Chancellor Malatras and PEF President Spence Extend Free, Mandatory COVID-19 Testing Agreement for PEF-Represented Employees Through Spring Semester

December 2, 2020

Agreement Follows Deals with UUP, CSEA to Continue Mandatory Testing Through June

Read the full PEF COVID Testing MOU for 2021

Albany, NY – State University of New York Chancellor Jim Malatras and New York State Public Employees Federation (PEF) President Wayne Spence today extended an agreement to conduct free, mandatory COVID-19 testing of all PEF-represented employees at SUNY state-operated colleges, universities, and hospitals. Routine testing for PEF-represented employees will now continue through the end of the spring semester. The preexisting agreement was set to expire on December 31, 2020. United University Professions (UUP) and The Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) recently extended similar arrangements.

"Since the onset of the pandemic, SUNY’s PEF-represented employees have been instrumental in the battle against COVID, with many working on the frontlines at our university hospitals," said Chancellor Malatras. "Our university frontline workers are heroes, and the least we can do is provide them with free, routine testing for COVID-19. As we look ahead to the spring semester, regularly testing everyone on our campuses—students, faculty, and staff—will once again be crucial to tracking the virus and keeping our infection rate down. I want to thank PEF President Wayne Spence for his leadership, and for extending our agreement and ensuring that we take care of those who continue to put themselves on the line for us and who make us all proud to be part of this SUNY family."

New York State Public Employees Federation President Spence said, "Throughout this pandemic, PEF's primary concern has been the health and safety of the workers we represent. Extending mandatory testing for our members working at state universities is key to stopping the spread of COVID-19 on campuses. Combined with social distancing and masks, testing allows PEF members in the SUNY system to continue safely doing the mission-critical work they've done since March."

Effective through June 30, 2021, all state-operated colleges, universities, and hospitals shall conduct testing of Professional, Scientific and Technical Services Unit (PS&T) employees who are required to report in person to campus to conduct some or all of their work obligation. Testing will be free of cost and conducted during regular work hours. Campuses will work with their local PEF council representatives in development of the testing protocol of the PS&T. Testing will be done at the same frequency as with students, faculty, and staff.

This semester SUNY has conducted 557,999 COVID-19 tests with a positivity rate of 0.52 percent. Most SUNY students are finishing classes and finals remotely. All returning students will be required to submit to tests ahead of the spring semester.

About The New York State Public Employees Federation

The Public Employees Federation (PEF) represents nearly 51,000 public sector employees with respect to all terms and conditions of employment in New York State. PEF supports and defends the concepts of individual merit and ethical performance as criteria for public service employees in order to best promote efficient delivery of services to New Yorkers.

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the country’s oldest school of maritime, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.4 million students amongst its entire portfolio of credit- and non-credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2022, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunities, visit

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Holly Liapis
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