ALBANY — The union for State University of New York professors at campuses ratified a new labor contract that provides 2 percent annual pay boosts for six successive years.

The contract hammered out with Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration covers some 35,000 academic and professional faculty at state-run campuses. The pact does not extend to employees of community colleges, which are separately operated.

The contract is retroactive to July 2, 2016 and extends through July 1, 2022. Over the life of the contract, the agreement is projected to increase salaries 12.6 percent when the annual boosts are compounded.

For the first time, a contract for United University Professions, the union that secured the agreement, will provide a minimum salary for part-time academics — often called adjuncts — who are compensated on a per-course basis. UUP officials characterized this provision as a "historic gain" for their members. The minimum will apply for those teaching a three-credit course and will begin next July.

According to a breakdown of the contract posted on the union's website, beginning next year, the minimum for part-time academics will be set at $3,000 per course at university centers and $2,500 at comprehensive and tech campuses.

The president of UUP, Fred Kowal, a professor at SUNY Cobleskill, pointed out the overwhelming support that members showed for the contract came on the heels of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that some suggest will weaken public employee unions by allowing government workers to opt out of paying dues.

"At a time when organized labor is under attack like never before in America, UUP members stepped up in record numbers and voted for our new contract,” Kowal said in a statement.

Union officials also said UUP is the first state employee bargaining unit to get contractual coverage under New York's new Paid Family Leave Law.

The statute provides partially paid time off and benefits to eligible employees assisting seriously ill family members or dealing with a newborn, adopted child or foster care placement in their homes.

In all, 14,582 union members voted to accept the contract, while 334 opposed it, union officials reported.

Joe Mahoney covers the New York Statehouse for CNHI’s newspapers and websites. Reach him at jmahoney@cnhi.com

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