MERIT PAY AT TOP OF UFF CHAPTER AGENDA FOR FALL
There are two truths about merit pay and salaries at USF:
Several months ago I learned that a recently-promoted full professor received a substantial discretionary raise in the fall, and at the end of that process was still well below 85% of her national market salary for rank and discipline. This is someone in a STEM field whom the administration thought was productive enough to be promoted a few years ago and then give a discretionary raise, and yet she is still severely underpaid. Collectively, the administration and union have failed her and the university in having a system where someone who is so productive on any measure can be so far behind the national average. This is neither merit nor justice nor wise management. If you have been here for several years, you can think of similar cases in your department or college.
- UFF has consistently argued in favor of merit pay and has given the administration authority for discretionary raises in every locally-bargained agreement at USF in addition to bargaining for merit-pay pools; and
- This structure is not working.
I have defended and could easily continue to defend the continuation of this arrangement by talking about reasonableness with regard to merit pay and discretion: If you remove across-the-board raises authorized by the state legislature, across-the-board raises funded at USF since 2004 have been in the minority, swamped by annual-review-based merit pay and other raise sources. But I have no desire to stand still on salary issues: both members and nonmembers have told me that we need to shift direction, both the union and management. USF will struggle in the next few years to be able to hire anywhere close to enough new faculty to meet our needs or to provide as many raises as we need to retain faculty, but we can and must talk about the future of salary agreements now, while there are not huge pots of money on the table.
I will thus arrange single-issue, informal meetings all fall to discuss the structure of merit pay and other salary increases. A policy direction on merit pay and other salary priorities will come out of these meetings and there will likely be a chapter-wide referendum in the spring. ONLY members will vote on any policy-setting referendum, and this will be a members-driven process. You need to join UFF to participate; please see additional thoughts online (at http://tinyurl.com/ndgu6j ).
Please contact me ( firstname.lastname@example.org, subject="Merit pay discussion") if you want to help organize a meeting in your building for UFF members to discuss merit pay and other salary issues.
USF Chapter President
United Faculty of Florida
Join UFF -- http://faculty.ourusf.org/join-uff/
WELCOME NEW FACULTY & PROFESSIONALS!
All faculty (except those in the College of Medicine, along with most chairs and directors) and many professionals (including advisors, counselors, and librarians) are members of the "Bargaining Unit", i.e., the people who the United Faculty of Florida represents.
All employees in the Bargaining Unit have the same contract, called the Collective Bargaining Agreement, which is posted on-line . UFF and the USF administration bargained this contract: two bargaining teams worked out the "terms and conditions of employment" including salary raises, tenure and promotion, academic freedom, discipline and the grievance process, assignments and evaluations, sabbaticals and health benefits, etc., etc., etc.
The UFF also enforces the contract by using the "grievance process" when the contract is violated. Any employee whose rights are violated can file a grievance, but UFF will only represent UFF members. Membership is NOT automatic: one must join (there is a membership form posted on-line: click here). Membership dues are 1 % of salary, somewhat less than the 10 % - 15 % charged by Hollywood agents.
Representation in grievances is not the only benefit UFF provides to UFF members: we also provide tenure and promotion workshops, subscriptions to journals on jobs and teaching, a variety of promotional bargains with various businesses, and insurance in case you get sued on the job. But UFF's most important mission is the contract.
UFF at the university is run by fellow faculty and professionals. It is a democratic organization whose officers and representatives are elected each spring; any UFF member and only UFF members can run and vote. And we meet at "Chapter Meetings", where any UFF member can participate and vote on business matters (when an issue is "presented to the Chapter," that means it was on the agenda of a Chapter meeting). The Chapter Meetings will be on alternate Fridays, at noon, with sandwiches and soda pop provided by the Chapter, starting tomorrow at SOC 258. Come and check us out.
We also have two websites, one on-campus at http://w3.usf.edu/~uff/ and one off-campus at http://www.uff.ourusf.org/ .
This "UFF Biweekly" is sent out every other week, the Thursday before a Friday chapter meeting. All members of the Bargaining Unit should receive it; if you do not, please contact us at email@example.com. In addition, all members of the Bargaining Unit should have received our hardcopy newsletter, UnCommon Sense, which this fall features profiles of our Bargaining and Grievance Chairs.
GRIEVANCE RESULTS ON ANNUAL LEAVE, TENURE PROCEDURES
Over the summer, the UFF won one grievance at arbitration on annual leave, lost a grievance at arbitration over tenure procedures, and settled several grievances related to tenure procedures.
At the end of June, an arbitrator awarded UFF a complete victory on two grievances related to the administration's attempt in the summer of 2008 to take away annual leave from 12-month faculty and professional employees without bargaining the change with the UFF. The arbitrator's ruling said that the university has the right to manage the university on matters not covered by the contract, but those management rights are not a blank check to overrule employee rights, which include a right to schedule annual leave and not have it scheduled for us. The arbitrator's ruling is available at http://tinyurl.com/m6w8od.
In July, an arbitrator ruled in favor of the administration on a tenure grievance. In this case, because it concerns an individual whose privacy deserves to be respected, UFF will not place the text of the ruling online, but all faculty should understand the arbitrator's ruling and the consequences for tenure procedures. The grievance stemmed from a tenure case where there were several procedural flaws, including: someone added marginal comments in the tenure candidate's binder regarding the tenure candidate's publishing record, but that someone didn't notify the tenure candidate. The Collective Bargaining Agreement requires that when additional material is placed in a tenure or promotion file, the faculty member is promptly notified. The UFF argued that the addition of marginal comments without notifying the faculty member was a contract violation, and that the university should rehire the individual and give the grievant an opportunity to go up for tenure under a procedurally clean process.
The arbitrator agreed with the UFF that the addition of material without notice was a contract violation, but ruled for the administration for several reasons. First, the arbitrator noted that the associate dean at the time of the incident took several steps to cure the procedural flaw. In addition, the arbitrator was not convinced by the evidence in this particular case that there was a causal link between the procedural violation and the denial of tenure. There are two practical consequences of this decision for the tenure process:
The UFF and the administration settled two other grievances this summer stemming from procedural flaws in the tenure process. The flaws were significantly greater than the procedural flaws in the grievance that went to arbitration, and the administration agreed to let the grievants go up for tenure again.
- The administration has an incentive to cure procedural flaws, and faculty should raise concerns about any procedural flaws as soon as they become evident. A significant reason for the administration's victory in this grievance were the steps the associate dean took to address procedural problems, and we expect that in the future, the General Counsel's advice to administrators will be that curative steps help the administration insulate itself from tenure grievances.
- Tenure grievances will need to have a causal link to be successful. Given this arbitration decision, there is a reasonable chance that an administrator's willful failure to cure procedural flaws will be sufficient to win a tenure grievance in the future. The argument of the UFF was broader, that the process was sufficiently tainted to require rehiring and another opportunity to go up for tenure. The arbitrator disagreed with that argument, and the arbitrator's ruling puts the onus clearly on the grievant (and UFF) to demonstrate that procedural flaws led to a tenure denial.
These grievances were settled without having to proceed to arbitration, and the grievants were members of UFF. UFF policy does not allow the chapter to represent non-members in grievances, and if the grievants had not been dues-paying members of UFF at the time of the contract violations, they would have had to represent themselves or hire outside attorneys.
THE CENTRAL ADMINISTRATION
To begin at the beginning, Article IX, Section 7 of the Florida State Constitution says that the Board of Governors "shall operate, regulate, control, and be fully responsible for the management of the whole university system," and that among its duties, the board "shall establish the powers and duties of the boards of trustees." That has not prevented the legislature from establishing the "powers and duties of the university boards of trustees"; this statute XLVIII.1001.74 enumerates many things that, say, the USF Board of Trustees can do or should do.
The USF Board's view of the world is posted at
http://usfweb2.usf.edu/board/pdfs/Operating.procedures.revised.pdf, although there is a more recent Governance Policy document (posted at
http://usfweb2.usf.edu/usfgc/resources/governanace_policy.pdf). The Board meets at least four times a year, with an agenda composed by the President. They directly oversee the Tampa campus (which includes Marine Science), while overseeing regional boards for the regional campuses which are appointed by the main Board. Two regional campuses are within the "USF system" (Sarasota-Manatee and Polytechnic, at Lakeland), and one is free-standing (St. Petersburg). Each regional campus has an executive (a Chancellor at St. Petersburg, two CEOs elsewhere) who is appointed by and reports to the President, as does the Provost and other vice presidents.
To sum up, there is an organization chart, with all lines of authority running through the president's office. But this is not how things actually work, for governance is shared in two ways.
THE PARTNERS IN LEADERSHIP
The Administration is not an island, entire of itself. There are several partner organs and organizations representing constituents of the university community. For example, there are four official bodies within USF that are not subordinate to the Administration.
In addition, there are several unions with collective bargaining rights, i.e., the Administration (representing the Board) MUST bargain with them. Employees are represented by these unions, which protect the terms and conditions of their employment.
The contracts these unions bargain with the Board have greater force than any university regulation, which means that any time a term or condition of employment comes up, any decision MUST be consistent with the language of the contract at issue.
- The Student Government is not independent of the administration, but it has considerable authority of its own. It has three branches, an executive (whose president appoints student members to USF Presidential Advisory Council, and who serves as a member of the Board), a legislature that allocates over ten million dollars in student activity fees, and a judiciary.
- The Staff Senate is elected by staff members and serves as an advisory body to the President. "The mission of the STAFF Senate is to provide an avenue for effective communications between the Staff, the University President, and senior management," reads its mission statement. "The Senate will take a proactive role in working to strengthen the USF community and support the mission to become a 'Top 50 Public Extensive Research and Doctoral Institution'." Unlike the Student Government, the Staff Senate wields primarily moral authority.
- The Faculty Senate "...serves as the main channel of communication between faculty members and the central administration of the University. The Senate constitutes the principal advisory body to the President and Provost of the University and has the responsibility to review and make recommendations to them concerning decisions of the University on all matters pertaining to the welfare of the University, focusing particularly on those related to the academic mission."
- The A & P Council "...seeks to consider and make recommendations to the appropriate authorities on matters of interest to the University community." This council represents A & P employee concerns about the mission of the university.
Case in point: the UFF contract (for faculty and professionals) says that "On the part of the Administration, Academic Responsibility implies a commitment actively to foster within the University a climate favorable to responsible exercise of freedom, by adherence to principles of shared governance, which require that in the development of academic policies and processes, the professional judgments of employees are of primary importance." Shared governance is a contractual obligation.
So here is one way that governance is shared: with constituents of the university community via these organizations. The ability of these organizations to represent their constituents depends heavily on the participation of those constituents: when constituents are very active (as many were last spring, when the indirect funds in the budget became an issue of public concern), then the Administration will tend to address their concerns. On the other hand, when constituents are inactive, the Administration (which has many other things to worry about) will assume that all is well.
But there is another way that governance is shared: by continuous participation that is necessary simply to keep the university running.
THE ACADEMIC CLOCKWORK
In a totem pole, the most important totem is the one at the bottom, for it holds the others up. If one looked at the top of the great machine of committees that makes the university go, one would see a cluster of System Management Councils, consisting primarily of administrators appointed by the President, and a cluster of Presidential Advisory Councils of representatives selected by the four official USF partners. This is where policy comes from, but policy is an abstract thing.
Every college, school, institute, department, or other such unit should have a governance document, preferably posted on-line (ahem!); the Faculty Senate has posted a lecture and a kit just under its own documents posted at http://web.usf.edu/FacultySenate/documents.html; these can be adapted to a unit's needs as their members see fit. There are two critical points: a unit should be democratically run as much as possible, and most of the work and most of the decisions, for the decisions tend to be made by those who do the work is done by committees.
Technically, most of these committees are "advisory". But let us pause for a touch of realism. If a textbook committee plows through umpteen textbooks, and comes up with a recommendation, that recommendation is usually followed for practical reasons. And most of these decisions from annual faculty evaluations to course proposals are done by faculty because the hierarchy is not really competent to do much more than look at those decisions and see if they seem reasonable. So while the work of any one committee may look insubstantial, collectively there is an enormous amount of responsibility. This is the daily concrete work that keeps the wheels turning.
Power flows to those who do the work, however invisible. There is little power in saying that someone should do something: power comes from doing something that should be done. Administrators make a few big decisions while faculty, professionals, staff, and students make the vast number of little ones, and those little ones collectively define much of the function of the university as a whole. And even the big decisions cannot be made (successfully) in isolation from the rest of the university, for not only do the myriad little decisions create currents that the administration must navigate, but it is ultimately the faculty, professionals, staff and students (!) that do the work. A good administrator is an expert sailor of academic waters, while a dictatorial one is a shipwreck waiting to happen.
ENGLISH LANGUAGE INSTITUTE FACULTY LIKELY TO KEEP JOBS
On September 13, USF Provost Ralph Wilcox distributed an e-mail to several dozen faculty and administrators, indicating that he and other key personnel discussing a possible partnership with a company, INTO University Partnerships. Wilcox has stated that his goal for such a partnership would be to boost enrollment in the English Language Institute's (ELI) program to prepare international students for North American higher education and to boost international enrollment at USF.
This internal e-mail came after several trips by USF administrators and faculty to England and Oregon to look at joint INTO-university operations and two trips by INTO employees (including one by INTO head Andrew Colin) to USF. The faculty who traveled on those trips included several members of the USF-Tampa Faculty Senate (including Faculty Senate President Larry Branch).
In response to concerns raised by faculty and others in the early summer, the UFF-USF Chapter has been following events closely. "My focus has been on members' jobs and concerns about outsourcing," said UFF-USF Chapter President Sherman Dorn. "I have tried to make clear that as long as those concerns are met, we'll stand back and let the Faculty Senate and affected departments address the academic issues involved."
In an online meeting yesterday morning, two UFF members asked Dorn what the status of the ELI positions are. Dorn explained that at the last Board of Trustees meeting, Andrew Colin expressed disinterest in direct outsourcing of academic positions. After the meeting, Dorn said that both Branch and Wilcox indicated that they do not expect academic jobs to be outsourced.
Dorn admitted that the provost had not provided written assurances to the chapter, and explained that the chapter had made the argument that early assurances to those in ELI would be the best way to calm concerns and lead ELI staff to buy into any changes.
"I wish I could say this with complete certainty, but I don't have that written assurance yet from the provost or president," Dorn said after the membership meeting.
"Nonetheless, I hope and suspect Ralph would not give away the authority to manage or direct critical personnel if this is a key project of his. Of course, if negotiations head in a different direction, towards outsourcing jobs of people we represent, we'll quickly consider our options as a chapter."
PRIVATIZATION, PARTNERSHIPS, AND INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS
Privatization is a hot topic in academia. Bookstores, police, janitors, information technology, student advising, financial management and and this is plot material: admissions and recruitment have been outsourced at various institutions across the country. And most notoriously, many faculty are adjuncts, i.e., subcontractors working for less often much less than $ 3,000 a course. So it is not surprising that companies are arriving at provosts' doorsteps, hat in hand, offering to take over entire academic units.
Around much of the globe, an elite education (or even a quality education) outside of the USA means a public education. The elite private institutions are largely American, and elsewhere "private" usually means for-profit and sometimes questionable. But that is changing: UNESCO issued a new report on "Private Higher Education" (posted on-line) saying that about 30 % of higher education enrollments in the world now are private. And public-private partnerships are part of that growth.
An institution might outsource a unit because it thinks that a private contractor might be cheaper, or more competent, or maybe (in this era of entrepreneurial innovation) it is the ideologically correct thing to do. And colleges and universities world-wide are outsourcing student recruitment functions, and sometimes student orientation and acculturation programs with them.
It used to be that international students flocked reliably to the USA. Universities here had old competitors colonial powers like England and France and newer ones like Australia and Canada. The new competitors actively sought students, which meant new recruiting measures. In Australia, recruiting companies (sometimes even business recruiting companies that expanded into educational recruiting) have networks of agents working areas with high densities of prospective students (like India and China).
Australia recently cut university funding, so their universities are increasingly dependent on streams of international students: by 2004, a fifth of all Australian higher education students were international. Many were ill-prepared, and universities found themselves paying the recruiting companies to teach English to the new students, sometimes before admission, and sometimes within a joint unit of the university and the company.
This recruitment-and-English-teaching industry expanded into Canada, Britain, and other (largely Commonwealth) countries, with mixed results, including wage and job security issues for employees who wind up in the new joint units. Such problems worry unions, especially when accompanied by a lack of transparency: the British University and College Union (UCU) grumbled that, "Deals with private companies are typically announced following long periods of secret discussion and managers attempt to muzzle public discussion of proposals at governing bodies by claiming 'commercial sensitivity'." (The UCU got steamed enough about the whole business to post a kit on "Privatisation and how to stop it" posted on-line.)
The USA would seem to be a strange target for this industry, for the big problem that students and parents and educators and pundits complain about here is the tangle of visa and security and other rules that international students face. There is a myth that this snarl of red tape started with 9/11, but the USA has a long history of hostile customs services, going back to the 1950s. The high tech industry is quite aware of what the problem is, and has devoted its efforts to (a) lobbying Washington and (b) making very real threats to move operations abroad. It is not clear what American universities would gain by imitating their Commonwealth competitors, which tend to be based in nations with less ferocious security requirements.
Privatized admissions and recruitment is not new in America. What was new for America was an institution that subcontracted an English Language unit to a private company, like Northeastern University did with Kaplan last year. Actually, it's not clear what the resulting Global Pathways arrangement is, since both Northeastern and Kaplan refused to discuss finances with the New York Times. But they told the Times that Northeastern handles the teaching (which Kaplan wanted to do), curriculum and admissions.
INTO UNIVERSITY PARTNERSHIPS
Shortly after Northeastern and Kaplan shook hands, INTO University Partnerships, an Australian newcomer launched by real estate tycoon Andrew Colin, signed an agreement with Oregon State University to recruit and oversee or manage or otherwise fiddle with OSU's English Language Institute. The perceived need was there: OSU's international enrollment had fallen by half to 5 %, and their long-range plan called for raising it to 9 %. But OSU's ELI promptly lost its accreditation with the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation (the CEA).
Now, INTO is talking with USF.
For better or worse, INTO generates lively copy. To the UCU's enumeration of INTO's financial losses and other sins, INTO responded with a press release (posted on-line) and a libel suit, to which UCU capitulated. (British libel laws are far more generous to plaintiffs than American libel laws, where the truth is an absolute defense.) And INTO founder Andrew Colin is unusually quotable: for example, "At one end you've got lecturers teaching ridiculous hours for peanuts without proper contracts. At the other end, you've got some heads [sic] of department on 48,000 pounds [$ 78,000] teaching 300 hours a year [that's almost seven courses at USF] and doing no research!" Colin has been an educational entrepreneur for years, but the founder of Real Estate Venture Capital Management LLP (revcap) is primarily a developer (he is building a $ 52 million dorm/classroom & lab building for OSU).
During the summer, several USF faculty and administrators visited England and Oregon to take a look, and since the September 13 e-mail, there has been little public information coming from the Provost's Office, though the value of any potential contract would be potentially tens of millions. The future of USF's English Language Institute (see their web-page) is at stake.
ISSUES RAISED BY FACULTY
At the July meeting of the USF-Tampa Faculty Senate Executive Committee (documents posted on-line, Wilcox promised that he would not support any contract involving ELI unless an agreement provided for (a) maintaining ties between ELI and the academic programs to which it has provided research and training opportunities in the past, (b) maintaining ELI's accreditation, and (c) maintaining USF control over key academic matters. The relevant excerpt from the SEC minutes is below:
"The Provost pointed out that USF has absolutely no interest in partnering with anyone who cannot provide demonstrable success in prior partnerships, and who cannot assure continuity in the key issue of ethical practices. USF must, at all times, retain full authority over academic decision making. In addition, USF is not interested in partnering with anyone who might threaten the on-going accreditation of ELI."
Faculty and others have told UFF chapter officers that while some concerns have been addressed explicitly, questions remain:
- Who is required to approve a joint agreement on academic programs with a commercial entity? While the English Language Institute does not offer degrees, its teaching employees consider themselves faculty, it educates its enrollees, and its enrollees consider themselves students and live in student housing. ELI is a unit of the Department of World Languages and is linked to several academic programs. And the goal of a partnership would be to increase international enrollment in standard academic programs. Should such agreement require the prior approval of the Faculty Senate?
- Will future hiring of ELI teachers occur within an academic context, with a search committee and faculty vetting for permanent positions?
- Would the structure of the agreement complicate management and the ties with academic programs? Provost Wilcox has promised that any agreement would maintain current ties with academic programs and their units, and some faculty close to the issue have suggested that it is a very different operation to have a unit within an academic department and a unit that is outside and not under the direction of a department chair, dean, or governance committee of academics.
- What authority will faculty and academic administrators have over the presentation of USF programs to potential ELI participants? A public-records request of all material given USF visitors to INTO in England showed that all of the materials were in English, with no sample materials in the languages of potential students Arabic, Portuguese, Mandarin, French, and so forth. USF has hundreds of faculty who could help assess recruiting materials in multiple languages, but that is only possible if academics have a chance to look at the material that potential recruits will see.
- Is INTO the best partner? INTO is not the only commercial player in the field of recruiting international students. INTO is the only such company that has sent visitors to USF, and that USF has investigated in depth (with trips to England and Oregon).
- Would the creation of a joint entity with a commercial firm create legal complications and undermine sovereign immunity? The university enjoys some protections from lawsuits because it is a state entity. If a contract is in the form of a joint entity, how would that affect the university's liability in the operation of ELI or how participants (and future students) are treated while at USF?
- What are the exit options if a joint operation does not work out satisfactorily? Would USF be able to extricate itself from the partnership without long-term damage to ELI and the programs it is tied to?
"BOLD INITIATIVES" AND COLLEGIAL GOVERNANCE
The discussions over ELI's future and INTO touch upon two competing tensions at USF and elsewhere: the nature of collegial governance and the "nimbleness" of academic initiatives. On the one hand, the central USF Faculty Senate in the late 1990s and earlier this decade began several attempts to gain more input and authority over academic processes, and its successors at the different campuses will probably continue that. The United Faculty of Florida has proposed contractual language on collegial governance at several chapters, and the FSU chapter won an enforceable clause on collegial governance in a contract several years ago. The USF chapter has placed similar language on the table this summer. All of this is consistent with the principles of collegial governance advanced by the American Association of University Professors.
So substantial initiatives taken without the approval faculty governance organizations will rub faculty the wrong way. At the same time, academic administrators are often pushed by the dynamic of academic politics to develop their own initiatives and push them quickly for fear of losing momentum. Chapter officers received several questions during the summer about why all of the investigation of INTO occurred during the summer, when the USF-Tampa Faculty Senate was not meeting.
There are several solutions to this dilemma: for example, for administrators to take proposals to faculty governance bodies and receive quick up or down input on principle in a timely manner. Without approval of the principle of major initiatives, administrators risk going out on a limb without faculty buy-in. The agreement between the USF-Tampa Faculty Senate and the Provost's Office on future academic unit reorganizations is an example of an agreement that satisfies such needs.
The history at USF is different, for the most part, with administrator initiatives taken that put the institution at risk far in the future. "I remember the intimidation of Tom Tighe at a fall 1996 meeting for all faculty about the USF charter school, which was just a proposal at the time," recalled Dorn. "He asked if anyone thought it was a bad idea, and he did so with his shoulders and heads leaning forward, ready for a fight. No one spoke up.
"Some initiatives of administrators are going to succeed, and some are going to flop, and that's true of faculty initiatives as well. One benefit of collegial governance is that administrators and faculty governance organizations can serve as friendly critics for each other on such initiatives.
"And one job of a union is make sure that the risks taken on by an institution are not placed entirely on the shoulders of employees. If in-unit ELI teachers keep their jobs and in-unit status, that will satisfy the chapter's central obligations in this issue."
PREPARING FOR SPRING
Last spring, with tax and fee revenues drying up and legislators wringing their hands over the morality of accepting stimulus funding from the federal government, the legislature was poised to cut 10 % from all state agencies across the board. That included ten percent from higher education.
That was how UFF statewide President Tom Auxter opened his Address to the Senate: how that got turned around. UFF launched an intensive lobbying effort built around talking points, such as:
Notice that for better or worse, these talking points were designed for their intended audience: the legislators. Arguments that would persuade academics are often unpersuasive to legislators, and since UFF wanted to persuade legislators to do something for higher education, UFF used arguments that past experience suggests work in that environment.
- Supporting higher education during a recession makes a state's economy stronger, while cutting funds makes it weaker.
- Supporting higher education increases the quality of preparation and training for Florida's workplace.
- By attracting young people to study rather than directly enter the workplace, supporting higher education reduces the ranks of the unemployed while allowing students to use their time constructively and efficiently during a recession.
- Supporting higher education means that colleges and universities can offer the courses that students need to fulfill their degree requirements not to mention retaining the faculty to teach those courses.
It was an organized effort, and UFF did not do it alone. Student organizations, unions, the Board of Governors, and several universities collaborated in several ways: Florida SUS Chancellor Frank Brogan followed Auxter in using "slingshot" as a noun. Such organization counts, and the legislature ultimately decided not to cut higher education for now.
The point that Auxter was making is that the legislature will be back next spring, and he said that the time to start organizing for next spring is now. (It seems that fall is when legislators write bills, so this is the time....) While next year's General Revenue estimates are lower, the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA, the Stimulus) will keep things going, so UFF believes that funding levels can be maintained if UFF and its partners students, universities, BOG, faculty senates work together. Auxter and UFF Executive Director Ed Mitchell outlined several efforts, such as:
Mitchell concluded his report to the Senate by advising senators not to use university machines, listservs, phones, stationary, etc., to lobby legislators, as legislators tend to resent the use of state resources (and using state resources this way is illegal). Faculty will be advised to use their own or union resources in these efforts.
- Faculty will be encouraged to visit legislators this fall, when they are in their home districts and have more free time (perhaps fifteen minutes or so) to discuss higher education with faculty. Legislators are not very sensitive to the particular needs of faculty, but they are very receptive to concerns of students, parents, and employers, and the UFF will be posting talking points on their
Legislative News page.
- UFF is already gearing up for 2010 fall elections, which includes donations by its Political Action Committee. Since dues money does not go into the PAC, UFF relies on voluntary donations, including by payroll deduction. Politicians tend to be grateful for donations which they remember so the PAC tends to spread donations widely. UFF has
posted information on this.
Transcending all these talking points was the long-term question of where Florida will be going after the recovery.
A COALITION FOR ADVOCACY
Two state legislators visited the UFF Senate meeting, both of them UFF members. Bill Heller of USF St. Petersburg and Keith Fitzgerald of New College spoke at the evening dinner and at the Bargaining Councils. And both mentioned what UFF statewide President Tom Auxter called a need for a "coalition for advocacy" for higher education. As Senator Heller observed, giving tax breaks to high tech firms is a mixed blessing if they wind up importing all their high-tech workers because capable employees can't be found in the state.
Several coalitions exist in Florida: an alliance of real estate, construction, and industrial interests campaign for transportation funding while an alliance of rural, police, and privatized security interests campaign for prison funding. Whatever one may think about the various goals of these interests, UFF is increasingly struck by their success as political coalitions.
Auxter proposed a "coalition for advocacy" for higher education. The Chamber of Commerce and associated industrial groups are slowly recognizing the need for an educated workforce, and unions and business could form an alliance with the colleges and universities to persuade the legislature of the critical roles higher education and academic research play in the modern economy.
UFF will be developing both short-term and long-term campaigns in collaboration with all partners student, administrative, faculty, staff, community, business that are willing to support higher education in Florida, and we encourage everyone in the bargaining unit, as a homework exercise, to think of ideas for these campaigns, and to bring useful teaching, research, and service efforts to our attention.
ELSEWHERE, SOME UNIVERSITY ADMINISTRATIONS TURN PREDATORY
Despite the collaboration in Tallahassee described in the previous Biweekly, there seems to be an unusual number of conflicts in some Florida universities. UFF bargains and enforces contracts, and conflicts in both bargaining and enforcement were described in the UFF Senate meeting.
For example: bargaining at six colleges and universities is so completely stuck that impasse has been declared (which means that a mediator is brought in); the most recent was the University of Florida, where UFF declared impasse after FOUR YEARS of bargaining.
(To be fair to those six institutions, USF is also at impasse in bargaining with AFSCME, in part because the administration is unwilling or unable to provide a living wage to staff employees.)
And as for enforcement... Contracts are enforced by a grievance process: if the contract is violated, an employee or the chapter may file a grievance identifying the contractual item violated and proposing a remedy. Most grievances are resolved at the university level, but if it is not, the union may opt for arbitration.
Arbitration is expensive and sets precedents, so the union is careful about which cases are sent to arbitration: the cases are selected by a statewide Contract Enforcement Committee, which thus gets a panoramic view of how the universities are functioning. And the apparent view is: about half the university administrations are taking advantage of the economic downturn by undermining faculty rights.
"Business is quite brisk," reported the chair of the Contract Enforcement Committee, saying that seven new grievances have been approved for arbitration since summer. Most dramatic are layoffs; for example, Florida State University has laid off about twenty faculty, and the University of Florida went after tenured faculty while planning to hire a hundred new faculty. Meanwhile, several cases are in the on-beyond-arbitration world of Unfair Labor Practice complaints, which are decided by the Public Employees Relations Commission (PERC), who are appointed by the governor.
UFF Executive Director Ed Mitchell said that all this activity was a sign of the times, and the Contract Enforcement Committee expects business to keep booming. UFF statewide President Tom Auxter theorized that a number of presidents and provosts had become enamored of the "CEO model" of university leadership and were trying to assert more authority over members of their university communities. Auxter noted that this "CEO model" has not weathered very well recently. Perhaps the successful collaboration in Tallahassee last spring in saving the universities' bacon a success we all hope will be replicated this coming spring suggests a better model for how to do things in the years to come.
THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA WALKS OUT
On September 24, several thousand students, faculty, and staff participated in an array of walkouts and rallies that spanned the ten campuses of the University of California. While the proximate efforts were to protest planned tuition hikes and furloughs, the ultimate target for many was Sacramento's gridlocked state government.
Prior to September 24, about 1,200 faculty signed an on-line expression, "In solidarity with students and staff / In defense of public education in California" (see the UC Faculty Walkout page). On September 24, participation ranged from five thousand people rallying in front of UC Berkeley's Sproul Hall to seven hundred at UCLA's Bruin Plaza to twenty at UC's brand new campus at Merced. Faculty participation varied, from carrying on as usual, to handing out syllabi and letting class out early (this was the first day of classes for many on the quarter system) to active participation, e.g., a UC Berkeley classics professor moved his class to a lawn by the picket lines and discussed civil disobedience and Plato's Crito.
It was the tuition hikes, the furlough, and the protests that got the media coverage. The University of California Associated Students (i.e., the student governments) and the University Professional and Technical Employees and ad hoc faculty groups organized the efforts.
Administration responses varied. UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau said that, "Students should be upset, and they should be expressing their opinion on the fee increases." UCLA Chancellor Gene Block hid in his office while subordinates greeted students by giving them one of Block's business cards and then slipping away.
The proximate issues were tuition hikes (tuition had just been jacked up ten percent and the regents are proposing to raise it by a third), involuntary furloughs (faculty would be asked to take furloughs on their non-instructional days which means, of course, that the work that had to be done on those days would done for free), and pay cuts and layoffs.
Part of the problem was UC's opaque finances and recurrent financial scandals especially executive pay scandals that entertained readers of The San Francisco Chronicle and provoked the legislature into having PricewaterhouseCoopers conduct what turned out to be an embarrassing audit. When the crisis hit, senior professors publicly accused the state administration of squirreling away hundreds of millions of dollars. UC system President Mark Yudof's politically tone-deaf responses he actually wrote in an op-ed piece that when some students are forced to drop out for financial reasons, classroom crowding will be alleviated didn't help matters. But when Yudof pointed his finger at the state government, he may have had a point.
A quarter century ago, a sixth of California's state budget went to higher education while 3 % went to the prisons. But as salaries of senior administrators rose at an accelerated rate, those senior administrators warned about the long-term threats posed by new constitutional restrictions on taxation and budgeting. And California's Postsecondary Education Commission proposed the word that not even Governor Ronald Reagan had dared to whisper: tuition.
Undergraduate tuition is now $ 7,788 per year (compared to USF-Tampa's $ 3,917) and Higher Education gets nine percent of the California state budget, as opposed to the prisons' ten: per student funding has fallen by a half in less than two decades. Meanwhile, one of those constitutional restrictions has paralyzed the government: it takes a two-third majority to pass a budget. While a majority of both houses of the legislature would like to raise taxes and allocate money to education, that majority is not large enough to pass the budget the majority proposes. UC administrators currently guess that the system faces a 20 % cut in state funding.
California, the pundits are saying, is ungovernable. They also say that there's no solution to this crisis. What that means is that no one knows what is going to happen. For higher education observers, one of the most interesting questions is what the Academic Senates will do. The Academic Senates had recommended against furloughs or pay cuts for employees making less than $ 40,000 a year, for having some furloughs fall on instructional days, and for full disclosure of the UC system budget. They were ignored by the President and the Regents, and when the Academic Senates stood aside wringing their hands, a substantial fraction of their faculty constituents took matters into their own hands.
UFF FILES GRIEVANCE ON CLASS SIZES
This week, the UFF-USF Chapter filed a grievance about inappropriately large classes at the University of South Florida scheduled for spring 2010. The two targets for the grievance are Gordon Rule Communications classes with caps set higher than thirty students per section, and very large mass lectures in the College of Business Administration.
"Usually the administration has broad discretion on academic administration," said Chapter president Sherman Dorn. "But in these two categories, the university is clearly going too far and is abdicating its obligation to reduce inappropriately large classes."
"Inappropriate" in two ways.
Technically, a grievance is a complaint that the university administration is violating the contract. So in this case, the Chapter contends that these mass lecture assignments violate contractual items on academic freedom, course (job) assignment, and maintenance of benefits. As a complaint on a contractual violation, this grievance affects both the victims of this particular violation - who face extraordinary burdens in the assignments that they have received - and the rest of the faculty in the unit, who would be vulnerable should this new practice spread.
But the large class size is "inappropriate" in another way. An action is not grievable simply because it is foolish - the contract does not prohibit folly - but a foolish action can damage the university. And the grievance concerns actions that could undermine the reputation and standing of USF.
According to the chapter grievance, there are more than eighty Gordon Rule writing sections with more than thirty students each. At a consultation between the administration and union in the summer, administrators confirmed that they do not keep track of how many graders and teaching assistants are assigned to each course. "We're treating the OASIS records as a rebuttable presumption that the University is violating April 2007 guidelines of the General Education Council," said Chapter Grievance Chair Mark Klisch. "If the university shows us hard documentation that there are sufficient graders for an individual section for the spring, we will be happy to remove that section from the grievance."
Meanwhile, the chapter grievance referred to the
2009 Business Week ratings of undergraduate business programs, which ranked USF's programs 101st in the country. USF was last among the ranked programs in student-faculty ratio, and the student surveys ranked USF 96th in the country for undergraduate business programs. "Why should anyone be surprised that two years after USF doubled the size of many of the business lecture classes, students and Business Week are giving the college a thumbs down?" Dorn asked. "To any administrator who wants to lard up classes with bodies and overload teaching faculty, I have one question: how do students benefit when you exploit faculty?"
MAKE OUR SCHOOLS A PRIORITY
He's called Mr. Politician, and for several months, he's been circulating the net, accepting wads of cash, cutting education funding, and blaming teachers for everything. The Florida Education Association's
Make Our Schools a Priority campaign has been sending out videos of his latest media events.
Mr. Politician is the reason why the Florida Education Association devotes a lot of time and energy to Tallahassee. That's where the state budget is put together, and that's where the laws are made. So that's where the annual Delegate Assembly often focuses its attention.
Of course, contracts are bargained and enforced throughout the state, and indeed the Delegate Assembly started by enumerating major confrontations where FEA had assisted and supported member locals one of these being the University of Florida's violation of layoff procedures but National Education Association president Dennis Van Roekel noted the immediate problem early in his address: next year, all fifty states face budget cuts. Meanwhile, 1.2 million students drop out each year. But Van Roekel was not advocating that we simply react to events; instead, he proposed that we "imagine a different future," and work towards goals of our own.
One goal mentioned frequently was fixing the revenue stream. FEA has long pushed for tax and budget reform, and there are signs of at least verbal support among Florida's movers and shakers (this being the era of global competitiveness, the business community is beginning to recognize the need for a competitive school system). What that brings in the long run depends on transforming verbal support into action in Tallahassee, but for the short run, the FEA has proposed A Penny for Florida's Future, namely an extra penny on the sales tax over three years. This would help schools recover from constricting budgetary problems immediately, while the fact that it's only for three years would help focus attention on a long-term solution to the problem.
HOW TO MAKE EDUCATION A PRIORITY?
Mr. Politician is an example of an attention-getting device for publicizing the funding issue. A more positive attention-getting device was the 2.6 million pennies FEA brought to the capital to serve as a photo opportunity for the penny sales tax. Both devices were designed to encourage the legislature to address an issue it has been ducking.
And FEA also seek the attention of individual politicians.
Psychologists increasingly remind us that positive reinforcement is more effective than negative reinforcement, and one of FEA's positive reinforcements is to publicly thank those officials and legislators who have made education a priority. At the FEA Delegate Assembly, this meant recognizing several officials and legislators for their efforts, and to offer them a few minutes on FEA's podium.
Like other professional organizations, FEA honored outstanding professionals like Florida Teacher of the Year Megan Allen, FEA Teaching Excellence awardee Joseph Underwood, and FEA Education Staff Professional of the Year Robert Moore. But FEA also recognized three Friends of Education: State Senator Dan Gelber, D-Broward & Miami/Dade; State Senator Dennis Jones, R-Pinellas; and State Senator Alex Villalobos, R-Miami/Dade. FEA also recognized a Freshman Friend of Public Education, Florida Representative Dwight Bullard, D-Miami/Dade. Each spoke for a few minutes on the importance of public education, and their determination to defend public education next spring.
In addition, Florida Chief Financial Officer and gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink addressed the Assembly. (Her campaign workers distributed signs and bumper stickers, and she has already set up
a website.) She described herself growing up in Georgia, watching cars heading towards Florida, which she said she saw as an "idea of opportunity." She described herself as a "math person", saying that mathematics is all about solving problems. But she was also a businesswoman, and said, "We cannot build a vibrant new economy without a strong educational system," and then more pointedly, "Florida needs a leader who knows and sees that it's time to begin investing" in education. FEA has endorsed Sink in the 2010 Democratic primary for governor.
Making education a priority requires drumming up public and political support. For more on the FEA Delegate Assembly, see
the meeting page.
MAKE OUR TEACHERS A PRIORITY
"Imagine the future when we make our schools a priority" may have been the official theme of the FEA Delegate Assembly in Orlando last month, but there was a counterpoint of It's Time To Face Facts. Mike Williams, President of the Florida AFL-CIO, spoke of a recent visit to Columbia, where teachers are often the spokespeople for reform and in particular for labor activism and are thus targets of violence. Williams said that rural Columbia does not have a middle class, and that those behind the violence do not want a middle class. Of the USA, Williams argued that it was public education and labor unions that made the American middle class, so with public education and labor unions under attack here, the middle class itself is under attack.
That point was emphasized by Bob Chanin, who is retiring as General Counsel to the NEA after half a century of service. His presentation was a variation of his farewell speech at the NEA national Representative Assembly, which is posted on
YouTube. At that meeting, Chanin spoke of how he started working with the NEA during a transitional period:
In the early 1960s, "NEA concluded that ... it is not unprofessional, unethical, or immoral for teachers to make a living wage, for teachers to have fringe benefits, and most important, for teachers to have a voice in determining the conditions under which they spend every day of their working lives. NEA recognized that collective bargaining was how to achieve these things, and it accepted the need to change philosophically from whatever it had been until that time, to something called a labor union, whatever that was." And the NEA was incredibly effective: during the mid-1960s, half the states gave teachers the right to collectively bargain, and teacher associations bargained thousands of contracts.
And why is the NEA and its affiliates being targeted? "I will tell you why. It is the price we pay for success. NEA and its affiliates have been singled out because they are the most effective affiliates in the United States." And NEA is such an effective organization because "we have power, and we have power because there are more than 3.2 million people who are willing to pay us hundreds of millions of dollars in dues each year because they believe that we are the unions that can most effectively represent them. The unions that can protect their rights and advance their interests as education employees."
This speech raised a stir in the blogosphere; apparently what the Cato Institute's Neal McCluskey calls a 'high-brow "professional employee organization" wouldn't talk this way. Well, perhaps it was a little blunt. But with dangerous shortages of teachers with critical skills, high turnover in faculty at schools for lower class children, and about half of all new teachers leaving the profession during their first five years, it's clear that improvements in American education depend on improving the terms and conditions of employment of American teachers.
WHERE DO DUES GO?
It is a truism that the budget of an organization is an expression of its mission and ideals. For a volunteer organization like a union, the financial budget is only half the story: its two great resources are dues moneys and volunteer labor, and the ledger lists only financial expenditures. With that caveat in mind, the union budgets can tell us something of what these organizations actually do.
Notice that it's "budgets" plural, for the United Faculty of Florida is a single "union local" of the statewide Florida Education Association (FEA), the largest union in Florida with over 140,000 members. The FEA is in turn a joint "state affiliate" of the National Education Associate (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). The NEA is independent, in fact, the largest professional organization in the United States with 3.2 million members; the AFT has nearly a million members, and is an affiliate of the AFL-CIO.
These organizations have different duties, and rely on different resources. For example, the NEA and the AFT politick in Washington, support education research and development, organize public and union campaigns, and direct resources (financial, legal, staff support, etc.) to needy state affiliates. (For example, when the FEA was besieged by Governor Bush a few years ago, it got a LOT of support from the national organizations.) At the national level, there is little volunteer labor, and as media experts, grant agency directors and K Street lobbyists can tell us, these operations are expensive. So the national organizations rely on dues moneys. In the 2009 2010 budget, we anticipate that about 29 % of dues from UFF members will be divided between the NEA and the AFT.
Meanwhile, the union locals, like UFF, bargain and handle the grievances, not to mention other organizational work. They require volunteers to do this (with staff support paid for by UFF), and over the years these volunteers develop skills comparable to those of the experts whom they face across the table. It's difficult to even begin to estimate the value of this volunteer labor, but a hint can be seen by a ceremony repeated in the FEA Delegate Assembly each year: a representative of FEA Retired (yes, you can stay in the union after retirement) presents the president of FEA with a check-shaped poster with an estimate of the market value of the labor provided by FEA retired volunteers over the previous year. This October, the "check" presented to FEA President Andy Ford was for $ 1,385,076.50.
FEA and UFF are parallel organizations: both are statewide organizations based in a building across the street from the state capitol (the better to sway the state government), but both provide services around the state. Most of FEA's union locals are teachers' associations for individual counties; most of UFF's chapters are faculty & professional associations for individual colleges and universities. So both UFF and FEA have staff (including various kinds of experts) to help out in grievances, bargaining, and other things.
The FEA will probably receive about 32 % of UFF member dues, not counting revenue sharing from the NEA and AFT. At the FEA Delegate Assembly, the 2009 2010 budget listed nearly $ 30 million in anticipated receipts including over four million dollars in revenue sharing by the NEA and AFT. Of this, nearly $ 16 million is intended for services to locals, including legal services, "member advocacy", and union organizing. Over $ 4 million went into "public policy advocacy" (i.e., talking to the people and the state government); this does not include money for political contributions, for dues money does not go towards political contributions. That leaves $ 2 million for information technology, $ 6 million for administration and governance, and the rest to round-off error.
UFF will probably receive about 39 % of UFF member dues, not counting very substantial revenue sharing from the FEA and the NEA. At the UFF Senate meeting, the $ 1.6 million budget (including $ 360,000 in revenue sharing from the FEA and the NEA) broke down to: over 70 % on staff (who handle a variety of things, from helping with bargaining and grievances to handling Tallahassee-type things), 10 % on legal expenses (counting legal advice for bargaining, but the FEA pays for support on grievances), 10 % on governance, and the rest on incidentals.
Compared to a Hollywood agent who might charge 15 % to bargain and enforce a contract the 1 % dues deduction isn't bad. In fact, suppose that one year, the union wins a 3.02 % raise rather than a 2 % raise; that means that for the rest of your career at USF, your salary will be 1 % higher than it would have been if the union hadn't won that extra 1.02 %. You could donate that 1 % (tax deductible job expense) that you wouldn't have gotten otherwise and enjoy the benefits of UFF membership on the fruits of that one higher raise. So come and join the movement: it's as easy as following the link to
JOB LIABILITY INSURANCE
Faculty and academic professionals have many responsibilities affecting the lives of many people. So it is not surprising that faculty and academic professionals are getting sued. Often the target of the lawsuit is the institution itself, but some suits do target individuals.
Sometimes the problem is the complexity of the situation. For example, as laboratories become more sophisticated and reporting and bookkeeping requirements become more complicated, the skills required to keep everything compliant increase. An institution that does not hire or train experts on the paperwork will burden researchers with red tape about which these researchers are inexpert a prescription for numerous errors and occasional violations.
This problem is not new. In 1993, the administration of Stanford University assured its Faculty Senate that should a failure of laboratory management lead to a lawsuit, the administration would defend responsible faculty "in all appropriate circumstances." And there's the rub. In laboratory management, field research (especially involving human subjects), and obtaining and maintaining external funding, if anything goes wrong, faculty can be stuck if the administration finds the circumstances inappropriate.
Inappropriate circumstances became an issue in academic publishing when Merle Weiner, an associate professor of law at the University of Oregon, published an article on "Strengthening Article 20" of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. The article was published in 2004 in the University of San Francisco Law Review. One of the people mentioned in the article objected and threatened to sue.
Although the Oregon Department of Administrative Services Policy Manual promises employees to assist if they are sued while "acting within the scope of your employment," the University of Oregon's administration declined to do so. The administration said and I am not making this up that "The Board of Higher Education does not view an academic staff person's general obligation to produce scholarly works as a specific assignment," so the university was off the hook
The Review also declined support, and Weiner was left to deal with the case herself. In the end, she agreed to purge online postings of all mention of the case. (Students of poetic justice will notice that the case, and the unhappy participant, is immortalized on the University of Oregon's student newspaper website.)
With such lawsuits joining the more familiar discrimination, harassment, and grading cases, faculty may wonder if they should spend a hundred bucks or so on insurance. The American Association of University Professors offers job liability insurance to its members, and AAUP President Cary Nelson told the Chronicle of Higher Education that "Far fewer people carry it than should carry it." While many institutions (like Oregon!) promise to defend faculty, Nelson notes that sometimes (as often is the case in grading disputes not to mention tenure battles) the administration itself is the opponent.
Fortunately, the United Faculty of Florida maintains a million dollar umbrella to protect UFF members; but this protection applies only if they were UFF members at the time the alleged action took place. Just another perk of membership in a litigious age.
WHERE DO HOLIDAYS COME FROM?
Holidays and vacations seem to fulfill human needs. Societies around the world and civilizations through history have had festivals, remembrances, celebrations, fairs, and all sorts of gatherings. People go "on holiday" in all sorts of ways, including walkabouts, pilgrimages, retreats, and tours. These range from the tame to the wild, and invariably feature enthusiasts and outraged moralists.
Some people take leave for granted. But when the Old Testament mandates sabbath days and jubilees, when feudal contracts require manorial lords to provide an annual feast for their tenants, and when European nations legislate vacation time, it's clear that the proponents of holiday leave face a perennial battle.
One can see the battle in the history of Christmas. The Puritans knew a pagan festival when they saw it, and in 1659, the Massachusetts General Court declared the celebration of Christmas to be a criminal offense. The penalty was a fine of five shillings half a week's wages to a common laborer and was applied to anyone who observed Christmas "by forbearing of labor" or celebrating. The Puritans were outraged by the "... Reveling, Dicing, Carding, Masking, ..." of a holiday marked "... by Mad Mirth, by long Eating, by hard Drinking, by lewd Gaming, ...."
But there wss also Ebenezer Scrooge's complaint to Bob Cratchit, "I pay a day's wages for no work." To Cratchit's observation that it was just once a year, Scrooge retorted, "A poor excuse for picking a man's pocket every twenty-fifth of December." Of course, when terms and conditions of employment are fixed by contracts, no good capitalist should object to a contract voluntarily entered by both parties. But since the contracts often mention "holiday" and "vacation" leave, employers feel aggrieved.
The question is, Whose time is it anyway? On the one hand, as Jean-Louis Servan-Schrieber observed, time is what life is made of. On the other, as Ben Franklin advised, time is money. Thus the debate on what time is for (and for whom). During the Nineteenth Century, the attitudes of industrialists depended on whose time was at issue. Companies experimented with vacation time for managers and later office staff and other senior salaried employees, while waging ferocious and occasionally hysterical battles against Franklin's Eight Hour Day for wage-earning employees.
The Eight Hour Day overshadowed the more civil campaign to bring holidays and vacations to ordinary people. By the mid-Nineteenth century, states were passing laws making Christmas a holiday. After World War I, workers began asking why they couldn't get vacations like their bosses, and vacations were a significant collective bargaining issue by the 1930s, once the unions had mostly won the Eight Hour Day. Vacations and holidays became more widespread during the 1940s, and they were fixtures in collective bargaining agreements by the 1950s.
So Happy Holidays to everyone during this season of many holidays. But easy on the lewd Gaming.