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UFF Biweekly
United Faculty of Florida -- USF System Chapter
9 May 2019
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The Legislative Session

"No man's life, liberty or property are safe while the Legislature is in session." Gideon Tucker did persuade the New York Legislature to pass a law against cruelty to animals, but he couldn't persuade them to mandate an eight-hour day. As a legislator he saw enough of the political sausage factory to become a dissident from the Tammany Hall machine. So it goes. Last Saturday, our Legislature wrapped up its annual session - and only a day late. In this issue, we look at some highlights of what they did - and didn't - do.

  • The Legislative Session. Yes, Virginia, they passed a budget. The Legislature was grumpy, and USF got dinged a little. For details, see below or click here.
And now, for some important stuff.
  • UFF invites all faculty to a farewell social for President Judy Genshaft on Tuesday, June 18, starting at 4:30 pm, at the Top of the Palms on the third floor of the Marshall Student Center. She has been at USF longer than nearly three fourths of the employees of the UFF USF Bargaining Unit, and we have had a lot of adventures together. Come and join us.
  • Mail Problem. Like all respectable electronic newsletters, the UFF USF Biweekly has a mechanism for unsubscribing. As in all newsletters, this appears as a notice at the bottom of the newsletter; the computer maintains a "blacklist" of addresses not to send newsletters to. Unfortunately, the UFF USF Biweekly's blacklist was corrupted, and we replaced it with an old copy; as a result, some unsubscribers may receive this issue. For that, we apologize. The unsubscription function is in operation, and if you want to stop your subscription, you may do so by clicking the "unsubscribe" button the bottom of this email.
  • Amending the Constitution and Bylaws.By now, all UFF members should have received ballot packets for voting on an amendment to the constitution and three amendments to the bylaws. Here is more information on the amendments. The ballots must be received by May 31. Any UFF member who has not received a packet should contact the chapter secretary.
Help Stamp Out Hunger! The National Association of Letter Carriers' 27th Annual Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive is this Saturday, May 11. Leave non-perishable food in a bag to be picked up by your mail carrier. For more information, click the cartoon:

Chapter Meeting Tomorrow in Temple Terrace (near USF Tampa)

The USF Chapter of the United Faculty of Florida will meet tomorrow Friday at noon at CDB Restaurant at 5104 E. Fowler Ave., just east of USF Tampa. There will be pizza (and salad). On the agenda: meeting locations this summer (and a motion to change the dates of the July meetings), the Tenure and Promotion proposal for the consolidated USF, other consolidation issues. Come and check us out.

This summer, we will meet on May 10 & 24, June 7 & 21, and July 5 & 19 at noon at locations announced on the calendar on the UFF USF Website. Come and check us out.

Join UFF Today!

Download, fill in, and mail the membership form. Benefits of membership include the right to run and vote in UFF chapter and statewide elections; representation in grievances (UFF cannot represent a non-member in a grievance or litigation); special deals in insurance, travel, legal advice, and other packages provided by our affiliates; free insurance coverage for job-related liability; and the knowledge you are supporting education in Florida. Come and join the movement.


If you have been the victim of a violation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, you have thirty days from the time you knew or should have known of the violation to file a grievance. If you are, and at the time of the violation were, a dues-paying member of the United Faculty of Florida, you have the right to union representation. To contact the UFF USF Grievance Committee, go to the online contact form. For more information, see our web-page on grievances; see also the main article (left).

Visit Us on Facebook

Visit the United Faculty of Florida at USF Facebook page. This page is a place where UFF members can exchange thoughts and ideas. The page is "public", but only dues-paying UFF members are eligible to post items on the page. If you are a UFF member, ask to join on the page, or contact the Communications Committee. The Committee will invite every UFF member that asks to join. So check us out. UFF members are welcome to join, and non-members are welcome to look.

The Legislative Session

The legislative session ended late because of the budget. $ 91.1 billion. That included a 1 % increase in Education & General funding. Lottery revenues were up, tuition stable, but the House and the Senate had a spat over preeminence (!) and we don't see any mention of it in this year's budget. The House was somewhat hostile: UCF had misappropriated funds, preeminence was elitist, etc., but the House proposal to cut the universities by $ 100 million was nixed by the Senate, so there were no great changes. UFF's back of the napkin calculation is that while last year, USF system got $ 494 million, this year the system receives $ 503 million, a 1.8 % increase, assuming that the governor doesn't veto something. (Incidentally, the U.S. Department of Labor's Consumer Price Index went up 1.86 % from March 2018 to March 2019, so USF system is actually just holding steady.)

Of course, this was not evenly spread out: USF Tampa enjoyed a 0.44 % increase, USF St. Petersburg got 4.88 %, and USF Sarasota / Manatee got 18.53 %. Recalling who is making these budgetary decisions, this disparity may reflect the relative level of activity of the Hillsborough, Manatee, Pinellas, and Sarasota legislative delegations - although it may also reflect some nervousness about how consolidation is going to play out: some of the money to USF St. Petersburg and USF Sarasota / Manatee is intended for research.

What this means for "preeminence" is unclear. The USF St. Petersburg's Crow's Nest suggested that six million dollars was not enough to justify the "fuss" over the term, and reported that "university officials" say "the word 'preeminent' carries a lot of weight with professors, administrators and prospective students." It may also stir up resentment among non-preeminent institutions - and their legislative delegations. Such resentment seems to have surfaced when the Senate proposed a super-preeminence category including only FSU and UF. The House did not go for that at all, and we can see the result. The future of preeminence is unclear.

As for performance funding, each university must develop a plan for, ahem, continuous improvement and achievement of institutional and national excellence. Such plans will be condensed into a report to go to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House.

UFF had been watching House Bill 839, Representative Ray Rodrigues's legislative train. This bill included a "statistically valid survey" to measure how much faculty and students "feel free to express their beliefs and viewpoints on campus and in the classroom" - which UFF saw as an invitation for government meddling in academia. The bill also included the requirement that USF maintain "branch campus status" for USF St. Petersburg and USF Sarasota / Manatee. The bill was tabled.

It was HB 839's Senate companion bill, Senate Bill 190, that passed. No survey, no branches. Instead, with a jaundiced eye towards UCF's creative accounting, SB 190 adjusts the process for construction and maintenance funding, mandates financial oversight training for trustees and accountability measures for senor administrators, and centralizes construction desiderata to the State University System Board of Governors. It also requires that each university must carry over at least 7 % of their state operating funds into the following year. This may affect how much money is available this year.

Editorial comment about UCF. Within the university, we often distinguish between faculty, professionals (from librarians to counselors), staff, administrators, etc. Some observant members of the community (e.g. many students) may do so as well. But many people in the surrounding community see us as all being part of the university. If a senior administrator uses operating funds to build a building, that reflects on the faculty as well - especially when outraged politicians look for someone to punish (UCF got a 0.26 % cut in funding, the second highest cut after the 0.65 % cut in FAMU's funding - and what FAMU did to deserve that is unclear). If a university is a hotbed of whatever, there is a common perception that everyone, from the secretaries to the professor emeriti, are all into the whatever.

Other bills that passed:

We should mention that UFF and its affiliates do not leave legislators alone while they are working on legislation. UFF and its affiliates have offices down the street from the Capitol, and our staff (salaries paid by union dues) descend on legislators in order to educate them about the consequences of legislation. This was a hard session, and while our primary affiliate, the Florida Education Association, hoped to boost education funding, much of the energy went into fending off bad legislation, like Senate Bill 7115, which would have exempted president and provost searches from public records requirements - and thus make searches even more secretive than they already are.


Chapter Meeting tomorrow Friday, May 10, at noon, at CDB Restaurant, 5104 E. Fowler Ave., Temple Terrace.

We will have lunch at the meeting. All UFF members are invited to attend. Non-members are also invited to come and check us out. Come and join the movement.

Membership: Everyone in the UFF USF System Bargaining unit is eligible for UFF membership: to join, simply fill out and send in the membership form.

NOTE: The USF-UFF Chapter website is http://www.uff.ourusf.org, and our e-mail address is uff@ourusf.org.

About this broadcast: This Newsletter was broadcast from uff.ourusf.org, hosted at ICDsoft.com, and is intended for all members of the UFF USF Bargaining unit (USF faculty and professionals at most departments). A (usually identical) version will be broadcast to USF-News and USF-Talk from mccolm@usf.edu.

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