September 26, 2008

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Delegate prep for budget cut fight-back campaign

Henry Steck of SUNY Cortland raises his hand to make a comment during the Chapter Presidents & Vice Presidents meeting at the fall Delegate Assembly last week in Albany.

UUP delegates had strong words for SUNY’s Board of Trustees over an almost $150 million state budget cut to the University and they vowed to defend their students and their rights while doing their jobs during the budget crisis.

“In the time I’ve been here, this is as bad as it’s ever been but we’re going to fight,” said Ray Gleason, vice president for professionals at SUNY Alfred. “They are not going balance this on our backs.”

A number of delegates took time from the convention for some political action of their own. They headed to UUP’s political action center and used union computers to fax letters to the governor, urging him to stop the state attempts to dismantle SUNY by slashing its budget.

Delegates also listened to UUP President Phillip Smith discuss the union’s political advocacy strategy, which is focused on members bringing SUNY’s budget crisis to students, their parents, alumni groups, and business owners in the communities to rally broad based support for SUNY from local legislators.

“We have a bit of educating to do,” he said. “We need to get at legislators in their home districts this year.”

Several regional advocacy training dates have been set up in October for members to take part in this coalition outreach effort. The first training session was held at SUNY Purchase Sept. 23.

Also at the DA, delegates:

  • Rejected proposed constitutional amendments to create a new retiree chapter and to hold chapter and affiliate elections every three years;
  • Approved a proposal to widen the window to schedule Delegate Assemblies during the year;
  • Took action on more than a dozen resolutions;
  • Honored the following members: Jacqauline Berger and Lori Nash who both received the Fayez Samuel Award for Courageous Service For Part-Time Faculty; Gertrude Butera earned the Eugene P. Link Award; D. Jo Schaffer received the Outstanding Active Retiree Award, and former UUP President William Scheuerman was awarded the Nina Mitchell Award;
  • Celebrated UUP’s 35th anniversary with a multi media display featuring photos, placards, pins, hats and other union memorabilia; and
  • Presented three SUNY students with UUP college scholarships.

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