January 14, 2014

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Leaders, members advocate for HSCs

uupdate 1-14-14

UUP President Fred Kowal, right, asks Assembly Higher Ed Committee Chair Deborah Glick to support UUP’s fight to save jobs and heath care services at SUNY Downstate Medical Center.

Kowal spoke with Glick (D-Manhattan) during the union’s HSC Advocacy Day Jan. 14 in Albany. Standing behind Glick is health care expert Fred Hyde, UUP VP for Professionals Philippe Abraham and UUP Outreach Committee Co-chair Arty Shertzer.

Before meeting with lawmakers, Kowal welcomed about 80 UUPers to the event; most were from SUNY’s hospitals and health science centers in Brooklyn, Buffalo, Stony Brook and Syracuse. More than half of the UUPers present were Downstate Medical Center Chapter members, who spent hours on a bus to make the trip.

“UUP has a plan that guarantees long-term hospital survival and health care throughout Brooklyn,” Kowal said. “That’s the key line that every legislator needs to hear.”

NYSUT Executive Vice President Andrew Pallotta also addressed UUPers, who visited the offices of close to five dozen legislators, urging them to increase state support for SUNY’s hospitals and HSCs, and to keep Downstate open as a full-service, public hospital.

Discussion about Downstate dominated the advocacy sessions. Kowal led the charge, urging legislators to get behind the “Brooklyn Hospitals Safety Net Plan,” which would save SUNY Downstate and preserve public health care in Brooklyn. The plan is backed by UUP and other labor organizations.

Several Downstate members—like John Adams, standing next to Downstate Chapter Secretary Ellen McTigue—are facing the loss of their jobs.

“If Downstate closes, many vulnerable people will be affected and have to go to Manhattan or The Bronx for basic safety-net services,” Adams said to a staffer from Sen. Toby Stavisky's office. “It is so important to keep Downstate’s services in place for some very vulnerable people.”

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