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UFF Biweekly
United Faculty of Florida -- USF System Chapter
8 September 2011
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UFF will be holding a Welcome Back & Welcome to USF Reception for new (and continuing) faculty and professionals on October 4, 5:30 7:30 at the Embassy Suites Hotel (at the corner of Fowler Ave. and Spectrum Dr. on USF-Tampa) in Salon F. All UFF USF System employees, UFF members and non-members, are invited for hors d'oeuvres and libations.


For UFF members who recently joined, the $ 300 rebate checks are going into the mail now. Meanwhile, the USF System Chapter has extended the rebate program through the end of this semester: if you join UFF by December 9, you will receive a $ 300 dues rebate in spring. (Dues are 1 % of salary.) So join today.


This fall, the UFF USF System Chapter will meet on alternate Fridays, at 12 pm noon, as follows: tomorrow, Sept. 9, and on Oct. 7, Nov. 4 and Dec. 2, we will meet on USF-Tampa in EDU 313. On Sept. 23, we will meet at USF-Poly in LTB 1123; on Oct. 21, we will meet at USF-St. Petersburg in the Harbor Hall Community Room; and on Nov. 18 we will meet at USF-Sarasota / Manatee in a location TBA. Come and join the movement.


Download, fill in, and mail the membership form. You must be a UFF member at the time of an incident (such as a reprimand, non-reappointment, layoff notice, or tenure/ promotion denial) for UFF to represent you in a grievance or future litigation. UFF CANNOT REPRESENT A NON-MEMBER IN A GRIEVANCE OR FUTURE LITIGATION. And if you join UFF by December 9, you will receive a $ 300 dues rebate in spring; it's never been easier to join the movement.



For most of us, fall is when raises and bonuses appear. We enumerate the leading raises and bonuses this fall, and give a brief introduction to GEMS. For more, see below.


The stakes are high, for they not only involve the future of higher education and of unions in Florida, but also who the legislators are answerable to. For more, see below.



In fall 2010, UFF and the Board of Trustees agreed on an average merit pay raise of 2 % effective summer 2011. This means two things.

  1. This is a base rate raise, i.e., it increased your salary and remains in your salary for as long as you are employed at USF.
  2. The average merit pay raise is 2 %: the Board of Trustees provided enough money to increase the total payroll to UFF USF System employees by 2 %. That money was distributed by a formula that depends only on your evaluation in the spring of 2011, in comparison to the evaluations of your colleagues in your department or unit. Your raise may be lower or higher than 2 % depending on your evaluation.
The merit pay raises were entered into GEMS by August 26, as were any recent Administrative Discretionary Increase (ADI) raises. Unlike merit pay raises, ADI raises are distributed using any system that the Administration believes appropriate.

In addition, the Administration is distributing an average 1 % ADI bonus to help offset the state government's recent decision to cut public employee pay by 3 % in order to (official rationale) put more money into the Florida Retirement System.

  1. These bonuses depend on your spring 2011 evaluations and on your current base salary, and therefore will be less or more than 1 % depending on your evaluations and your current salary.
  2. These are bonuses and have no effect on your base rate salary.
We have been informed that the bonuses will be in GEMS as of September 9, tomorrow. In addition, faculty receiving dissertation or thesis pay (for summer defenses) should receive their bonus in the September 23 paycheck.

First of all, if you are using your office computer, you can get onto GEMS using the following instructions; if you log on remotely from home, you will have to open VPN (Virtual Private Network) first; if you do not have VPN in your home computer, you may get it from the University of South Florida VPN. (For assistance, contact IT Help.) Once you are ready, go to MyUSF (http://my.usf.edu) and log in using your university NetID and password. Then either under Business Systems, or in the box of links in the middle of the page, there is a link called GEMS Self Service; GEMS will open and close two pop-ups (the browser will need pop-ups enabled) before displaying a white page with a blue ribbon on top saying Oracle at upper left. Below Oracle are six options: clicking Self-Service will produce six boxes of options, including Payroll and Compensation, where you can do things like view your paycheck and compensation history and benefits, like health, retirement, etc. You may notice that Self-Service allows you to update some of your paperwork that you forgot to update umpteen years ago.

It is a good idea to periodically check GEMS to make sure that things are set up correctly. Report anomalies to your department manager or to Human Resources.


Every ten years, the U.S. conducts a census and uses the results to draw new legislative, congressional, and other districts, following the "one man, one vote" requirement of the U.S. Supreme Court's 1964 Reynolds v. Sims decision that the districts must have roughly the same population.

As noted in the Summer 2010 Uncommon Sense, it is still possible to draw election districts to dilute the votes of some voters while amplifying the votes of others. More to the point a point that even reformers tend to overlook whoever draws the new districts wields enormous power over the legislators whose districts they draw, sometimes to the point that many legislators are more dependent on the good will of the district line makers than to their own constituents.

This was the problem in the Florida legislature, as can be seen by the following evidence of systemic dysfunction:

  • The election between Republican Rick Scott and Democrat Alex Sink was so close that a minor third candidate was able to deny Scott a majority of the vote; he won by a narrow plurality.
  • The current legislative leadership is so confident of the results of upcoming elections that Will Weatherford was designated House Speaker for 2012 2014, while Don Gaetz is to be designated (!) Senate President for 2012 2014 later this month.
The very fact that these designations are made and announced publicly (!) is a clear message that the leadership does not anticipate any trouble from the legislators that voters elect next fall. This suggests that these legislators may be more dependent on the good will of the legislative leadership than on that of the voters, either because of the leadership's command of campaign funds, or its connections and power of endorsement, or simply because draws the district lines.

The United Faculty of Florida and the Florida Education Association prefers legislators who are more answerable to their own constituents, because their own constituents consist of parents who want their children educated, and of workers who want supplemental education or the economic stimulus provided by higher education. For that reason, UFF and FEA supported the campaign to pass the Fair Districting amendments, and for that reason, UFF and FEA are supporting the effort to pressure the legislature's Florida Districting Committee to create genuinely competitive districts.

The Committee is touring the state and has posted a webpage, and we encourage everyone to follow their actions closely. Last spring, we saw what happens when the legislative leadership feels confident of its position: education and employee rights went out the window, and only intensive lobbying by UFF and FEA and our allies prevented even worse outcomes. What happens next spring depends substantially on what happens in redistricting.


Next Chapter Meeting tomorrow, Friday, September 9, at noon, in EDU 313, on USF -Tampa.

Sandwiches & sodas are provided by the union, and all UFF members are invited to attend. Non-members are also invited to come and check us out. Come and join the movement.

Membership: 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


and you can contact us by filling out the form on our contact page, or, if you prefer, you may go to the page of UFF USF System Chapter officers and representatives and send a message to a particular person.

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.

If you do not want to receive the UFF Biweekly, you can unsubscribe below. If you do not receive the Biweekly, but want to, contact the Communications Chair.

The UFF also sends out a biannual hardcopy newsletter, Uncommon Sense, to the entire unit. Past issues of Uncommon Sense are posted on-line. Articles from past issues of the Biweekly are also posted on-line.