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For Immediate Release
June 22, 2022

UUP applauds starting salary increases for lifeguards

United University Professions, the nation’s largest higher education union, welcomes Gov. Kathy Hochul’s announcement today that establishes fair starting salaries for state lifeguards.

“This is a vital, necessary step that will be beneficial for our state, especially at a time where there is a shortage of lifeguards in New York and across the nation,” said UUP President Frederick E. Kowal, Ph.D. “This agreement will help with recruitment of desperately needed staff, and it will compensate lifeguards who are already out there putting their lives on the line to ensure the safety of New Yorkers at pools, lakes and beaches across the state.”

UUP represents the New York State Lifeguard Corps, made up of 1,100 working lifeguards at 87 parks and campgrounds operated by the state’s Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and Department of Environmental Conservation.

The lifeguards work at locations such as Jones Beach and Robert Moses State Park on Long Island, Lake Tiorati Beach at Harriman State Park in Southfields, and Green Lakes State Park outside of Syracuse.

Ryan Clark, New York State Lifeguards Corps president, also thanked the governor for taking action.

“We thank the governor for raising the wages for UUP-represented lifeguards across the state,” said Clark. “The decisive actions taken by the Hochul administration today will ensure that the lifeguarding positions in New York state parks and campgrounds will offer competitive wages, and in turn, help attract more lifeguards to work in this rewarding job this summer. This will increase the health and safety of visitors to our parks and allow the Department of Environmental Conservation and the state parks system to recruit and retain the highest-quality lifeguards.”

Starting pay rates for lifeguards at Upstate facilities will increase 34%, from $14.95 per hour to $20 per hour. Rates will rise by 21% for lifeguards at
Downstate facilities, from $18.15 per hour to $22 per hour. Pay rates are also higher for lifeguards with more than two seasons of experience—from 5% to 30%--depending on location and experience.

The new pay rates take effect immediately.

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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