October 8, 2013

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Fall DA: A strong call to action

uupdate 10-08-13

UUP President Fred Kowal addresses delegates in his first speech as president at the union's 2013 Fall Delegate Assembly.

In a rousing speech, Kowal touched on UUP's comprehensive plan in response to job cuts at SUNY Downstate. He also called for UUP members to take the lead on efforts to address increasing privatization threats in SUNY.

"It is a struggle for the soul of this university we have built and the state we serve," Kowal said.

In addition to his previously announced plan to have the union's outreach program emphasize a regional approach instead of a strict focus on Albany, Kowal said UUP will push its own plan to save SUNY Downstate as well as fighting to protect SUNY's other teaching hospitals in Stony Brook and Syracuse. Kowal also promised to find the best ways to increase the salaries and benefits for contingent employees in SUNY and across the nation.

"It is a question of justice. It is a question of right. This union will fight this fight because we must. We are in this together, and we have got to get to work," he said.

The DA, held Oct. 4-5 in Saratoga Springs, attracted 325 delegates, one of the largest number to attend a Fall DA. The event featured a meeting of academic and professional delegates, who met to discuss concerns about Open SUNY and Seamless Transfer.

The DA also included a series of committee meetings. Delegates approved several resolutions, including one affirming support for continuing the fight and building community alliances to save SUNY Downstate, and another endorsing the Mayday $5K Campaign in support of raising part-time employee salaries. Delegates also approved several special orders of business, including ones that honored deceased chapter leaders Larry Ashley, Del Janik and Jack Morganti.

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