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PEF, SUNY Upstate reach agreement on geo pay increase

With a focus on improving staff retention and keeping up with the salary market for new graduates, PEF and SUNY Upstate reached an agreement to increase the geographic rate for Upstate’s teaching and research center nurses.

The agreement results in an average increase of about $3,500 annually and is expected to affect 1,648 nurses. The increase is effective as of May 13, 2021, and should be reflected in paychecks starting June 9. Prior to a small increase that PEF also worked on in 2020, the geo rate had not increased since its inception 14 years ago.  Individual letters with details specific to each PEF nurse should go out next week.

“It was high time we recognized SUNY nurses for their extraordinary work, both before and during the COVID pandemic,” said PEF President Wayne Spence. “Keeping these talented nurses at our state hospitals is vital to all the patients they serve every day. An increase in geo pay brings them closer to the salaries enjoyed by their private-sector counterparts and hopefully acts as an incentive to continue or to join state employment.”

Once hazard pay for the state’s essential workers was not included in this year’s state budget, PEF, SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras, and SUNY Upstate President Mantosh Dewan immediately began pursuing this alternative, which does not require approval by the Governor’s Office of Employee Relations or the legislature.

PEF is continuing to push for the other two hospitals in the SUNY system, Downstate and Stony Brook, to negotiate geographic pay increases as well, and is focused on continuing to advocate for hazard pay.