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For Immediate Release
March 12, 2024

UUP Backs Senate, Assembly One-House Proposals

United University Professions, the nation’s largest higher education union, supports one-house budget proposals issued by the state Senate and Assembly, which provide funding and include language to keep SUNY Downstate University Hospital open and serving patients in Brooklyn.

“The New York state Senate and Assembly have made clear that significant additional funding is needed to support SUNY’s public teaching hospitals, which are on the frontlines of addressing health care disparities,” said UUP President Fred Kowal. “Nowhere is this more apparent or needed than in Central Brooklyn, where SUNY Downstate is a lifeline to the 400,000 patients who seek care annually.

“We thank the Senate for specifically including a plan forward by Sen. Zellnor Myrie for Downstate in its one-house budget. We appreciate both houses providing capital funding and operating support for the hospitals.

“We believe this is a strong indication to both SUNY Chancellor John King Jr. and Gov. Kathy Hochul that the Legislature rejects plans to close SUNY Downstate or reduce health care access or services. SUNY Downstate hospital is the heart of Central Brooklyn, and we look forward to working with our elected officials to ensure it remains a health care hub for anyone in need of care.”

Downstate’s kidney transplant center and other vital services would be moved to other hospitals under SUNY’s plan to close the hospital—which has the governor’s support. What remains would be moved into a wing at Kings County Hospital Center. He also expressed his gratitude to the Assembly and Senate for providing funding for SUNY’s other public teaching hospitals in Stony Brook and Syracuse.

Dollars for campuses

Kowal applauded the Senate and Assembly for increasing operating aid for SUNY campuses. Eighteen campuses are dealing with multimillion-dollar structural deficits; UUP is urging that this additional funding be directly allocated to those campuses to help them pull out of debt.

“With these one-house proposals, the Senate and the Assembly have shown they understand the necessity of properly funding SUNY and providing dollars that will help our campuses reverse more than a decade of underfunding,” said Kowal. “Their efforts will help our campuses continue providing a high-quality, affordable and accessible education to all New Yorkers. We hope in the final enacted budget that this funding is directly allocated for the purposes of closing the budget deficits at our campuses.”

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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