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Local News

February 20, 2013

UUP, state reach tentative contract

A tentative contract has been reached between the state and United University Professions, the governor and union president said in a joint announcement Tuesday.

UUP, which has more than 35,000 members including about 1,400 in the area, had been without a contract since 2011. Under the proposal, members would receive a zero percent wage increase for the three years, 2011 to 2013, and 2 percent increases in 2014 and 2015. Contributions toward health coverage would increase.

According to the State Budget Office, the agreement will save about $87 million in wages through a Deficit Reduction Program over the contract period, a media release from the governor’s office said. All changes to health benefits will save $99 million during the contract period.

The agreement is tentative pending ratification by UUP membership, which union officials said is expected this spring.

John Taylor, president of the UUP Chapter at the State University College of Technology at Delhi, said he would be recommending passage of the agreement to the local’s approximately 375 members. UUP negotiators worked long and hard for an equitable balance that benefits SUNY as well, he said.

“It is a reasonable proposal in a difficult economic time for all state agencies. The proposal would be fairly described as the best that can be expected,’’ Taylor said in an emailed statement. “The articles presented show a commitment from UUP to the future of higher education in New York state and dedication to improving working conditions for its members. The union is also showing its willingness to save the state money by accepting increases in member health benefit costs and Deficit Reduction unpaid leave days.’’

Fred Kowal, president of the UUP Chapter at the State University College of Agriculture and Technology at Cobleskill, deferred comments about the agreement to the union president and his office. The Cobleskill unit has about 300 members, Kowal said.

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