The United Faculty of Florida (representing the employees in the UFF USF Bargaining Unit) and the USF Administration (representing the USF Board of Trustees – which has been delegated the authority to bargain contracts by the Florida State University System Board of Governors) is now bargaining a successor to the 2016 – 2019 Collective Bargaining Agreement as modified by the 2019 – 2020 Memorandum of Understanding (which was modified in turn by a Memorandum of Understanding regarding the COVID-19 Pandemic.
The Chief Negotiator for UFF is Robert F. Welker, Associate Professor of Accounting (and a practicing attorney). The Chief Negotiator for the USF Administration is John F. Dickinson of Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophet, LLP.
The history of bargaining is below, in reverse chronological order.
Bargaining a New Contract
After UFF USF President Arthur Shapiro outlined the history of this round of bargaining at the 7 December 2021 Meeting of the USF Board of Trustees, the USF Administration asked for another session. They presented another take-it-or-leave-it package.
- In Article 1, there would be some changes in wording.
- In Article 5, some important messages could be sent to UFF by email.
- In Article 6, Title IX (sexual discrimination and harassment cases subject to federal law) would be handled exclusively by USF’s Title IX office per https://www.usf.edu/world/documents/travel/sexual-misconduct-sexual-harassment-policy.pdf.
- In Article 8, summer appointments for directed research, directed study, and independent study courses are available if necessary for a student to graduate in time – and if approved by USF Academic Affairs.
- In Article 10, evaluators for annual evaluations may take into account results of classroom observation and visitation.
- In Article 11, the Administration may have multiple evaluation files, possibly online, but employees still have access to them.
- In Article 12, a typo is corrected.
Article 13, non-tenured employees with more than 10 years of USF service are to be subject to layoff after employees with at most 10 years service within the same layoff unit. The current cutoff is 5 years.
- In Article 16, a Notice of Intent (to suspend or dismiss) or a Notice of Discipline may be sent by email during a video meeting. Currently, such notices must be sent by certified mail or delivered in person.
- In Article 17, in addition to specifying that Central Human Resources handles leaves, the initiation of the Parental Paid Leave Program (see the USF Attendance and Leave Guide for Employees) is removed from the contract, and details for when reimbursement of salary may be required (of employees who leave USF in less than a year after parental leave) are removed.
- In Article 19, the statement that employees don’t have to report outside activities when they are not on appointment (e.g. during summer for 9-month employees) on conflict of interest forms is removed, and replaced by a statement that failure to report outside activity may result in disciplinary action per Florida State Statute 1012.977.
- In Article 20, grievance documents may be delivered by email.
- In Article 23, they propose a 1.5% raise this year and 2% raise each of the next two years – if they feel that they can afford it. (Employees in the College of Nursing may receive extra compensation from their clinical revenue.) And the Administration may make additional discretionary raises from a pool of about 1% of payroll (which they typically come nowhere near exhausting).
- In Article 24, employee dependents, spouses, and domestic partners may take courses for free provided that the courses altogether add up to at most 6 hours each semester.
- In Article 27, the requirement that the Administration provide faculty with copies of their contract is removed. (Actually, UFF provides faculty with copies – and of course it is online.
- In Article 29, it says that this is to be a three-year contract (the maximum under Florida law).
- In Appendix F, there are revisions of the language concerning what is to be on the Assignment Dispute Resolution form, and the deadline for faculty to submit the form is shortened while the deadline for the supervisor to respond is lengthened.
UFF was not pleased to receive a take-it-or-leave it package, and was unhappy with the proposed change to Article 13 and the smallness of the raise proposed in Article 23. There are also concerns about the proposals for Articles 6, 10, and 19.
Meanwhile, UFF also presented some proposals, but these are individual proposals – not in a package.
- In Article 1, UFF would get advance notice of new university regulations and resolutions in addition to new rules and policies.
- In Article 5, faculty to have authority over their grading policies and the grades that they assign.
- In Section 8.4C, promotions (and promotional raises) shall be available to non-tenure-track research professors.
- In Section 8.4E1, summer appointments will be made equitably using criteria developed by faculty and chairs (and then approved by the hierarchy), and faculty shall be first in line for summer appointments.
- In Section 8.4E4b, summer appointments for directed reading, directed research, and independent study are available if necessary for a student to graduate on time, subject to the approval of Academic Affairs.
- In Article 10, faculty in a unit shall determine evaluation criteria, subject to approval by the Administration, and in evaluating student evaluations, shall use the scale 5 = Excellent, 4 = Very Good, 3 = Good, 2 = Fair, and 1 = Poor.
- In Article 14, there is a new non-tenured research professor promotion track.
- In Section 17.6, the Division of Human Resources is to handle leaves, and the time period of Family and Medical Leave is specified.
- In Section 17.7, the initiation of the Parental Paid Leave Program (see the USF Attendance and Leave Guide for Employees) is removed from the contract, and details for when reimbursement of salary may be required (of employees who leave USF in less than a year after parental leave) are removed.
- In Article 20, the section on non-binding mediation for a grievance is revised, and the possibility of using Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services is mentioned.
- In Article 24, dependents, domestic partners, or spouses may take courses tuition-free from USF, provided that the total number of credit hours is no more than six hours each semester.
- In Article 28, the contract may be rendered invalid by legislation only if that legislation concerns funding – which, in our reading of the Florida Constitution (see Article IX, Section 7(d)), is the extent of the Legislature’s authority over the State University System.
- Article 29 says that this is a one-year contract.
- In Article 31, neither side waives its right to bargain.
Once again, the Administration team did not deign to comment on the UFF proposals.
Round 3 had been postponed at the request of the Administration, and then on November 5 the Administration presented what their Chief Negotiator repeatedly asserted was a package deal.
Here are the substantive proposals for changes in the current contract (in red in the proposals) proposed by the Administration:
- Sections 6.2 and 6.4 on nondiscrimination on the basis of sex per USF Policy 0-004 on Sexual Misconduct and Harassment.
- Subsection 8.4A on changes in appointment. The current contract states that changes in the following elements of appointment may not be made without the written consent of the employee: effective date, title, class code, rank, appointment status, employment unit, end date, special conditions of employment, tenure status, access to the grievance process, that the appointment is subject to appropriate laws and regulations, percent of FTE assigned, nondiscrimination, and principal place of employment. The Administration proposes to strike the clause requiring the written consent of the employee to such changes.
- Subection 8.4E that independent study, directed reading, and directed research be available during the summer to students who need to graduate on time.
- Subsection 10.5A on criteria for the annual evaluation of teaching effectiveness. The evaluator may take into account classroom observations and visitations – on the evaluator’s own volition.
- Sections 11.1 and 11.2 on evaluation files. There is no longer to be a single evaluations file, but instead several files, which may be online, and to which the employee will be granted access.
Subection 13.2B currently states that non-tenured employees in a layoff unit with more than five years seniority will be laid off after employees with five years or less. This subsection is deleted.
- Article 16 on disciplinary action. A notice of intent (to suspend or terminate) or discipline may be sent by email during a video meeting held for the purpose of delivering the notice.
- Sections 17.6 and 17.1 on family, medical, or parental leaves. Family and medical leaves are to be handled by Central Human Resources, and an employee who goes on family leave and subsequently leaves USF after less than an academic or calendar year (depending on the assignment) must reimburse the university.
- Sections 19.3 and 19.4 on conflict of interest and outside activity. Outside activity that interferes with the employee’s job could be prohibited, and employees are subject to the reporting requirements of Florida State Statute 1012.977 on Disclosure of contracts that affect the integrity of state universities or entities; penalties.
- Section 20.9 on filing grievances. Documents may be transmitted by email.
- Article 23 on salaries. There is to be a 1% (average) merit increase this year, a 2% increase during 2022-23, and a 2% increase during 2023-24 – assuming that the Legislature comes through with the cash. In addition, the Administration may award discretionary raises up to 2% of the payroll each year. (Nurses may receive extra compensation for their clinical work.)
- Sections 24.7 and 24.12 on benefits. Employees may take up to six hours of courses tuition-free by Section 24.7; they may let domestic partners or dependents take some of these courses in their stead.
- Section 27.5 on copies of the contract. The University will not provide CDs with copies of the contract. (Incidentally, UFF has a tradition of providing hardcopy copies of the contract to all employees, and an electronic copy is online.
- Article 29 on duration: the new contract comes into force upon ratification, and continues until 2024; bargaining on a successor shall begin by 15 March 2024.
- Appendix F on assignment disputes. The current contract gives an employee 30 from the receipt of the assignment to enter a dispute and gives the supervisor four days to respond; the proposal is to give the employee 15 days and the supervisor seven days. There are also a few changes in the procedure.
And here are the substantive changes in the current contract proposed by the United Faculty of Florida:
- Section 1.1 on Appendix A (Appendix A (pages 86 and 87). The titles and job codes shall be as listed on Appendix A.
- Section 1.2 on university policies, rules, regulations, and resolutions. UFF shall have the same right of advance notice of new regulations and resolutions that it has for policies and rules.
Section 5.2 on academic freedom. Employees have the right to assign grades in their classes.
- Section 8.4C on promotion raises. Assigns raises for the promotion track proposed in Section 4.5 (see below).
- Section 8.4E1 on summer appointments. Employees get first crack at summer course assignments.
- Subection 8.4Ih on fixed multi-year appointments. Such appointments may be offered to any appropriate employee.
- Article 8.4J on continuing multi-year contracts. Effect of satisfactory or unsatisfactory ratings to an employee on a multi-year contract.
- Subsection 8.4E on summer appointments. Independent study, directed reading, and directed research over summer will be available to students who need to graduate on time.
- Section 9.6 on assignments. An employee cannot be be given a teaching assignment spanning more than eight hours each day, and the assignment cannot entail more than two preps (including at most one prep for a course the employee is teaching for the first tie), and one FTE is 12 catalog hours – but an employee teaching more than one section of a course may be assigned 90% of the FTE for each additional section. And no employee may be required to teach online.
- Article 10.1 on annual evaluations. The annual evaluation should be an evaluation of the employee’s performance during the year being evaluated.
- Section 10.2 on visiting and observing classes. Employees rated satisfactory in teaching the previous year may choose to be observed, but the employee must consent.
- Section 11.1 on evaluation file policy. There will be a single evaluation file containing information used for tenure, promotion, multi-year appointments, etc., and employees will know where it is.
- Section 13.4 on notice of layoff. Notice of layoff shall be made within timeline.
- Article 14.5 on ranks of promotion. Another promotion track: non-tenure-track Research Professor.
- Subsection 16.6 on discipline. Letters of Counsel are not disciplinary and shall involve counseling.
- Article 17.6 on family and medical leaves. FMLA leaves.
- Article 17.7 on parental leaves. An employee on sick leave who does not return to USF for at least a calendar year may be required to reimburse the university.
- Section 20.15 on mediating grievances. In a grievance, the parties may agree to non-binding mediation.
- Subection 20.8E on arbitrating a grievance. Adjustments in the arbitration process.
- Article 23 on salaries. Employees will receive a 2% bonus for last year, and a 3% raise for this year.
- Section 24.7 on free university courses. Employees already may take up to six hours of courses per semester tuition-free; the proposal is that they may give some of their hours to dependents and spouses.
- Article 24.15 on health insurance. The university will cover increases in premiums.
- Section 26.2 benefits. The Board of Governors oversees the Florida State University System.
- Article 28 on severability, which refers to protecting rest of the contract if part of it is canceled by legislation, and mandates reopening bargaining it that happens. The article is removed.
- Article 29 on the duration of the contract. The contract ends on 7 August 2022, and bargaining the next contract must start by 15 March 2022.
- Article 31 on the totality of the agreement. Neither parties waive their right to bargain during the lift of the contract, and no waivers in the contract survive the expiration of the agreement.
At the meeting, the Administration team had no comment on UFF proposals, while UFF expressed its unhappiness with some of the proposals, particularly 8.4A, 13.2B, and 23; UFF also stressed the importance of removing 28. See UFF USF Chief Negotiator’s subsequent Bargaining Report.
On August 20, the Administration presented two more proposals on:
Proposals are placed on the table in packets, labeled Proposal # 1, Proposal # 2, etc. Each packet contains many parts, each part an item of the current contract, with proposed additions underlined and
proposed deletions struck through.
UFF started presenting proposals in November 2020, and here is the first packet of UFF proposals as of July 2021:
- Article 1 on Recognition.
- Article 5 on Academic Freedom and Responsibility.
- Article 6 on Nondiscrimination.
- Section 6.1 on Statement
- Section 6.1 on Statement
- Article 8 on Appointment.
- Section 8.4 on Changes in Appointments and Supplemental Appointments.
- Subsection 8.4C on Promotion Raises.
- Subsection 8.4E on Summer Appointments Policy.
- Subsection 8.4I on Fixed Multi-Year Appointments.
- Subsubsection 8.4Ih on All other bargaining unit employees …
- Subsection 8.4J on Continuing Multi-Year Appointments.
- Section 8.4 on Changes in Appointments and Supplemental Appointments.
- Article 9 on Assignment of Responsibilities.
- Article 10 on Employee Performance Evaluation.
- Article 11 on Evaluation File.
- Section 11.2 on Policy.
- Article 13 on Layoff and Recall.
- Section 13.4 on Notice.
- Article 14 on Promotion Procedure.
- Section 4.5 no Ranks of Promotion.
- Article 16 on Disciplinary Action and Job Abandonment.
- Article 17 on Leaves.
- Article 20 on Grievance Procedure and Arbitration.
- Section 20.8 on Formal Grievance Procedure.Subsection 20.8E
- on Step 3 Arbitration.
- Section 20.15 on Mediation.
- Article 24 on Benefits.
- Article 26 on Maintenance of Benefits.
- Section 26.2 on the reorganization of higher education in the State of Florida…
- Article 28 on Severability.
- Article 31 on Totality of Agreement.
- Appendix A on Position Classifications in the Bargaining Unit.
Round 2 on August 20. On August 20, the Administration presented two more proposals on:
- Section 20.8 on Formal Grievance Procedure.Subsection 20.8E
Impact Bargaining on Teaching during the Pandemic
In response to the Delta COVID-19 surge, the UFF moved for impact bargaining to adjust the current contract to deal with teaching during the pandemic.
- On August 30, the UFF sent a second draft of a Memorandum of Understanding to the Administration.
- On August 20, the Administration responded with a their own proposal.
- On August 10, the UFF sent a draft of a Memorandum of Understanding to the Administration.
And we are still waiting, waiting, waiting…