Visiting the Board of Trustees
On January 7, 2003, the old contract expired
without replacement: in direct defiance of the law,
the Board and the Administration had adamently
refused to even discuss a successor contract until
March 7 -- two months after the contract expired.
For nineteen and a half months, we have been
without a contract. Publicly, the Board says that
it wants a contract, and publicly, the President
says that she has no intention of using the
reorganization to strike at the union or faculty;
but in bargaining, the Administration has treated
our bargaining team to a conjuring show, with new
proposals coming and morphing and going like
creatures in Wonderland. They started by proposing
to limit severely our ability to file grievances
that go to binding arbitration. When the union made
a public issue of it, they decided it wasnít really
what they wanted to do. When we got to bargaining
salaries, the Administration publicized a misleading
description of one of their novel proposals as part
of a maneuver that tied up bargaining for weeks.
Meanwhile, the union team has pushed for a new
contract similar to the old, since the old contract
was already fairly well understood -- and because
if reorganization isn't supposed to hurt faculty or
the union, then why should it entail radical changes
to the contract?
And now we are going into our fourth semester
without a contract. It takes less time to negotiate
a peace treaty. It is time to go directly to the
Board. The Administration and its bargaining
team are the Board's agents, and the Board is
ultimately responsible for the the policies and
actions of the Administration and its bargaining
team. It is time that the Board hears first hand
our insistence on a fair contract. Now. No excuses.
The Board meets on Thursday, 11 am, for what
is billed as a four hour meeting (the
is posted at their website),
but meetings usually don't last that long. The
meeting is in the Marshall Center ballroom (on
the second floor). We ask everyone in the
bargaining unit, everyone whose contract is being
negotiated by the union's bargaining team (who
are all fellow faculty, uncompensated volunteers
working on their own time!) to come to the meeting
to show our support for our bargaining team, and
our impatience with the Board.
We recommend that you come by 10:45 to make
sure you get seats (there is usually a good audience
there, mostly administrators sitting quietly in the
august presence of the Board). There will be union
members handing out stickers at the door, so you
can identify yourself quietly as faculty. You can
bring non-obtrusive work into the room (books,
notebooks, laptops --- the ballroom has wireless
capacity). We expect to be given a few minutes so
President Weatherford can explain our position to
Of course, we will be polite, but even so, it
is an unusual step for an unusual situation. We
hope that this will inspire the Board to remember
that its responsibility to the university is more
important that than its fantasies of bringing faculty
under centralized control. We the faculty, not it
the Board, are the university, and it appears that
the Board needs to be reminded of this.
At the Board Meeting
591 days after the old BOR-UFF contract expired, the
Board of Trustees met to hear many reports, to
evaluate President Genshaft's performance, to review
many budgetary items, to look at criteria from the
long range plan and the state, and to greet two new
The union chapter had called on faculty to come
to the meeting to show their support for the union's
determination to get a contract: seventeen months
after President Genshaft recognized UFF and agreed
to bargain a contract, there still is no contract.
Fifty or more faculty showed up and donned NO EXCUSES
The meeting was scheduled for 11 am to 3 pm,
although it rarely lasts that long. Initially,
UFF was not listed on the agenda (which was curious
as UFF is usually alotted a few minutes), but after
a query, UFF was put at the end.
At the beginning, Chairman Dick Beard
acknowledged the faculty and expressed confidence
that a contract would soon appear. That was just
after 11 am. Then after many announcements and
minutae came the first major item.
President Genshaft's performance is described
in a 10-page .pdf file:
The evaluation was very positive, but mentioned
nothing about shared governance or faculty relations.
Although Trustee Rhea Law thanked the faculty
for winning grants, most of the Board tended to
regard the university's accomplishments as Genshaft's
own. Beard said "I give her the highest marks."
(The only dissent came from new Student Government
President Bijal Chhadva who complained, among
other things, about Genshaft's accessibility.)
There was a lunch break about 1 pm. This being
the last Thursday before classes, many faculty had
Then came many budgetary items.
At three o'clock, at the time the meeting was
scheduled to end, they reached the presentations.
The new Faculty Senate President, Anthropology
Professor Susan Greenbaum, spoke about her two
primary goals, faculty governance and salary
(salary was part of the long range plan in which
embarrassingly insufficient progress was made).
She also said that she was interested in
undergraduate involvement in faculty research,
and in utilizing USF facilities during the summer.
Mr. Chhadva spoke about the grading system
(+ and -), the Marshall Center (which had been
discussed already), and student finances (tuition,
fees, grants, etc.), and finally, the state funding
formula that has traditionally allocated USF
inordinately low resources.
At 3:20, 260 minutes after the meeting was
scheduled to begin, with perhaps a third of the
visiting faculty still present, Chapter President
Weatherford was asked to speak.
Professor Weatherford began by remarking that
requiring visiting faculty to wait four and a half
hours (long after most had to leave) did not show
much consideration for the faculty's time. He
thanked Beard for his hope for a contract soon,
but noted that Beard had expressed such hopes
already in months past with problematic results.
He then contrasted Genshaft's assurance that she
did not intend to use the SUS reorganization to
harm faculty or the union to the administration's
bargaining strategy, noting that the salary
initiative presented in mid-summer would have
resulted in an effective pay cut for many faculty
who normally teach summer school. He concluded
by saying that the faculty had intended to make
their point by a quiet and polite demonstration of
their determination, but that we had learned that
day that "sitting quietly and politely doesn't
Beard responded by saying (again) that he hopes for
an appropriate resolution to bargaining. Later,
he told a reporter that UFF spoke last because
... that's where they were on the agenda. For
news stories on the meeting, see the stories in:
Bargaining continues on the last five articles,
including salary. The rest of the contract has
been "tentatively agreed" on by the two chief
negotiators, but the contract will not come
into force until it is ratified.
The meeting agenda, with supporting reports, is
There is (or was) a video on-line, but unfortunately
the page handling it relies on frames, and so the URLs
tend to fail: go to the
in the center of the page it will say "Recent
Highlights," go to August 19, 2004 BOT meeting and
click there, and the video stream for the meeting is
divided into two parts (and clicking on them may
produce the video on the left of the window, or an
error message at right, in which case just try again).
(The gentle webmaster distinctly remembered that USF
had vowed to get rid of frames.) Incoming Faculty
Senate President Greenbaum's remarks start at
approximately 1:42:30 mark of the second file, and
Chapter President Weatherford's at about 1:59:20.
UFF has responded by calling on faculty to speak out.
Chapter President Roy Weatherford began with a letter
on August 30, writing, "I would now like for those
folks who saw firsthand what we are up against, and
anyone else who is not afraid to speak up, to report
your observations and opinions to the faculty...,"
and offering to post letters anonymously to those who
wrote that they were afraid to speak out (indeed, some
faculty said that they were afraid to even attend the
Board Meeting for fear of retaliation). Letters sent
out are posted at
our August 26 Board of Trustees page;
send letters by responding to this e-mail or sending
to our aol account.
September 16, 2004
Congratulations to USF Staff!
USF staff have overwhelmingly voted in favor of union
USF staff were --- and are --- represented by the
American Federation of State, County and Municipal
Employees (AFSCME), the union initially targeted by
Governor Jeb Bush in his "reorganization" of the state
university system. The USF Board and Administration
refused to recognize either AFSCME or the staff contract
as of January 7, 2003 (the same date the Board and the
Administration cut relations with UFF). But unlike UFF,
AFSCME was not voluntarily recognized later, and had to
fight through a "recertification election," i.e., a
vote by staff to determine whether they would be
represented by AFSCME.
The votes are in, and USF staff voted in favor of
representation by 696 to 120. Congratulations!! The
USF Chapter of AFSCME is celebrating Friday night
(September 17) with a Victory Party from 4 pm to 8 pm
at CDBs Restaurant on 51st & Fowler. All USF union
members, all bargaining unit members, everyone who is
union-friendly are invited to attend.
Next, bargaining a contract .......
Congratulations to USF Police!
Bargaining teams for the Police Benevolent Association
(PBA) and the USF Administration have just "tentatively
agreed" on a contract for USF police officers. The
contract will come in force once it is ratified. The
details should come out soon (the USF Administration
has posted its
The official purpose of this biweekly is to announce the
USF UFF Chapter's biweekly meetings, which occur on every
payday Friday. All union members are invited. (The
"chapter" is the USF component of the faculty union, the
United Faculty of Florida.) The meetings start at noon,
this semester in EDU 316, in the new Education Building.
In fact, these chapter meetings are where the
decisions are made. Like many unions, the membership of
the Chapter (namely, all faculty union members at USF)
are collectively the legislative body at USF. Alas,
most members don't show up, despite the free sandwhiches
and soda pop and occasional door prizes.
When the Biweekly or the Newsletter announces that,
"...the Chapter decided that...," it means that at a
Friday meeting, a motion was made, seconded, and passed:
the Chapter meetings are a serious business.
Some unions actually have much of the union
membership turn up. Of course, these are often unions
where everyone has the same work schedule. Nevertheless,
the more members who show up, the merrier (and it is
important for people from all around campus to be at the
Chapter meetings, so people from all over can contribute
their own perspectives). There are several perks,
besides lunches and the door prizes (usually new novels):
Thanks to Frances, tomorrow will be the first meeting of
the semester. Come and join the movement. And bring a
friend: we welcome faculty non-members.
- The union is a one of the leading
interdisciplinary organizations on campus.
Members, and meeting participants, range from
instructors to distinguished university
professors to soft money researchers to hard
money teachers. This is a place to make
- This is the place where reports and decisions
are made. This is where one hears the lurid
details of scandals that publications (like this
one) merely allude to, if they, ahem, have the
space to mention them at all. And this is a
place where one can be heard to good effect.
Letters from the Faculty
During the past few weeks, we have been broadcasting
letters from faculty (broadly defined) about the Aug. 19
Board of Trustees meeting (which was archived
The letters we broadcast are being posted at
our off-campus site.
Two weeks prior to the meeting, this Biweekly had
reported a lack of progress on contract negotiations,
which has now taken three times as long as the infamously
longwinded Congress of Vienna (which finally finished
carving up post-Napoleonic Europe in 1815). The problem
during the summer was an administration salary proposal
of immense complexity, including summer pay cuts. The
Biweekly had called on faculty to come to the Aug. 19
meeting to show their support for getting a contract
On August 19, the meeting started shortly after
11 am, in the Marshall Center Ballroom. This large
room on the east side of the building has two doors,
on its west side. The Board was seated on a horse-shoe
arrangement of desks, on the south-western side of
the room, facing a projector screen up against the
southern wall. Seats on the horseshoe were set in
advance: Chairman Dick Beard and President Genshaft
(and Rhea Law) were at the center of the horseshoe,
facing the screen. Other trustees sat at the two
sides of the horseshoe. Along the eastern wall were
a few rows of seats, whom Beard and Genshaft could see
if they turned sharply to their left. Then there were
many rows of seats on the northeast, almost directly
behind Beard and Genshaft, who rarely turned around.
Speakers making presentations would walk up to
the left (east) of the screen, at the end of the
east prong of the horseshoe, where there was a podium.
The result was that the speaker at the podium, unlike
the Board, could see and respond to everyone in the
room. It differed from an aristocratic or judicial
court in which the presiding officer faces the room and
everyone else; it was as if a judge or or a noble sat
in court, with his back to everyone else. Those
familiar with the use of court ritual to impress an
audience can make a good guess of what the effect of
this eccentric arrangement would be.
Indeed, several letter writers commented on the
effect of the arrangement, with the consensus being
that the Board gave a good impression of being out of
touch with reality. Of course, the major reasons
given were not based on the seating arrangements, but
on the content of the meeting: writers commented on
the self-congratulation and the lack of serious
assessment and analysis.
Incidentally, at the previous Board meeting the
gentle webmaster attended, the meeting was in a smaller
room, with the entire audience off the left side of the
horseshoe, so that audience members could look Chairman
Beard and President Genshaft in the face. The effect
was a lot less surreal (although the content was, if
anything, more surreal, but that's another story).
As mentioned in the last Biweekly, UFF is usually
granted a few minutes for a presentation. Initially,
UFF was not given any time at the Aug. 19 meeting, but
after a query, UFF was given a time slot at the end of
the meeting. Most meetings seem to last three hours,
but this one lasted four and a half (well, there was a
lunch break). Faculty arrived at eleven or so, picked
up stickers saying NO EXCUSES, and waited, and
waited, and waited, and all this time Chairman
Beard was sitting with his back to the majority of
the audience. Many faculty had to leave at lunchtime,
but a third were still there at 3:15, when UFF
Chapter President Roy Weatherford said that in making
the faculty wait for over four hours, the Board was
communicating its lack of consideration for the
He also said that the Board showed that sitting
politely did not impress the Board. A few days later,
Weatherford called on faculty to write letters and
columns to newspapers and other media outlets about
their reactions. (Letters should be about one page
long, double-spaced, with name, day and nighttime
phone numbers, and addresses. Columns should be
about 400 words long. Warning: some newspapers do
not respond to columns, not even columns including
self-addressed stamped envelopes.) Weatherford also
offered the union's own broadcasting capacity,
offering to broadcast letters sent either in reply
to the Biweekly, or to . Since prior
to the meeting some faculty had expressed an interest
in attending but also a fear of retaliation,
Weatherford said that anyone who feared retaliation
could have her/his letter broadcast sans signature.
To date, no writer has made this request.
We are continuing to broadcast letters, and we
are continuing to receive them. Letters are welcome,
for, among other things, we are continuing to
negotiate the contract.
Bargaining to the Wire
On January 7, 2003, the old Collective Bargaining
Agreement (a.k.a., the contract) between the United
Faculty of Florida and the Board of Regents expired,
on the same day that the new Board of Trustees assumed
power. Although the board had been perfectly happy to
negotiate a new contract with President Genshaft, it
had refused to negotiate one with the faculty.
Nearly 21 months later, bargaining teams for the
union and the administration are hopeful that they
will soon be presenting a contract for ratification.
From the beginning (March 21, 2003, when the
Administration agreed to recognize the union), both
sides agreed that the new contract would have
essentially the same table of contents as the old
contract. Chapter President Roy Weatherford had
predicted that the Administration would quickly agree
to language similar to that of the old contract except
for a few sticky items, like discretionary pay raises.
This prediction was not entirely correct: the
Administration did not move "quickly" and only
grudgingly agreed to such similar language and only
after wasting time with a lot of eccentric proposals.
So now we are down to a handful of sticky items, like
discretionary pay raises.
If the teams agree on these issues and present
us with a contract, it will look like the old
contracts we have had for the last three decades:
In the bargaining, the union team has been guided
by preferences expressed by the chapter (at chapter
meetings!), preferences of the executives who follow
problems (especially the chapter president --- and
the grievance chair, who is most aware of what goes
wrong on campus), and the faculty's own preferences
(remember that big bargaining survey last year?)
- The contract lasts for three years. Most of
the contract will be in place for those three
- The pay part will be renegotiated each year.
This is because:
For these two reasons, pay, and (with
restrictions) other items the teams feel need
updated are revisited annually.
- The financial situation for future years is
unclear. The union team is wary of language
like "the Administration promises to
distribute 3 % mean merit raises if it feels
that it can afford it." It would be wiser
for the union and the administration to
bargain for real as opposed to hypothetical
- The economic situation for future years is
unclear. Reputable economists have warned
of both inflation and deflation ahead, and
it would be unwise to lock ourselves into
a contract that then bites someone.
Nevertheless, it ain't over until its over, and
it is possible for the teams to fail to agree on a
contract to present for ratification. This is called
an "impasse." One problem is that no one knows what
an impasse will look like.
* Previous impasses occurred during the Board of
Regents days. Then the disputed articles were
tossed to the Legislature, which really didn't
want to deal with them: they would just hand
faculty an across-the-board raise and tell us
to go away.
* One naive reading of the law reorganizing the
State University System would have the Board
of Trustees imposing what they want (for a
year) for the disputed language, while the
legal dispute is resolved. However, the Board
has said during Board meetings that it was
involved in bargaining, which seems to give it
a conflict of interest.
We have just presented the administration with a
proposal. The ball is now in their court.
A Day at Bargaining
The gentle webmaster is not a member of the union
bargaining team, but bargaining sessions are open
to the public, so when one of the team suggested I
drop by, I figured, why not?
To set the mood, I should note that this was on
September 24, the same day the Oracle's lead headline
Two admissions officers forced out for altering
test records: A university audit report revealed that
Doug Hartnagel and Dewey Holleman deleted approximately
900 standardized test scores from student records in an
attempt to raise USF's median test scores. Both men
resigned this week after the university proposed their
Now to the two-hour bargaining session.
Whatever the publicity over summer pay -- and
grousing over course releases -- the piece de
resistance was discretionary pay raises. For months
the administration bargaining team has been saying
that administrators have to be able to make
counter-offers, awards for special achievements,
pay damages in lawsuits (!), etc. That sounds very
reasonable, said the union team, but before agreeing
on anything, we would like to know what in reality
(as opposed to theory) these discretionary pay raises
and bonuses have been going for. Say for the last
few years. The union team got a sequence of
incomplete and contradictory responses, and a request
for several hundred dollars to pay for compiling a
This was the meeting when the union team would
finally get its desired information ... for 2003.
Before the meeting the team was told that the total
discretionary raises and bonuses in 2003 (no doubt
of varying legality) totaled $ 1,933,942. The
administration team would try to find out what the
money went for.
The problem, of course, was GEMS, the new,
improved software that handles all our salaries.
Some Information Technology people spent the first
hour of the meeting presenting a description of
GEMS, whose compilation processes consist of a
huge list of preset commands available only to
users with a variety of clearances. There is a
separate help system. And it seems that GEMS lacks
or doesn't allow ready access to a field where
a user could type in a rationale for a raise.
Instead,there were a few categories of ACTION REASONS
for listing raises.
Then the team could get down to the breakdown
of the $ 1,933,942. The biggest was Base Merit,
$ 1,060,343.82, which itself breaks down to
$ 952,593 for the Presidential Excellence Awards,
and $ 102,750 for Special Achievement. The
industrious reader is invited to carry out the
computation $ 102,750 + $ 952,593 = $ 1,060,343.82.
Then there were other categories (market equity,
base-other, retention, market adjustment, performance,
and lump bonus). Yes, Virginia, base raises
(recurring funding) and bonuses (non-recurring
funding) were all mixed together.
But it was the smaller items that raised
eyebrows. It seems that normal discretionary raises
(and bonuses!) are
Faculty Out Of Cycle Compensations,
which are handed out by the "requesting unit" for
"increased responsibilities," "pre-emptive offers,"
"counter-offers," and "pay for performance." (Why
the first and last items cannot be handled by the
usual in-cycle compensation system was unclear.)
As the union team had wanted to know where these
raises and bonuses were going, the administration
team had to call up the "requesting units" and
ask (the reasons for the raises and bonuses last
year were not on file in the Provost's office, nor
available via GEMS). We got stories of heroic
work: designing several new courses (including
distance-learning courses), assisting the Chair with
substantial administrative duties, doing other extra
duties. All these compensations were arranged by
heads of "units" using the on-line forms available
via the Provost's office. Asked if all the heads
of "units" were aware of this system, the union
team was told that this was the primary topic of
an extensive meeting of the deans.
Then the union team asked to caucus: when a
team caucuses it meets in private. The union team
then discussed the situation, and a proposal, as
modified by the information given.
The teams met again. (The public once more
invited.) The union team presented its proposal.
Again, the union's Chief Negotiator has years of
experience negotiating, and is concerned that if
the union broadcasts union proposals that will
restrict the union team's ability to, ahem, play
poker. Anyway, the proposal was a bit complex
(the two sides have been inching towards somewhere
in the middle), and the administration team had a
number of questions. Reactions were mixed, and
the administration team wants to think about it.
Our team has given them a proposal that gives
them what they need in discretionary raises and
bonuses. At the moment, the union team has no
comment about administration bookkeeping, but we
certainly hope that the administration will be meeting
contemporary standards of accounting by next year. On
other issues, our proposal is not out of line, and
in many ways consistent with what other universities
An Open Letter to the Bargaining Unit from Chapter
President Roy Weatheford
The administration is accelerating its practice of bargaining by news release and trying to end the crisis of its own creation by convincing the faculty that everything would be fine if only the evil union leaders would stop trying to feather their own nests and let the generous administration paternalistically take care of the faculty.
Several people whom I respect have suggested that everyone would feel better if the union would present a similarly detailed description of the state of bargaining. Let me first reiterate some of the fundamentals of our position:
Bedrock principle number one: Everyone must obey the law.
Bedrock principle number two: The union must be democratic.
Empirical fact of long standing: The union membership who pay dues and have the right to vote on what the union presents at the table have repeatedly voted to increase across the board raises and to tie performance-based raises to procedures and criteria developed and implemented with real faculty involvement. Discretionary raises are extremely unpopular with both union members and non-members in the bargaining unit, as indicated by polls and surveys.
New empirical fact: The Public Employees Relation Commission has supported an Unfair Labor Practice charge filed by UFF by ruling that public employers may not take to impasse any bargaining proposal that would require the union to waive its right to negotiate salaries Ė i.e., discretionary raises now cannot be imposed but must be the result of legitimate bargaining.
UFF Policy Decision: It is bad for the process to bargain through the press.
Keeping in mind these fundamentals, we are in the following position:
The administration has done just what we predicted a year and a half ago. They tried to break the union, then they tried to break the contract, then they agreed to reinstate most of the contract (including hot-button items such as tenure and academic freedom) and tried to cherry-pick a few items that they had been able to get into or out of the continuing contract, including in particular the grievance and arbitration process, the generous summer salary article, and the union rights and privileges that enable us to represent the faculty more efficiently. When we fought back they abandoned the attack on grievances several months ago and now seem to be abandoning their devious attempt to cut summer salaries by taking the article out of the contract and using the money that would be saved to give us the mythical 12% raise funded by our own salary cuts.
Four of the remaining issues are unlimited discretionary salary increases, the formula for distributing the raise money available, faculty governance, and released time for union activity.
In the past UFF has sought to increase across the-board-raises so that all employees at least keep up with the cost of living. Similarly, we have tried to address the problem of salary compression and inversion generated by our painful combination of a national job market and state-based funding for salary increases. We are one of the few unions that also voluntarily negotiated merit pay increases, because our members do think that some financial reward for excellence is appropriate in our profession. We have even Ė uniquely among unions, so far as I know Ė agreed that it is reasonable for management to have a small flexible fund for discretionary increases to meet needs that have somehow not been met by the other two types. But when our salaries ceased to be a line item in the appropriations act, management began to shift more and more money into the "small" discretionary fund and less and less into the other types of raises. Last year some two million dollars was given to various individuals with no faculty involvement in the process. Next year, they are trying to put even more into discretion and less into the other types of raises. We are insisting that there be limits on discretionary raises Ė else that will become the only kind of raises there are. They are insisting they be unlimited.
This is the one I really prefer not to argue about in public. There is an almost irresistible human impulse to evaluate the virtue of a specific proposal by calculating how much it will generate for ourselves. Then if either side changes a position, some individuals feel betrayed and others acquire a new stake in the new position. Then if that changes, they are infuriated. The essence of bargaining is that both sides MUST change in order for a resolution to occur, and the more we have hardened our positions in public the harder it is for either side to change. I believe in acting out of principle rather than specific self-interest. I believed that universities primarily need to have high compensation for senior faculty back when I was a shave-tail assistant professor and I continue to believe it now when it would benefit me. I believed that faculty who write books should have differential rewards back when I had time to write books and I continue to believe it now that I donít. But I have to ask the team specifically not to tell me what a proposal would do for "someone in my position" in order to hold down that strong human drive to self-interest. Trying to find an equitable balance between the desiderata of faculty and the (often ideologically imposed) needs of the administration is seldom easy Ė trying to do so in a sea of conflicting self-interests is virtually impossible.
UFF has proposed that the contract legally guarantee our right to be involved in the governance of the university. As of now, our only such rights are the union rights guaranteed by law and our right to have the faculty senate president be an ex officio member of the Board of Trustees. The Senate itself exists on the sufferance of the administration and has only such powers as the administration is willing to delegate. The same is true with governance committees and boards. UFF has proposed to make such governance rights legally guaranteed. The administration has not responded.
President Genshaft has been opposed to release time for union work ever since she arrived at USF. Back when she was still talking to us she said that in the SUNY system the union paid for faculty releases. We pointed out that in New York they donít have a right-to-work law and everyone pays very hefty union dues. Here in Florida, we have to count on volunteer dues payers and volunteer union workers. If they donít have the time to do the bargaining, grievance, communication, and governance work that needs to be done, the faculty will have less effective representation. The Board of Regents recognized that long ago when we negotiated the release time guarantee at the state level, and the system has worked well for two decades. Now that bargaining has devolved to the university level, the workload for our chapter has seriously increased, as we now must do all the bargaining and the arbitration work right here that used to be done at the state level by people with state-wide released time. The administration has responded to our increased work load by unilaterally eliminating all release time at USF for the last year and a half, and now proposes that in future years we should have less than half what we had before our workload doubled. They hope you will see our resistance as the self-interested greed of unprincipled union hooligans who are keeping you from getting the raise you deserve.
President Genshaft told the Faculty Senate about a year and a half ago that she did not intend to use the reorganization process to harm the faculty or the faculty union. So far as I can tell, that was just not true. From the beginning we said "just give us our contract back and letís start bargaining from what we had already achieved." From the beginning they said "No."
Why do you suppose they said "No"?
USF Chapter President, UFF
Early in the Cold War, when the two sides would make a
spy exchange by Checkpoint Charlie (in Berlin), the two
teams (each with prisoner) would go into a kind of
shuffle. One team would shuffle forward a little bit.
The other team would shuffle forward a little bit.
They would repeat a few times until they were a few
feet from each other. Then ... carefully but quickly
... they would exchange prisoners and then carefully
retreat. Many years later, after they learned about
each other, they could walk more normally.
This shuffle, shuffle, shuffle comes up a lot in
bargaining. Take a look at the bargaining positions
on four (out of umpteen) issues, as of a few days ago,
the Administration's point of view.
These positions are the results of months of shuffling;
if you compare them with what the administration was
offering earlier (see, e.g., the union's reaction to
the Administration's first broadcast),
you can see how far the Administration has shuffled
since June. Not that the union hasn't shuffled as
Hopefully, in future negotiations we will be
able to walk more normally.
At the moment, the bird is not quite in hand.
The way bargaining works is that the two bargaining
teams work out the language of each article of the
contract; when both sides agree to an article the
two chief negotiators initial it, "tentatively
agreeing" (TA'ing) it. The last seven articles
(which contain the four issues mentioned in the
University Relations broadcast) have not been TA'd
yet. At the moment, the two teams have agreed on
four of the issues within those articles, and they
are now working on the language. Once these last
seven articles are TA'd, the proposed contract will
be ready for ratification.
One thing about all this delay: one other
thing the two teams agreed on is to follow standard
practice and have pay raises be retroactive to
It Could be Worse
Twenty-one (and a half) months after the old contract
expired, of the ten universities in the State
University System, only Florida Atlantic University has
a contract. USF is one of the places that is getting
close -- there is a very good chance we will soon get a
contract -- and because of this we are being watched by
bargaining teams on both sides at other universities.
This is all very edifying, but what about places
where things are really, really wrong? This is not
mere schadenfreude (these are our colleagues!) but
another way of understanding what is going on. After,
doctors study sick people to understand illness.
The sickest is, of course, the University of
Florida at Gainesville. UF's faculty are unhappy with
the administration, as indicated in a new survey by
International Survey Research (slogan: "the standard
of the world"): the Gainesville Sun paraphrased ISR
executive director Adam Zuckerman as saying that the
results show attitudes so unfavorable toward the
administration before the arrival of President Bernie
Machen that UF could be likened to a company in crisis
undergoing a takeover, massive regulatory changes or
changes in leadership. Said UF President Bernie Machen,
"What's most disturbing is the lack of credibility the
faculty has in the central administration." It is
also disturbing that Machen was taken by surprise, for
faculty are upset over the UF Board's illegal refusal
to even work towards schedule a certification election
for the faculty union -- an election that would be
unnecessary if the Board obeyed the law and recognized
the United Faculty of Florida and the terms and
conditions of the 2001 - 2003 contract. The ISR slide
presentation is a
44-page .pdf document.
Perhaps more telling is a recent tempest at one
of the four universities that did recognize UFF but at
which virtually no progress in bargaining has occurred.
Florida Gulf Coast University was from the beginning
an ideological experiment in tenure-free universities
(all new faculty are hired on various kinds of
renewable contracts). The ideology became visible when
the University's new First Year Reading Project invited
Utah environmentalist Terry Tempest Williams to talk
about her book, "The Open Space of Democracy." FGCU
President William Merwin told his Board that the book
criticized President Bush, and that "I in good
conscience cannot permit an unbalanced political
commentary ... on a public campus," and blocked Ms.
Williams's presentation. The Board voted, eleven Jeb
Bush appointees and one Student Government President
versus one Faculty Senate president, to support Merwin's
decision. This is but one of several politically
motivated cancellations of college lectures across the
country in the last few weeks.
It is possible that these phenomena are related.
When the State University System was reorganized at
Governor Jeb Bush's command, some of his allies
announced that the reorganization would allow them to
more readily intervene in campus decision-making
processes. The rationale was often that pointy-headed
leftist professors had to be contained somehow. It is
possible that the Boards (largely consisting of Bush
appointees) are feeling the pressure from the
So for example, if the Governor does not want
new contracts to be too much like the old one, then
there would be pressure to have administration
bargaining teams present radically new language. We
do not know the ultimate source for the Administration
strategy, we can only observe that we see similar
strategies across the state, conducted by negotiators
ultimately responsible to boards that are beholden to
Academic Learning Compacts
You may have noticed a sequence of plaintive memos
from your chair's office about Academic Learning
Compacts ("ALCs"), and how they are likely to
consume a lot of time this fall.
Basically, Board of Governor Steve Uhlfelder, a
lawyer with standardized test firms among his
clientele, has been pushing standardized testing for
college students. ALCs were proposed as a compromise.
All departments are supposed to compose a set of
additional standards for graduation (above the major
and baccaleaureate requirements) and sent them to the
Board of Governors for modification and approval.
Once approved, the Governors would require that
universities meet the criteria set by the compacts,
or have the budgets cut by perhaps millions of
The BOG is being very coy about what an
acceptable compact looks like, and the department
chairs, not being clairvoyant, are trying to come up
with ... something. When Provost Renu Khator spoke
at the September 22 Faculty Senate meeting, she
strongly urged faculty to study these ALCs carefully,
and express their concerns to the Board of Governors.
(The problem is that the Board of Governors might
impose something completely unworkable, or very
labor-intensive -- but without the resources
required.) Both President Genshaft and Provost
Khator said that the senior administration does not
have a guaranteed place to speak on the issue at
Board of Governor meetings (!), and noted that the
Senate did, via the Board seat held by jointly by the
Faculty Senates of the state universities. The
Senate then moved to have Faculty Senate President
Susan Greenbaum express the Senate's concern about
ALCs ... at the October 21 meeting of the Board of
Governors in the Sudakoff Conference Center, New
College, Sarasota, which according to the current
schedule (which changes) runs from 10:30 am to 4 pm.
The public is invited.
There is also a meeting of the Performance and
Accountability Committee, chaired by Mr. Steve
Uhlfelder, starting at 8 am; for some of this
committee's work, see
the 17-page .pdf document.
This could well be a union issue. After all,
if ALCs involve requiring faculty to fulfil goals
of ALCs as part of their jobs, then certainly it is
an employment issue. In addition, if these ALCs are
to be used as standardized tests were to be used at
SUNY --- to impose state requirements on what is
taught --- there are very definite academic freedom
issues involved. Finally, the Board of Governors
and the Administrations, which should be using their
time and energy to extract additional resources from
the state, are being distracted by a weird and
nebulous bit of bureaucracy: in setting this
priority, the Board is undermining the welfare of the
university system they are supposed to uphold, for
the sake of political interests that have publicly
stated their hostility to public education. This
may well be a union issue.
USF and UFF sign tentative agreement
TAMPA, Fla. (Oct. 28, 2004) - The University of South Florida and the United Faculty of Florida have signed a tentative agreement providing for a 5% salary increase pool for faculty this year, the largest pool in recent memory.
"I've always said I wanted to reward high performing faculty and I feel we've accomplished this with this contract," said USF President Judy Genshaft.
In its goal of becoming one of the top 50 public research universities in five years its important to provide an environment that supports faculty in their pursuit of research, teaching and service, the president added.
"The union is pleased that the contract guarantees academic freedom, retains summer compensation and restores the legal enforceability of our rights," said UFF President Roy Weatherford. "These issues are important in maintaining the kind of environment essential to a good university."
USF will establish a pool of funds equal to five percent of the payroll of eligible employees in the bargaining unit. The pool will be distributed at the department or unit level to employees on a merit basis with a 2% guaranteed minimum for satisfactory performers.
The university and the union agreed to maintain the summer compensation formula as it has been. That formula provides for compensation for summer teaching at the same rate of compensation as for the same or equivalent course taught during the regular academic year.
The university and the union agreed USF will have the authority to provide additional salary increase to individual faculty for situations including promotions, verified counteroffers, increased duties and responsibilities, extra compensation, special achievements and market equity, including compression and inversion.
USF will grant release time for 15 courses per year, plus an additional 3 courses during the semester that a new contract is negotiated. Release time is granted for the purpose of carrying out the UFF's obligations in representing employees and administering the agreement. One unit of release times equals one class.
Other aspects of the contract include:
A $1,000 bonus, which USF will distribute to eligible employees in a one-time, lump sum, less taxes, as appropriated by the 2004 Legislature. Eligible employees are those who were continuously appointed from July 1, 2004 through December 1, 2004 and whose most recent performance evaluation is at least satisfactory.
Sexual orientation is included for the first time in the nondiscrimination provision of the contract.
A revised grievance process, which provides for an informal resolution period.
2/3 pay sabbaticals have been added.
Once the contract is ratified by the in-unit faculty it will then go to the Board of Trustees for final approval. Salary increases will be implemented after ratification but are retroactive to August 7, 2004.
It may be that, as the political columnist Art Hoppe
once wrote, that we vote against the candidates of our
choice. This may explain why many of us concentrate
on high-profile races that generate a lot of strong
feelings, and perhaps overlook races that look less
So while we strongly encourage everyone to vote
on these high-profile races, here is a reminder of
the importance of other races. The Florida Senate
and House members have a profound effect on the
university system, as well as other major aspects of
our lives. And we, as citizens living in this area,
and being part of the university community, are
profoundly affected by the policies and actions of
mayors, city councilors, county commissioners,
miscellaneous officials, and (it is hard to imagine a
more critical position of trust) judges.
These are important offices, and we encourage
everyone to look over the candidates very carefully,
and to vote in those races. Democracy is a serious
business. Let's take it seriously next Tuesday.
November 3, 2004 Extra
Last week, the UFF and Administration Bargaining Teams
tentatively agreed on a Collective Bargaining Agreement
-- a contract -- for 2004 to 2007. This contract will
come into force as soon as it is ratified by both the
faculty in the bargaining unit, and by the Board of
Trustees. The Board wants the faculty to go first.
Very well. We are now mailing ballots via campus
mail to all members of the bargaining unit. The bargaining
unit not only includes all permanent faculty at
Architecture, Arts & Science, Business, Education,
Engineering, Nursing, Marine Science, Public Health, and
Visual Arts (excluding most of the chairs), but also many
university professionals including non-medical librarians,
counselors, technicians, and many others.
If you are in the bargaining unit, you should
receive a ballot within days. If you do not,
IMPORTANT: Your Contract Ratification Materials will
come in a 9" x 12" Manila envelope with your name and
campus address on it. Your ballot package will contain:
- A description of major changes from the previous
contract. Both the old 2001-2003 and proposed
2004-2007 contracts are just over 100 pages, so
this will only cover highlights. Both these
contracts, and this description of major changes,
are on-line at the
UFF on-campus site
This description is on white paper.
- Instructions for mailing the ballot, on yellow
- The ballot, on blue paper.
- A small, unmarked envelope for you to put your
ballot in, and preserve your privacy.
- A larger envelope with the campus address NEC116
- Mark YES in favor of ratification or NO against
ratification on the ballot.
- Put the ballot inside the small ballot envelope,
then seal but do not mark the small ballot
- Put the ballot envelope in the mailing envelope
and seal it.
- Sign your name across the sealed flap of the
mailing envelope, and print your name clearly
(with your return address) on the upper left hand
corner of the front side of the envelope.
- Then mail it in.
IMPORTANT: Your ballot must be received by Thursday noon,
November 18, to be counted.
IMPORTANT: The union believes that a large turnout will
show the Administration and the Board how serious we
faculty are at USF.
The union also believes that this contract, while
necessarily a compromise, is a good contract. It is also
a good place to begin the next contract for 2007-2010. We
strongly recommend voting FOR ratification.
Finally, we were fortunate to have, on our faculty and on
the chapter's Executive Council, a lawyer and experienced
negotiator willing to put in the time and effort to protect
faculty interests at USF -- on his own time. We thank
Professor Bob Welker for his efforts, and we also thank the
team of volunteer faculty that supported and assisted him:
Susan Greenbaum (who resigned when she was elected President
of the Faculty Senate), Mark Klisch, Kathleen de la Pena
McCook, Steve Permuth, Art Shapiro, and Keith White.
Oh, and Professor Welker would like university professionals
in the bargaining unit to observe that the raises for
university professionals outside the unit are, on average,
less than half that of those in the unit: the higher raise
the UFF Bargaining Team won would pay union dues three times
over -- for life. Maybe union membership is a bargain after
By now, everyone in the Bargaining Unit should have
received ballot materials to vote on whether to ratify
the 2004 - 2007 Collective Bargaining Agreement (i.e.,
the contract) negotiated by UFF and the USF
Administration. This contract will come into force as
soon as it is ratified by both the faculty in the
bargaining unit, and by the Board of Trustees. The
Board wanted the faculty to go first, so we are holding
a referendum by (campus) mail ballot.
If you are in the bargaining unit, you should have
received ballot materials by now. If you have not
received them yet, contact
Mark Klisch immediately so you can get your
ballot sent in as soon as possible. BALLOTS MUST BE
RECEIVED AT NEC116 BY THURSDAY NOON, NOVEMBER 18, in
order to be counted.
The USF Chapter of UFF is strongly recommending that
faculty vote IN FAVOR of ratification. This contract
is mostly the 2001 - 2003 contract with some variations.
For example, for the first time, salary raises are
actual commitments, and are computed by a formula in
the contract, with discretionary components clearly
labelled: this makes it easier for faculty to verify
that they are receiving the correct raise. (The raises
are larger, too.) For more on the new contract, go to
our on-campus website,
The union believes that a large turnout will show the
Administration and the Board how serious we faculty are
at USF, so please make sure to vote.
- The proposed new contract itself,
- The old contract, to make comparisons,
- A brief description of the significant differences,
which was included in the ratification packet,
- The latest issue of Uncommon Sense, the USF UFF
Chapter newsletter (which everyone in the bargaining
unit should also have received by now; if you did
contact us, and
- The November 3 USF UFF Biweekly Extra announcing
the ratification election.
We are already getting kudos. UFF (statewide)
President Tom Auxter (a philosophy professor at
Gainesville) wrote us:
Once the Contract is Ratified...
If all goes well, the contract could be ratified by
Thanksgiving. But then, as it always does, Monday
comes, and we find that we have work to do.
It has been nearly two years since "normalcy"
ended on January 7, 2003, when the Board of Governors
in Tallahassee, and all the Boards of Trustees,
unilaterally decided to abrogate the contract. While
much of that fight is over at USF (but not entirely:
the legal question over the "continuity" between this
new contract and the previous one continues), we are
now reminded that keeping a contract alive requires
eternal vigilance. And for that, the union needs
A contract does not enforce itself: the only
way to make sure that the Administration follows the
terms and conditions of the contract is to make it
clear that we are watching for violations -- and
by acting when the contract is violated.
For the contract will be violated. This sounds
shocking, but it is actually part of life. In fact,
it is so much a part of life that the contract has
a whole article on dealing with violations: this is
the grievance process. A "grievance" is a formal
complaint that the Administration has violated the
contract. Members of the bargaining unit who feel
that they have been victims of contract violations
may file grievances, and the union will assist in
the grievance process, and getting redress.
There are three points to remember here: since
the contractual grievance process was shut down
nearly two years ago, we should remind ourselves
of some basics.
First, a grievance is a complaint that the
contract has been violated. It is not an assertion
that the Administration has been unfair. To file
a grievance, one must first have the specific
contractual clause at issue.
Second, a grievance must be filed within 30
days of the time the grievant knew or should have
known about the contract violation. The grievance
process itself allows for informal and amicable
resolution of problems, so one can file a grievance
and still deal with the situation quietly. But if
one doesn't file the paperwork within thirty days,
it's all over and can't be fixed.
This second point is very important right now.
One thing that will be done soon after the contract
is ratified is: all the salary raises will be
computed and handed out. The formula for computing
raises is in the contract, as is the procedure for
handing out discretionary raises. If you do not
get the correct raise, you have thirty days to
fix it; the clock starts ticking the moment you
get the letter announcing what your raise is. So
just as your students check the arithmetic in
computing their test grades, you should check the
arithmetic in computing your raise.
And now we, the Chapter, say ... ummm. It's
been nearly two years since we handled any formal
grievances, and we do assist faculty members (even
non-union members, although we do radiate such
people with guilt rays). Right now we have one
experienced Grievance Chair (who is familiar with
the new contract, having served on the UFF
Bargaining Team), but he will need help.
So everyone out there who is interested in
helping fellow faculty members in jams, please
consider becoming a grievance advisor. There is
some time and training involved, but you get to
help faculty as seeing some of the very human
parts of running a university. Contact the
Grievance Chair, Dr. Mark Klisch.
If you don't feel up to grievances, but would
still like to contribute, we do need volunteers
to help build lines of communication, to bring
faculty concerns to the union's executive
committee, and to be available for faculty who
have questions. If you are interested, please
Membership Chair, Professor Sherman Dorn.
If the contract is to be a living document,
then we, the living, will have to give it life.
November 19, 2004
The USF Chapter of the United Faculty of Florida has
just sent out the following press release:
USF Faculty Union Ratifies Contract Overwhelmingly
Tampa, Fla. -- The United Faculty of Florida (UFF) Chapter at the University of South Florida (USF) announced today that members of the General Faculty Bargaining Unit at USF have overwhelmingly ratified the proposed collective bargaining agreement negotiated between UFF and the USF administration.
Union president Roy Weatherford said, "This is the largest absolute vote on ratification we have ever had at USF. Faculty normally donít bother to vote unless they either are worried about the substance of the contract or they want to make a political statement for or against the union. This extremely strong vote indicates that faculty are very supportive of their union and the contract."
The official vote count was 663 in favor and 12 against, or 98.2 % in favor and 1.8 % against. In addition, 89 ballots were irregular and were not included in the official tally, but their votes were separately tabulated as 88 for and 1 against or 98.9 % in favor and 1.1 % against.
"Of all plausibly expressed opinions," Dr. Weatherford said, "751 supported the proposed contract and 13 opposed it. This 98.3 % to 1.7 % favorable ratio on a very large turnout is an overwhelming endorsement of the union position."
The contract goes into force when the Board of Trustees ratifies it. Raises will be retroactive to August 7. The master contract remains in force for two more academic years, with salary issues and selected articles renegotiated each year.
The Contract to be Ratified
We should remember that one of Governor Bush's goals was
to prevent this from happening. Both he and the Legislature
went to a lot of trouble to prevent us from getting a
This may sound odd because the university is still
having us sign, at roughly random times of the year,
official-looking documents with signatures of lots of
administrators on them, called contracts. But the very
fact that the administration doesn't worry about getting
them signed in a timely fashion shows that they are a
formality. THE contract containing all our hard-won
rights is the Collective Bargaining Agreement; that was
the agreement that faculty voted for by better than 98 %
to 2 %.
It is not officially ratified yet, but that's just
because the Board doesn't want to spoil its Thanksgiving.
The colleges and departments are already working on the
details of implementation. So perhaps this is a good
time to say thank you to those who made this possible.
First of all, thanks to the 1000+ faculty members who
signed those Collective Bargaining Authorization cards
last Summer, 2002. Yes, they were never legally used to
force a certification election, but they persuaded the
administration to "recognize" us voluntarily, and the
fact that so many faculty signed was enough to impress
upon the Administration that we are serious about our
rights. Like dark matter, they created a gravitational
force that worked for faculty interests.
But we needed help reaching out to faculty, handling
the immense legal costs, and the paperwork. That is one
thing a state or national union is for: to help a local
in trouble. And so we thank our affiliates, the Florida
Education Association, the American Federation of
Teachers, and the National Education Association, for
their expertise and financial assistance.
Meanwhile, back at home, we thank our colleagues at
the Faculty Senate. The contract supersedes the New
(personnel) Rules promulgated by the Board of Trustees
in late 2002, but it was the Senate that fought that
first round and, on some issues (like academic freedom
and gender orientation non-discrimination) laid
foundations for the union Bargaining Team's later
We thank our Bargaining Team, Susan Greenbaum
(who left to become President of the Faculty Senate),
Mark Klisch, Kathleen de la Pena McCook, Steve Permuth,
Art Shapiro, Keith White, and our Chief Negotiator Bob
Welker for a job well done.
And finally, we thank the 764 faculty members who
took the time to vote. Thank you all, and have a Happy
Thanksgiving, complete with pumpkin pie.
Right now, chairs across campus are receiving packets
from the Administration describing how salary bonuses
and raises are being handled. The methodology is
outlined in the contract (which is
on-line; see Article 23),
and described in detail on various
working documents which are now being distilled for
use. At least one college is developing spreadsheets
to handle the computations centrally.
We don't present the entire algorithm here (whew!).
Of course this was a compromise: it looks it, after
all. Here is an outline of how it works.
But first, a few words about evaluations, since
this formula is evaluation driven.
Each year each faculty member is evaluated, and
the evaluation produces a single number between 0.00
and 5.00: "satisfactory" is 3.00 or above. Here is
how faculty with teaching, research, and service
assignments compute their annual evaluations. You have
percentages of your time (your time is measured in Full
Time Equivalent, or FTE) devoted to teaching, research,
and service: call them Pt, Pr, and Ps. You get an
evaluation number (between 0.00 and 5.00) for each of
teaching, research, and service: call them Et, Er, and
Es. Your annual evaluation is:
(Pt % of Et) + (Pr % of Er) + (Ps % of Es).
For example, if your teaching, research, and service
assignments were 60 %, 30 %, and 10 %, respectively,
and your evaluations were 5.00, 4.00, and 2.00,
respectively, then your annual evaluation was
(60 % of 5.00) + (30 % of 4.00) + (10 % of 2.00)
= 3.00 + 1.20 + 0.20 = 4.40.
Note that 90 % of the FTE was satisfactory or above:
some of the contract language deals with having at least
a percentage of the FTE at or above satisfactory.
Anyway, let's call your 2003 evaluation EV2003
(this was the evaluation reported to you last spring).
Now, what do we do with these numbers?
First, the Legislature has decreed that we get
bonuses: each faculty member who was continuously
employed since July 1, and who was rated "satisfactory"
or above on most of their FTE last year, gets a $ 1000
bonus. We interpret this to include faculty who were
employed during the 2003-2004 academic year who took
Next comes raises, which are complicated, so here
is just an outline. The mean 5 % raise consists of 4 %
merit and 1 % discretion. First, if you got at least a
"satisfactory" on most of your 2003 assigned duties,
you get at least a 2 % raise. If your EV2003 score is
less than 3.50, that is all you will get unless you
also get a discretionary raise. So let's look at the
region in between.
To compute your raise, multiply your 2003
evaluation EV2003 with a "multiplier" as follows:
Call this product of EV2003 times multiplier your SCORE.
- If your EV2003 is between 4.75 and 5.0, multiply
EV2003 by 1.2.
- If your EV2003 is between 4.5 and 4.75, multiply
EV2003 by 1.1.
- If your EV2003 is between 4.0 and 4.5, multiply
EV2003 by 1.
- If your EV2003 is between 3.5 and 4.0, multiply
EV2003 by 0.8.
- If your EV2003 is below 3.5, multiply EV2003 by 0.
Then get three numbers from your department. These
will have to be the "adjusted" numbers, since the entire
computation is carried out several times, the last time
after removing some faculty from the computation
described below. So ask for the adjusted numbers used
in the last computation:
Then here we go. The pot is divided in three parts:
- SUM, the sum of the remaining SCORE scores of
faculty in the department.
- DISCRETE, equal to 1 % of the total base salaries
of employees in the department or unit, before
- TOTAL, the pot for merit raises, equal to 4 % of
the total base salaries of employees in the
department or unit, minus commitments made after
The sum of these three raises is your raise.
- DISCRETE is divided up at the chair's discretion.
This is your discretionary raise. It is capped:
you cannot get a discretionary raise greater than
5 % of your current base + merit raise.
- 1/2 TOTAL goes into a merit raise: compute
(SCORE / SUM) times (1/2 of TOTAL) to get your first
- 1/2 TOTAL goes into a second merit raise: if
SALARY is your base salary, compute
[(SALARY/TOTAL) + (SCORE/SUM)]/2
times (1/2 of TOTAL)
to get your second merit raise.
One last thing: what is this carrying repeated
computation business? The computation is carried out as
above, and then two contractual conditions are checked:
After money is assigned for these commitments, by removing
money from the pot (thus "adjusting" SUM and TOTAL), the
computation is repeated as necessary.
- All faculty who got a "satisfactory" most of the
time are guaranteed at least a 2 % raise.
- All faculty who, after this first raise is computed
(including discretionary raises), had at least a 4.00
average evaluation during the last five years and yet
still has a base salary of 20 % or worse below market
gets an additional 1 %.
Oh, yes, promotions of ranked faculty are accompanied
by 9 % raises.
And of course, there are lots of little details, so
it's not surprising that chairs are hoping for spreadsheets
in their stockings this Christmas. We recommend that
faculty pay close attention to their raises: this is the
first time raises are being distributed this way, and there
may be glitches. And as we tell our students, the only way
errors can be corrected is by pointing them out.
The Contract is Now in Force
Last Thursday, on December 2, the Board of Trustees
unanimously voted to ratify the 2004 - 2007 Collective
Bargaining Agreement. President Judy Genshaft said,
"We should really break out the champagne ... This is a
major accomplishment." Chapter President Roy
Weatherford praised the Faculty Senate for its hard
work last year in dealing with the New Rules, and thanked
the Board for its civility. The story was covered in
the local media:
The official signing ceremony will be Monday at 2:00 pm
in the Presidentís Conference Room (in Allen Hall, in
suite ADM241). Please let us know if you would like to
attend, as space will be limited.
Now that both the faculty and the trustees have voted to
ratify, the contract is now in force, effective December 2.
Of course, the contract does not enforce itself, and if
anything goes wrong, the union cannot do anything about
it if the union doesn't know about it. So if your
contractual rights are violated, please tell us about it.
For most violations, action must be take within 30 days,
so don't delay: contact our grievance chair,
Dr. Mark Klisch.
For example, during the last two years, a lot of employees
within the bargaining unit have had their jobs reclassified.
Between January 7, 2003 (when the old contract expired)
and December 2, 2004 (when the new contract came in force),
the Administration says that there was no contract, so they
could reclassify anyone they wanted to. The union contends
that the terms and conditions of the old contract did apply,
and that litigation continues even now (and its outcome will
affect how the new contract is enforced, which is why the
union is still pursuing it). The most serious kind of
reclassification is for someone who was in the bargaining
unit to be reclassified OUT of the bargaining unit: that
can be illegal and can be dealt with -- if the union knows
Anyone reclassified between Jan. 7, 2003, and Dec. 2, 2004
must await the outcome of that litigation if the
reclassification affected their contractual rights under the
old contract. NEVERTHELESS, it is important to tell our
grievance chair if you had your position reclassified,
especially if you were moved out of the bargaining unit as
a result. Alas, the Administration is not in the habit of
given us lists of employees they mistreat, so we must rely
on employees telling us themselves.
However, there is no controversy that as of December 2, all
the contractual law protects employees, including protection
from being reclassified out of the unit. If you are so
reclassified subsequent to December 2, let us know at once
so we can take immediate action.
Officially, membership in the union is determined by your
"job code," which your departmental manager will
know. The union represents employees with position numbers
9001 - 9007, 9009, 9016 - 9019, 9053 - 9056, 9115, 9120,
9121, 9126, 9150 - 9153 (see Appendix A (page 87) of the
2004 - 2007 Collective Bargaining Agreement.)
Best Wishes to Beleagured Colleagues
When Governor Jeb Bush and then House Speaker John Thrasher
planned the reorganization of the State University System
on a cocktail napkin, one of the targets turned out to be
... the faculty union. And while we have won the battle at
USF and FAU, the battle still rages elsewhere.
At Florida International University, the Administration has
pushed for a shortened contract that would permit dismissal
of a tenured faculty member for "persistent uncollegial
behavior" as well as "the exclusive right ... to determine
or change curriculum, programs, and degrees to be offered,
as well as the materials, processes, products, ..., and
methods of instruction... ." FIU's Chapter President Alan
Gummerson enumerated contractual rights that the
Administration proposed to eliminate: "The right to
equitable assignments, to a fair evaluation, to leaves,
promotion, non-reappointment, disciplinary action, conflict
of interest, benefits, intellectual property rights,
non-discrimination." Stranger still is the
Administration's proposal for a new demotion procedure.
And a sentiment for collegial governance was replaced by an
exhortation that faculty "accept and execute all lawful
instructions given them."
FIU's Administration has had problems bargaining from the
beginning, when the Administration began objecting to
meeting places. But unlike USF, where the two teams
quickly agreed that the new contract should have roughly
the same structure as the old, FIU's Administration is
determined to have a skeletonized contract which would
be more consistent with contemporary business practices
(of their board?) that would also be, in the words of FIU
Provost Mark Rosenberg, "consistent with the modern
It is not clear what is going on. The Administration is
enduring a scandal involving financial irregularities and
external funding and there are other money problems. But
the Administration's conduct has been very strange, and
perhaps strangest of all was their decision to back out
of previously Tentatively Agreed on language. Contract
junkies may recall that contracts are often bargained
article by article, with agreed on articles Tentatively
Agreed on by the two chief negotiators. Apparently last
month FIU's Administration's Chief Negotiator unagreed on
three items, which raises serious questions about not only
the competence but the integrity of the Administration's
On Monday, November 22, Chapter President Gummerson spoke
to the Board, warning that the university was in danger:
"the effect of these attacks on the faculty is to drive
away the best researchers and scholars, to universities
which offer collegial governance, real academic freedom
rather than lip-service, and the kind of environment where
creative activity, the creation of knowledge, and critical
thinking are encouraged, not threatened." About 250
faculty attended, and there has been some murmuring among
faculty about leaving. For more about this, see the
FIU UFF website.
Meanwhile, at the University of Central Florida...
...the Board of Trustees has declared impasse. While
the FIU board has come close, it has not uttered The
Word. Yet UCF Provost Terry Hickey, noting that after
35 Bargaining sessions over 14 months, only three
articles had been Tentatively Agreed to, sent a letter
to the campus announcing the impasse. See the
The UFF team noted that they had been negotiating in
good faith, and as in all bargaining, had been adjusting
their proposals in response to Administration proposals
seeking acceptable compromises (which is how bargaining
works). The UFF UCF webmaster wrote, "We have been told
that it is extremely uncommon for impasse to be declared
when so many articles are still unsettled. More commonly,
both parties work diligently on one article or designated
small groups of articles at a time so that they can come
as close as possible; impasse is then declared when only
a few difficult issues remain. Because the BOT declared
impasse with so many issues unsettled, we cannot now
predict how long the impasse process will take. Quite
possibly, this process will take longer than good faith
negotiations would have taken." See the
Curiouser and curiouser. Well, the UFF response is a
clear commentary on the Administration's declaration that
"The Board of Trustee's bargaining team is working
diligently with the UFF to reach agreement on all terms
and conditions of employment in an effort to better meet
the needs of the university and the members of the
faculty and professional employees' bargaining unit."
Outside of the question of how diligent the
Administration actually is, there is the more serious
problem of what happens now.
Impasse is a legal state:
- The two sides agree on an independent Special
Master, who can recommend but not impose a
- Meanwhile, the "Legislative Body" for the contract
can impose (to a limited extent) interim terms and
conditions of employment. Before the
reorganization, the Legislative Body was the State
Legislature; current theory is that it is now ...
the relevant Board of Trustees.
There are two issues here.
- What does the Administration hope to gain in the
new contract? The Administration complains that
there hasn't been much progress in the exchanges of
proposals and counterproposals. The Administration
may be taking steps to get a contract, or to get
a contract more to its liking.
- What happens meanwhile? Historically, the State
Legislature would Solomon-like split the difference
(like hand out across-the-board raises). But for
the UCF Board of Trustees -- the interested party
calling for impasse -- also be the Legislative Body
during impasse is an anomalous situation that could
lead to litigation in itself.
Speaking of litigation, a lot of this mess is entangled
with an Unfair Labor Practice complaint brought before
the Public Employees Relations Commission (PERC).
UFF had complained that the UCF Administration had been
unilaterally handing out "out-of-cycle" compensation
while evading the collective bargaining process (sound
familiar?) and PERC ruled in favor of UFF. This
litigation was going on while UFF and the UCF
Administration were bargaining compensation.
There have been a lot of Unfair Labor Practice
complaints lately, just as there has been a lot of
weirdness, perhaps arising from a general desire among
the boards to get an anti-union victory to present to
the anti-union governor who appointed them. It will
take a while for the SUS reorganization's massive
injection of politics to wear out. USF has been
very fortunate in many ways, and perhaps USF could
serve as a model on how to get a contract signed.