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CONTACT: Mike Lisi (518) 640-6600
Lisi’s cell number: (518) 944-9528


February 4, 2009

UUP: Eliminating negotiated raises illegal, unfair

The governor’s state budget proposal to deny UUP members their scheduled 2009 salary increase is illegal, unfair and would constitute a breach of contract, according to the leader of United University Professions, the union that represents academic and professional faculty at SUNY.

UUP President Phillip H. Smith told lawmakers during a joint legislative hearing on workforce issues that the proposal is very disturbing, since the union has a four-year contract with New York state that is in effect until July 2011.

“By unilaterally submitting legislation altering the terms and conditions of our contract, the governor has breached our formally executed and binding agreements,” Smith told the panel. “In effect, the governor is asking you to be a party to a process that is illegal, unconscionable and patently unfair.”

If the governor’s proposal is not changed, Smith predicted that no future contracts with the state will have any credibility.

UUP members are due to receive a 3 percent salary increase beginning in July under terms of an agreement reached with the state in December 2007.

Smith told legislators UUP also opposes a series of other proposals by the governor that would financially harm its members. Specifically, UUP opposes: an additional five-day salary deferral; a requirement that retirees and employees over 65 contribute toward their Medicare Part B premiums; and, establishing a more restrictive pension plan for newly hired state employees.

“If enacted, these proposals would reduce the annual income of our members by up to
10 percent this coming year and much more in future years,” Smith said.

He urged lawmakers to reject the governor’s workforce proposals.

UUP is the nation's largest higher education union, with more than 37,000 academic and professional faculty and retirees. UUP members work at 29 New York state-operated campuses, including SUNY’s public teaching hospitals and health science centers in Brooklyn, Long Island and Syracuse. It is an affiliate of NYSUT, the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association, and the AFL-CIO.


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