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For Immediate Release
August 25, 2023

UUP resoundingly ratifies new four-year contract

More than 96% of members who voted cast ballots to approve the new pact with the state, which lifts salaries for lowest-paid members and rewards UUPers on frontlines of the pandemic.

Members of United University Professions, the union that represents more than 37,000 academic and professional faculty at State University of New York (SUNY) state-operated campuses, overwhelmingly ratified a new four-year contract with New York state.

The contract was approved by 96.4 percent of eligible voters that cast ballots, one of UUP’s largest contract ratification percentages ever. It’s also one of the largest vote tallies for a UUP contract ratification in the union's 50-year history. More than 15,400 members voted; 14,900 voted for the new contract, 556 voted against it.

MK Election Services, which conducted the ratification vote, tallied the votes today. This is the first time that UUP members voted electronically to ratify a contract. Members cast votes between Aug. 10 and Aug. 24.

“This contract contains historic gains for our members and builds on advances made in our last contract,” said UUP President Fred Kowal. “It rewards our members at SUNY’s public teaching hospitals—who were on the front lines of the pandemic—raises minimum salaries for our lowest-paid members and provides 12 weeks of parental leave with pay.

“We won this agreement because we are a union,” said Kowal. “We speak with one loud, strong voice, which is why Chief Negotiator Bret Benjamin and our Negotiations Team were able to deliver a contract that was emphatically ratified by our members.”

Highlights of the contract include:

    • Across-the-board raises, with a 2% raise for 2022 and 3% raises for 2023, 2024 and 2025;
    • Retention awards that bring on-base salary increases based on length of service to full-time employees who work seven years, and then 12 years;
    • Per-course minimum increases for adjunct and part-time faculty. Contingents at University centers and health sciences centers will be paid $6,000 per three-credit course by 2026; contingents at comprehensive and technical campuses will receive $5,500;
    • Living wage increases which raise minimum salaries for UUP’s lowest-paid academic ranks and professional grades;
    • The state’s new Paid Parental Leave program, which provides 12 weeks of leave at full pay for birth, adoption or foster placement, taken anytime within seven months of such an event;
    • No increases in basic health insurance costs, including employee premium shares, co-payments, annual deductibles or co-insurance maximums;
    • Improved job security for contingent employees; and
    • For members at SUNY's public teaching hospitals, holiday pay for comp time or state holidays.

Also included are on-call pay increases for hospital workers, and increased location adjustment pay for members on Long Island and in New York City.

"I’d like to thank Gov. Hochul for her willingness to collaborate with us to achieve a fair and equitable contract that our members ratified in large numbers,” Kowal said.

Before the vote, Kowal, Benjamin, UUP Counsel to the President Elizabeth Hough and Negotiations Team members spent two months traveling to chapters across the state and holding virtual town hall sessions to explain the agreement to members.

"Our Negotiations Team did an incredible job of negotiating a superb contract that our members embraced,” said Kowal. “Thank you to Bret, Elizabeth, the Negotiations Team and UUP staff, who spent countless hours bringing this to fruition.”

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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