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For Immediate Release
January 15, 2021

Statement by UUP President Frederick E. Kowal calling for priority vaccinations for all SUNY on-campus employees

“Our members across New York watched Gov. Cuomo’s Jan. 8 press conference and believed the governor when he said that ‘educational workers,’ ‘public employees’ and ‘unions’ should be included in Phase 1B, the next phase of the state’s vaccine rollout. On Monday, thanks to the cooperate efforts of UUP and SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras, in-person instructors were included in the 1B classification, which means they are eligible for priority vaccinations. We welcome this addition.

“However, many of our professional members work in residence halls, registrar offices, libraries and many other operations open to the public at SUNY campuses. These crucial employees have not been included in the 1B classification – and that means they will not be eligible for vaccinations as we begin the spring semester. This is unacceptable, especially when the number of professionals is a far smaller pool than the hundreds of thousands of our K-12 colleagues being vaccinated as part of 1B – which we welcome and applaud.

“During the Fall 2020 semester, our professional members delivered food and essential items to COVID-positive students in quarantine. These front-line workers struggled with serious outbreaks on SUNY campuses during the fall semester. Their work and safety must be respected and valued as we prepare for the spring semester. Including them in the 1B group for vaccine distribution is responsible and smart.

“All of our members working on campus need to be vaccinated. They are committed to keeping our students, our campuses and our communities healthy and safe during this pandemic. Including them in Phase 1B will ensure that their health and safety is maintained and will allow us to continue to protect and to open our communities, our economy and our educational institutions.”

UUP is the nation's largest higher education union, with more than 42,000 academic and professional faculty and retirees. UUP members work at 29 New York state-operated campuses, including SUNY’s public teaching hospitals and health science centers in Brooklyn, Long Island and Syracuse. It is an affiliate of NYSUT, the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association, and the AFL-CIO.


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