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February 20, 2013

UUP, state reach tentative contract

(Continued)

The UUP Chapter at the State University College at Oneonta has about 750 members, unit president William Simons said.

Simons also deferred comment because the pending contract is a statewide, not local, agreement.

UUP President Phillip H. Smith said the tentative contract is fair for the union and the state.

“This contract meets the unique needs of our members and meets the state’s need to achieve savings in these difficult economic times,” Smith said in the release.

SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher expressed appreciation to state and UUP representatives and the SUNY team on reaching a “conceptual agreement.’’

“While a final agreement is subject to ratification by the full membership, the Memorandum of Understanding represents a significant accomplishment through compromise by all parties in achieving a fair and equitable settlement given these difficult economic times,” Zimpher said in the media release issued by the governor’s office.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state was able to reach a fair agreement with UUP through collaboration.

“This contract agreement continues the state’s commitment to fiscal discipline while recognizing the vital role our university employees play in a strong SUNY system,” Cuomo said in a prepared statement.

The release said the tentative pact includes:

• A 2-percentage-point increase in health insurance premium contributions for employees earning less than $40,137, making the share 12 percent for individuals and 27 percent for family premiums.

• A 6 percentage point increase for employees earning $40,137 and above, making the share 16 percent for individuals and 31 percent for family premiums.

• A Deficit Reduction Program.

• Payments of $500, $500, and $250 to be awarded to employees at the discretion of the chancellor. UUP members receive no “step” increases or longevity payments but campus presidents may make performance incentive lump-sum payments of 0.5 percent annually (1 percent at end of the contract term).

The American Arbitration Association will conduct a ratification vote by mail this spring. UUP members will have about three weeks to return ballots to AAA.

A simple majority is needed to pass the tentative agreement, Communications Director Denyce Duncan Lacy said Tuesday. Union officials will be sharing specific details about the old and new contracts with members in local units during the days ahead, she said, and will look for ratification in the spring. 

“We think it’s a good contract,’’ she said.

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