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The Nation's Largest Higher Education Union
History of UUP
Photo from the UUP archive.
Determined to Have a Voice
United University Professions (UUP) was founded in 1973 by university professionals determined to have a voice on things like workplace safety, policies, wages and benefits. They knew their greatest strength was in their numbers, and banded together with an initial membership of 3,500.
In the more than four decades since, United University Professions has grown exponentially, becoming America’s largest higher education union. More than 35,000 members strong, UUP is a powerful ally for university professionals, demanding respect and fair treatment with the voice of thousands.
UUP is a unified voice, protecting members rights at the bargaining table and on the job. The union also speaks on behalf of public higher education statewide, nationally and internationally. UUP is the voice of SUNY’s academic and professional employees to the SUNY Board of Trustees, SUNY System Administration, the state’s elected officials and the public. UUP is also affiliated with New York State United Teachers and the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.
Former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich explains the importance of unions.
UUP Exists for Your Benefit
United University Professions (UUP) fights for competitive salaries, health benefits, job security, workplace safety and fair treatment for its members. It is the only organization designated to negotiate with New York State on behalf of SUNY’s academic and professional employees.
Without the negotiating power forged by tens of thousands of united workers, UUP members would have very little, if any, say on the terms and conditions of their employment. In short, they would be powerless to affect how they’re treated and compensated – and would simply have to hope for the best.
The Case for Unions
On average, non-union workers earn significantly less, receive fewer benefits, and enjoy less job protection than union workers (AFL-CIO). In August 2016, a report from the Economic Policy Institute concluded that stagnating wages and rising income inequality across the country can be directly correlated with a decline in union membership.
What is UUP?
UUP is the nation’s largest higher education union. It has more than 35,000 members, comprised of academic and professional faculty and retirees. Members work at 29 State University of New York campuses, System Administration, Empire State College, and SUNY’s public teaching hospitals and health science centers in Brooklyn, Long Island and Syracuse. UUP is an affiliate of New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT).
Who does UUP represent?
There are 526 job titles included in the bargaining unit, which includes academic faculty, professional personnel, librarians, medical professionals at teaching hospitals and a wide variety of other positions within the SUNY system.
What does UUP do for me?
- Negotiates your contract via collective bargaining with NY State, and enforces the contractual provisions for all bargaining unit members
- Represents you to SUNY Geneseo administration and to statewide UUP
- Offers grants, scholarships and professional development support (Individual Development Award grants, Drescher leaves, undergraduate and graduate scholarships)
- Advocates in the State Legislature for SUNY funding and other UUP legislative initiatives
- Advocates publicly and privately for members’ needs. Counsels and supports members with work questions. Assists in resolving work issues
- Offers workshops on tenure and promotion, steps to permanent appointment, bullying, health & safety, evaluations, and other topics that matter to our members
- Keeps members informed through regular communication with bargaining unit members about campus, statewide, and national issues of interest or concern
- Uses statewide and chapter committees to pursue policy initiatives
- Provides benefits to all bargaining unit members
What is the Geneseo Chapter?
It’s the chapter of UUP at SUNY Geneseo. There are close to 500 members in the Geneseo bargaining unit, led by officers and delegates who are elected by Geneseo UUP members. Geneseo chapter officers are campus delegates to the statewide union, and represent SUNY Geneseo members in certain kinds of labor disputes with college administration.
Am I a member of UUP automatically?
Although all members of the UUP bargaining unit benefit from the union’s bargaining agreement and worker protections, you are not a member of the union until the UUP Administrative Office receives your signed membership form or online application.
Please be aware that the power UUP has to negotiate is directly related to the percentage of workers who signed a membership card and became union members. If this percentage is low, the state perceives UUP as not having backing from its bargaining unit, and is less amenable to its demands.
Membership entitles you to:
- Vote on the collective bargaining agreement
- Attend union meetings
- Hold union office
- Elect union leaders on your campus and choose representatives at the state and national levels
- Upon separation of service, obtain associate membership with NYSUT and be eligible for benefit programs
- Maintain membership after retirement and be eligible for benefit programs
Where do my union dues go?
Every member of the UUP bargaining unit who has signed the UUP membership form pays dues. Dues for all full-time employees are 1% of your salary; part-time employees pay 0.9%. Dues are tax deductible to the full extent of the law. The dues fund most of the union’s non-political activities. First and foremost, they are used to help the UUP negotiate a contract with New York State, enforce that contract, and educate members about the terms and conditions of their employment. They are used to help fund the organizational structure of both the statewide union and the campus chapter.