Vaccines for SUNY employees represented by UUP

Update — Vaccines for SUNY employees represented by UUP

January 11, 2021

Since the start of the vaccination program in New York State, UUP leaders have been working closely with SUNY leadership and the Governor’s staff to include our members in the first phases of vaccination.

We have been successful in making sure all of our members who work in health related settings (hospitals, clinics, etc.) were included in Phase 1A.

On Jan. 8, the governor announced that teachers, among other public servants, would be included in Phase 1B of the state’s vaccine distribution plan. We worked with SUNY leadership over the weekend to include our members who are or will be interacting with students or the public in this phase of vaccine distribution.

As of this morning, those who are or will be teaching in person will be included in the 1B phase of vaccinations.

Though we are pleased that our academics who are teaching in person will be vaccinated, we are demanding that all those working on campus be included in 1B. That includes all those who are in our professional ranks. The conversations with Chancellor Malatras about this continue, and he does understand the absolute necessity for these colleagues to be a part of this next round of vaccinations.

Please continue to monitor our website, at, to get the most updated information on the eligibility issues and the logistics of the vaccination of each and every one of us.

These are challenging and frightening times. Rest assured that we will do everything we can to protect each other from this deadly virus. Our communities’ health and well-being depend on our success in these efforts.

Please stay safe and well.

In solidarity,

UUP President Fred Kowal

Pay Raise Delayed Again

UUP has received notification from the Governor’s Office of Employee Relations (GOER) that the state is delaying implementation of our 2020 2% across-the-board salary increases for at least another 90 days. The earliest these raises could be paid is January 1, 2021. UUP’s negotiated raises were due to our members on July 1 or Sept 1 (depending on obligation).

This additional delay involves approximately 80,000 New York State employees, including those in UUP, the Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA), and other state employee bargaining units.

UUP’s July/September 2% increase is contractually provided for in the 2016-2022 NYS-UUP Agreement. After being notified by GOER in June of the first delay, UUP filed class action grievances covering the delayed raises as well as delays in implementing increases in minimum salaries scheduled to take effect in 2020. These include minimum salaries for adjuncts. UUP also filed an Improper Practice with the NYS Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) on behalf of residents working in facilities associated with SUNY’s academic medical centers. Given the repeated delays in implementing our negotiated raises, we are considering our entire range of options. I will discuss these with the Chapter Presidents on our call on Wednesday.

While we did not agree with, or accept these delays, we understand that the state’s decision is driven by the state budget crisis that has developed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. To address this crisis, it is critical that the federal government provide desperately needed assistance to state and local governments across the country, including New York. Given the situation in Washington right now, it is fair to conclude that it’s unlikely that help will come from there before November 3rd. So, it is more critical than ever for New York State to pass an “Ultra-Millionaires’ tax” and a “Billionaires’ tax.” Additionally, we will be increasing our efforts to secure passage of the proposed reinstatement of the Tax on Stock Transfers. This option could generate over $1 billion in the first month! More information on these efforts will be forthcoming.

In the meantime, we need to continue to be heard at the federal level, as well as in Albany. Please take a few moments to send letters to federal and state legislators to press them to take action.

Tell U.S. Senators to pass the Heroes Act: 

Tell NYS legislators to fund the state’s recovery: 

Empire Plan Network Expansion Agreement

UUP has received good news for UUP-represented employees and retirees who are enrolled in the Empire Plan but live in states where they do not currently have access to in-network providers. The Governor’s Office of Employee Relations has announced that, beginning January 1, 2021, the Empire Plan is expanding its existing “network integration” to provide Empire Plan enrollees living outside of New York State with nation-wide access to participating providers. (Currently the Empire Plan’s “network integration” provides access to participating providers in Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, Washington DC, West Virginia, and the greater Chicago area.) This expansion will, for the first time, provide 252 out-of-state UUP-represented employees and thousands of retirees who currently don’t have access to participating providers with access to participating providers in the states where they live.

This expansion (which benefits out-of-state Empire Plan enrollees regardless of bargaining unit) has occurred as a direct result of our advocacy in the UUP Joint Committee on Health Benefits (JCHB). Responding to inquiries from adjunct faculty who live in states without network integration, we raised this issue in the JCHB. In response to our advocacy, the Department of Civil Service agreed to review the issue (something previously resisted and long overdue) and has now determined that providing nation-wide access to in-network providers is justified.

The network expansion will be announced in the upcoming Department of Civil Service Empire Plan Report and in individual letters to those living outside of the current network. The expanded list of participating providers will be visible in the online directory after January 1, 2021. UHC will provide specific search results from the online directory, by mail or email, to enrollees who desire printed provider information. Paper directories showing the expanded network will be published starting in August of 2021.