 2016, and will continue in the months ahead.

The CAP program is important to members because:

• The union negotiates contractual pay increases, benefits, and job security provisions;
• UUP is an important advocate for SUNY; and
• The union works not only for its members, but also for a number of social causes.

Although the union was founded to negotiate on behalf of members (and contracts continue to be an important issue for the union), it has not been limited to such bargaining.

Negotiating Contracts

Many UUP members are aware that the union is currently in negotiations with the State of New York to arrive at a new contract. The most recent Agreement between United University Professions and the State of New York expired on July 1, 2016 (see the Negotiations Bulletin on pages 5 & 6 of this issue). Contracts provide guarantees concerning pay increases for full-time faculty and professional staff, negotiated health insurance, mechanisms to allow job security, provisions for vacation and sick leaves, as well as other articles directly relating to employment. Benefits available to members of the bargaining unit include vision and dental plans available through the UUP Benefits Trust Fund, as well as benefits available through affiliation with New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT).

Both statewide UUP and the Alfred Chapter will keep members informed about contract negotiations, as they progress.

Legislative Advocacy

A less well-known function of UUP is advocacy for the State University of New York. As a state agency, SUNY is part of the political process. State support for SUNY is determined by the governor of the State of New York as well as the New York State Legislature. Although private colleges and universities receive a relatively small amount of support from the state (the so-called Bundy aid) state support is not critical to their operations. The State University of New York and the City University of New York depend on public funds in order to operate. Those funds are not guaranteed, but instead may change from year to year.

Although campus presidents and other constituent groups advocate for state support, such advocacy tends to be for projects particular to their campuses. The SUNY chancellor reports to the SUNY Board of Trustees (who are chosen by the governor), and thus SUNY System Administration has been careful about how it advocates and what agenda it promotes. For example, SUNY was not an ardent supporter of the maintenance of effort legislation discussed below. In effect, SUNY may be the only state agency that will not advocate for itself. As the UUP Summary of the Enacted Budget and Legislative Session pointed out, “Each year, United University Professions – through its elected leaders, member advocates and NYSUT staff – takes the union’s most pressing issues directly to the executive branch, legislators and SUNY. Collectively, we educate policymakers on the issues and urge them to do what’s right for UUP members, for SUNY and for the students and patients we serve.”

Some of the 2015-2016 accomplishments of UUP in the political arena include:

• Won $15 million for the new Clean Energy Workforce Opportunity Program
• Successfully fought back private equity, investor-owned management of SUNY hospitals
• Obtained additional funding for SUNY opportunity programs (EOP and other programs)
• Successfully fought against performance-based funding, resulting in conversion of the $18 million SUNY performance fund into unrestricted operating funds.

Other advocacy efforts include support for the “maintenance of effort” bill, which, as UUP President Fred Kowal pointed out, “would have increased state support for SUNY to cover inflationary and mandatory expenses like heating and electric bills and building costs—expenses that students are paying for through higher tuition.” UUP continues working on the passage of a maintenance of effort bill, as well as other facets of its legislative agenda.

Social Causes

UUP also works for social justice. UUP groups such as the Human & Civil Rights, Solidarity, Veterans Affairs, Women’s Rights & Concerns, and Sexual Orientations United for Liberty Committees as well as others work within the UUP umbrella to engage in social issues.

Activism by UUP at both the chapter and statewide levels is discussed at length in the text by William Kayatin, Higher Education Unions and Social Responsibility: United University Professions’ Response to Social and Political Change in New York State, 1973–1993. Kayatin wrote, “On a local level, UUP chapters engaged in a wide variety of efforts for community service, such as providing affordable housing and food, and organizing blood and toy drives. The same social and political factors that contributed to the birth of the union movement in higher education also created a hospitable environment for activism.”

Although there has long been a difference of opinion within the statewide organization about the degree to which the union should be involved in social issues, union activities included protests, including “Bump the Dump” actions against low-level radioactive waste siting in Allegany and Cortland Counties in the late 1980s and early 1990s. A number of UUP chapters work with groups to improve conditions in the communities they serve, from engagement in Habitat for Humanity to the organization of sporting events. UUP chapters have also been engaged in non-partisan voter registration. UUP has never been limited to negotiating contracts for its members, but also has a longstanding history of legislative advocacy and working for social causes.

What You Can Do

If you are interested in participating with the Alfred State College Chapter of UUP or the Chapter Action Project, please contact us! You can volunteer to participate in projects such as the Rock the Vote drive, for example, or pursue opportunities for university service as elected members of the executive board. If you have a community service interest that you might share with us, let us know.

If you haven’t donated to VOTE-COPE (the program that enables the legislative advocacy described above, among other things), you may do so through payroll deductions, or through one-time contributions. If you have contributed to VOTE-COPE in the past you may want to consider increasing your contribution, as it will help in UUP’s effort to advocate for SUNY as well as other items in the legislative agenda. VOTE-COPE forms are available from the chapter office, or the UUP website.

Although you are a member of the bargaining unit you may not be a member of the union. Your pay stub will indicate whether you are a UUP Member. If it say UUP Agency Fee, you are a member of the Professional Services Negotiating Unit, but are not a member of the union. It doesn’t cost you anything to join but union membership is particularly beneficial in contract negotiations with the State of New York, and would allow you to vote on the contract, vote in chapter elections, hold a chapter elected office, and would also make you eligible for some benefits after retirement or separation from service.

If you’re interested in working on terms and conditions of employment, or are interested in advocating for SUNY, or interested in social justice, let us know. We would be glad to hear from you!