September 2012
September 05, 2012

Unions turn up heat to save SUNY Downstate

Author: Darryl McGrath
Source: NYSUT United
Caption: UUP members, from left, George Burke and Betty Leung march in one of several rallies this summer to support SUNY Downstate Medical Center. Photo by Karen Mattison.

NYSUT members and other unionists continue to demand that Gov. Cuomo, the SUNY Board of Trustees, SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher and state lawmakers take immediate and decisive action to save Brooklyn's SUNY Downstate Medical Center.

The center is Brooklyn's fourth-largest employer and the only source of nearby health services for thousands of low-income residents. The center also trains hundreds of health care personnel annually who elect to live and work in the community.

Nineteen temporary workers represented by UUP already have lost their jobs and 35 part-time workers will be out of jobs this month; 360 UUP members have received notices of recommendations of non-renewal.

As many as 1,000 of the center's 8,000 employees are at risk of losing their jobs in the face of a restructuring plan.

As NYSUT United went to press, NYSUT and United University Professions, the local that represents several thousand Downstate employees, were coordinating rallies, petition drives and letter campaigns to lawmakers and SUNY officials. Go to savejobsatsunydownstate.org to sign the petition.

Downstate UUP Chapter President Rowena Blackman-Stroud, statewide UUP treasurer and a NYSUT Board member, has led the effort with other unions, statewide and locally, to call attention to the devastating threat to health care services and job cuts.