Author Topic: UUP Liaison Report  (Read 475 times)


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UUP Liaison Report
« on: September 15, 2020, 02:29:16 PM »
UUP Liaison’s Report
Dan Harms

UUP will be conducting a virtual Delegate Assembly on September 25, in order to set up procedures to vote for officers.

UUP also conducted a Tele-Town Hall for librarians and library workers on July 13.

UUP President Fred Kowal’s Statement on SUNY/UUP Agreement on Mandatory COVID-19 Testing for Employees

Fred Kowal’s Statement on SUNY Adopting Surveillance Testing

Fred Kowal’s Statement on the Selection of a New SUNY Chancellor

Fred Kowal’s Statement on the Jacob Blake Shooting

Take action to advocate for SUNY Funding

UUP Librarians and Library Professionals Webinar
Monday, July 13 from 11:30 am – 1:00 pm

1.   Welcome and thank you from statewide UUP officers
•   UUP has goal to get telecommuting agreement extended through December. Builds on existing telecommuting agreement to use it to protect employees who are vulnerable or immunocompromised (including families)
o   Overarching goal is to reduce density on campus. This is key to keeping everyone safe and making reopening feasible. Childcare and elder care are also issues tied up with need for telecommuting
o   Some campuses have not been using the telecommuting agreement to the fullest. Chapter leaders and Labor Relations Specialists are working on that through Labor-Management discussions.
•   While UUP is advocating for members at the state level, it is important that individual issues be brought to chapter officers and Labor Relation Specialists.
•   UUP will take the position that public access to SUNY libraries is inappropriate and unsafe. President Kowal will discuss this with SUNY. Public access to Libraries should not be allowed during the pandemic, similar to how other campus functions will not be open to the public.
•   UUP has been on the record asking SUNY for baseline testing of all individuals students and employees before returning to prevent campus outbreaks.  Many private colleges are adopting this approach and public sector colleges should do it as well.
o   UUP needs your help: sign the UUP petition which calls on SUNY for public hearing for members and stakeholders to voice concerns.  Signers can be any campus employees.  This may push SUNY to require testing and other precautions
   So far, no SUNY campus is conducting baseline or surveillance testing
o   SUNY and legislators may be open to this hearing. But we need more signatures on the petition
•   On July 13 Governor Cuomo released guidance for K-12 schools. Each school must develop specific reopening plans by the end of July. This has big implications for childcare this fall, and parents’ ability to work on campus vs telecommuting. Stay tuned

2.   A review of the questions submitted by members along with a general information update
•   What are rights to decline campus work if we feel at risk? What are HR criteria for working at home?
o   If you are directed to work from your station, you are obligated to comply. Not doing so may result in disciplinary action. UUP is arguing that campuses should respect formal requests for working at home due to increased risk. Employees should be allowed to telecommute if they can do their job responsibilities from home. Also, personal high risk for COVID is covered by ADA, so there is formal request process with HR. Family members who are high risk or staff with kids needing care should also be able to make requests. But there will be some staff who have to work on campus.  That’s when we need to make sure campus safety plans are followed closely. If you feel at risk on campus, you can decline to work – but while this is a defense against disciplinary actions that could be taken for refusing to work on campus, it may not be accepted. You may lose in a disciplinary proceeding.  No easy, clear answers. 
•   What right do employees have not to report to campus when their campuses are not following their registered reopening plan? What support is the union able to provide
o   UUP needs to hear about this immediately. This will become an instant phone call to SUNY officials. Let LRSs and UUP officers know and they will act quickly.
•   Can I be required to work on campus and be assigned duties that I have not been required to do in past,  e.g. clean desks/public computers, shelve books, circulate materials, monitor user behavior?
o   Personal responsibility for everyone – do what you can to keep yourself and neighbors safe. You are expected clean up after yourself. Deep cleaning is not responsibility of staff. Let your chapter leaders know if you have been asked to do substantial cleaning. Students should also be given personal responsibility for cleaning their work areas. Staff should issue gentle reminders to students, but shouldn’t need to do more. Campuses should develop specific policies for enforcement
o   Cleaning guidelines for bathrooms should be developed by campuses to fit unique needs of each campus.
o   We can expect campuses to issue specific guidelines for cleaning and social distancing processes. If there are holes, talk to chapter officers or UUP’s Labor Relations Specialist.
o   At some campuses, library employees told that “additional cleaning throughout the day will be the responsibility of campus staff and patrons.” There doesn’t seem to be anyone else identified to clean these facilities.
o   Enforcement is a controversial subject right now, especially with lots of people saying they don’t want UPD on campus for any reason. Staff should just issue gentle reminders to colleagues and students. Administrators and leaders should reinforce with strict policies and clear lines of responsibility.
o   As for extension of duties – talk to chapter officers and Labor Relations Specialists to  and make sure individual issues are immediately addressed.  This also brings the issue to UUP state-wide attention to be included in next round of negotiation.
   Also, rules around extra work are different from rules around extension or changes to work schedule or hours. Offsetting time and responsibilities or extra service pay on temporary basis may be solutions.  Finally, for Professionals compensatory time may be granted. There should be a performance program that tracks all hours/schedules/responsibilities that can be reviewed to see if offsets are needed. Do not take on extra work without first raising the issue fully with UUP and campus leaders. Academic Librarians do not have Performance Programs, so their issues need to be handled differently. Consult with chapter leaders.
3.   An open exchange of thoughts, ideas, and concerns surrounding reopening
•   Comment: I just learned this morning that HR has us listed as "professionals" when we are clearly not professionals but academics. That affects our "required work hours" too, same as what REDACTED is struggling with.
o   There are both professionals and academics on this webinar, so our discussion is meant to cover all generally. Often reopening guidance and other materials refer to “professionals” but do so in general way. Not necessarily meant to separate out academics. This webinar is for all professionals and academics in UUP who work in libraries.
•   HVAC concerns. What to do with them?
o   This is campus level issue. Bring them to chapter leaders and administrators.
o   Importance of HVAC systems in asymptomatic transmission is growing. There may be more guidance from state coming. State is putting more attention into public building HVAC systems.
•   Can anxiety/depression count toward evidence that staff can work from home because of disability?
o   Depends on the case. You will need medical documentation. Also, if severe enough, it could require use of sick leave. But you also risk seeming like you are unable to complete functions of your job, and therefore be deemed unfit for duty by employer.
•   ADA waivers for wearing masks - some people on campus may have these and therefore be exempted from requirements
o   It is false that there is widespread exemption from wearing masks. Those cards saying people don’t have to use them are fake
o   But small subset of exemptions for real health issues do exist.
o   Even if someone doesn’t have to wear a mask because of a waiver, they can be provided ALTERNATE accommodations, and do not need to be allowed into all facilities. May be told not to go some places and go elsewhere instead
•   Notification of positive cases: campuses have to work with local public health officials on every new case. There is no requirement that anyone other than the people with direct contact get contacted with name of person infected. Lots of privacy concerns.
•   What about library employees that are considered “essential”?
o   Being deemed an “essential employee” by your campus doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t telecommute, at least partially. Some jobs can be given flexibility
o   There is section of contract that covers this
o   There is broadening of term “essential” as we go into fall. Campuses need new types of staff to reopen. But some essential staff may be able to still telecommute
•   How does use of sick leave play into testing and quarantining?
UUP’s COVID-19 Q&A at the link below answers a series of questions about using leave accruals for COVID-related circumstances. It covers use of our contractual accruals and provisions under the new federal Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and federal emergency measures under the Family and Medical Leave Act.

UUP Website:
Telecommuting Pilot Program:
UUP Guidelines for Reopening:
UUP "Toolkit" for reopening:
Petition: Call for SUNY to Convene a Virtual Public Hearing:
Chapter leaders:
Information about Librarians and library professional staff salaries and benefits:
CDC information:
EEO information about ADA:
COVID-19 related mental health:
Campus Employee Assistance Programs (EAP):
New York Forward:
NY Forward Guidelines for Higher Education:
NY Forward guidance for professional office spaces:
DOL Complaint Process information:
ADA fraudulent waiver notices alert:
Dept of Health testing information:


Jamie Dangler:
Jeri O’Bryan-Losee:
Tom Tucker: