September 20, 2019
UUP members around the state turned out for rallies, marches and workshops Friday in support of the Day of Action for the Global Climate Strike, organized by youth around the world. The events drew thousands of people around the state. An estimated 1,500 people attended the Albany rally, including Albany Chapter members, above, from left, Laura Wilder, Bret Benjamin, Marco Varisco and Alison Olin.
“Today, the members of United University Professions were proud to join students from dozens of campuses in the State University of New York as they made a bold statement about their future—a future which they refuse to surrender to the inaction of climate deniers,” UUP President Frederick E. Kowal said. He joined members and students at a rally in New York City.
Kowal, at right in the photo above, supports students at the New York City rally with, left to right, UUP Membership Officer Tom Hoey, Downstate Medical Center Chapter President Rowena Blackman-Stroud, and AFT President Randi Weingarten.
Other members participated in rallies and marches with their students in Albany, Stony Brook and Oswego.
UUP strong on climate action
Albany Chapter members said they turned out to support their students and their union, which has steadily pressed for action on climate change, and stands ready to partner with SUNY, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and the Legislature on strong, effective policies and programs in green technology.
“It’s heartening to see the students take the lead on this,” Albany Chapter President Aaron Major said. “I think the union’s progress on this has not just been steady support, but escalating support, getting people out to events and into coalitions. It’s one of the reasons I’m proud to tell people I’m a UUP member.”
Major, above left, was joined by Albany Chapter members Laura Wilder and Marco Varisco at Albany’s West Capitol Park, where an estimated 1,500 students and supporters rallied Friday, following a march from the SUNY Downtown Campus along Western Avenue. Car horns steadily honked in support and drivers patiently waited as the long line of chanting, sign-waving students crossed intersections on their way to the rally. Residents and business owners also turned out along the route to view the march.
Working with SUNY, state, on climate progress
UUP is a member of NY Renews, a coalition of more than 100 labor unions, environmental groups, and community and faith-based organizations dedicated to combining climate justice with the creation of good jobs. As part of this coalition, UUP applauded the passage of the New York State Climate and Community Protection Act, which Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law in July. The new law sets the goal of a carbon-neutral state economy by 2050.
“SUNY is the natural vehicle by which New York state can implement the Climate and Community Protection Act,” Kowal said. “We thank the SUNY students for their action, and we thank our members for turning out today.”