February 26, 2013

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UUPers deliver union’s message to lawmakers

uupdate 2-26-13

Statewide Treasurer Rowena Blackman-Stroud, right, asks Assemblyman Michael Benedetto (D-NY) for his support to keep SUNY Downstate Medical Center a state-run public hospital as Downstate Chapter member Hazel Williams, center, listens.

UUPers in large numbers brought the union’s call for more funding for SUNY to the Albany offices of more than 70 legislators on Feb. 26.

Ninety members from chapters from across the state walked to the state Legislative Office Building and pressed lawmakers and their staffers for more state dollars for SUNY and to support the union’s effort to keep SUNY Downstate Medical Center a fully functioning state-run public hospital.

Members, many of who stayed in Albany to take part in UUP advocacy efforts after attending the 2013 Winter Delegate Assembly, made passionate pitches for $25 million more in appropriations for SUNY and to restore the state subsidy for SUNY’s three teaching hospitals to $128 million.

“The grand statement of a state university is being eroded,” Ivan Steen of UAlbany told Andrew Winchell, legislative director for Sen. John Bonacic (R, C, I- Mt. Hope). “A great engine with no fuel isn’t going to do anything.”

Benedetto vowed to stand up for Downstate after meeting with Blackman-Stroud and Williams. They asked the assemblyman for more state funding for SUNY Downstate and to reject an Executive Budget provision that could lead to the closure and privatization of the University Hospital of Brooklyn.

“We know what’s going on and we’re going to work with you to stop it,” Benedetto said.

UUP’s advocacy campaign heats up in the coming weeks. NYSUT’s Committee of 100 advocacy day is set for March 4-5, followed by a March 12 rally at the state Capitol as part of Student and Faculty Higher Education Day.

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