May 4, 2014

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Kowal: ‘Dream into being’ a new future

uupdate 5-4-14

President Fred Kowal believes UUP must “rethink everything we do as a union” to survive in these difficult and dangerous times.

Kowal made the statement to more than 300 delegates during the union's 2014 Spring Delegate Assembly, May 2-3 in Albany. Delegates also elected three statewide officers and five Executive Board members, adopted the union’s 2014-2015 spending plan, and passed 10 resolutions and special orders of business.

In his State of the Union address, Kowal said UUP must be willing to do what’s necessary to respond to attacks on unions and public higher education. He cited efforts to privatize SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, the intrusion into curricula by private, for-profit corporations, and a federal court battle that could deny unions the right to collect dues from all bargaining unit members among the challenges confronting UUP.

“Our enemies are constantly thinking up ways to weaken or destroy us or, at least, to render us meaningless,” he said. “We can’t help them. We must proactively seek out the best ways we can imagine of ‘being union.’”

Kowal said the union must develop useful strategies for the long-term viability of SUNY. He called on delegates to “become the engine of ideas for our University.”

“I want to be able to say we have better ideas, and lots of them,” Kowal said. “We are capable of this, and it is imperative we start now.”

“Let us commit ourselves to forging a strong community, one founded on our sacred obligation to serve our members, and to dream into being a new future for our union, our University and our society.”

Election results

Delegates overwhelmingly supported their leadership team by re-electing all incumbent officers and board members to their statewide posts for another two-year term.

Re-elected without opposition were VP for Academics Jamie Dangler, VP for Professionals Philippe Abraham, and Treasurer Rowena Blackman-Stroud.

Unopposed for re-election to the board were Mike Lyon of Upstate Medical University and Carolyn Kube of Stony Brook HSC. Incumbents Ray Gleason of Alfred and Idalia Torres of Fredonia held off challenges to retain their board seats. Gleason defeated Todd Bates of Canton; Torres beat Tom Hoey of Albany and Bates. Ezra Zubrow of Buffalo Center was elected for the first time since 2007-2008; he defeated Joe Petrick of Alfred.

Budget, resolutions adopted

Delegates adopted an annual operating budget of $8.5 million that reflects the union’s priorities for 2014-2015: service to the membership, outreach activities and recruitment of new union activists.

Also adopted during the two-day policymaking convention were 10 resolutions and special orders of business. Among them were resolutions calling on UUP to:

  • press SUNY to implement U.S. Senate recommendations to respond to sexual assaults on college campuses;
  • urge lawmakers to pass the New York Health bill that would afford New York the opportunity to implement single-payer health care in 2017; and
  • support Unit 62 of CSEA Local 809 in its fight for a fair contract with the Chenango County Board of Supervisors.

A complete list of DA actions will be posted soon to the UUP website at

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