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UFF Biweekly
United Faculty of Florida -- USF System Chapter
27 August 2015
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Chapter Meeting Tomorrow Noon in Tampa

Tomorrow Friday the Chapter will meet at 12 noon at CDB Restaurant in Temple Terrace, at 5104 E. Fowler Ave., just east of USF Tampa. There will be pizza, salad, and soda. Check us out. Join the movement. Bring a colleague.

This will be the first chapter meeting this fall. The Chapter will on alternating Fridays, starting tomorrow, at USF locations TBA, always at 12 noon. The Biweekly will come out the preceding Thursday to announce the place.

Join UFF Today!

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


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

Visit Us on Facebook

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


Welcome Back!

For those of us who are returning, welcome back from your faculty union! For those who have just joined USF, welcome: we are your faculty union (the United Faculty of Florida, and there's more on us below). This electronic newsletter has been sent to the 1,647 USF employees we represent - and to 105 guest subscribers - so if you are receiving this newsletter, it probably means we represent you (details below).

This fall, as we welcome the Class of 2019 and reflect that they must be getting younger every year - either that, or we're getting older - Beloit College advises us that our new students have never licked a postage stamp, have always read Harry Potter and watched South Park, and for them The Lion King has always played on Broadway. Meanwhile, Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic have always been members of NATO (the Cold War being something from their grandparents' era), and email is a formal form of communication: When communicating with friends, they send abbrevs like "TL DR" - "TOO LONG: DIDN'T READ." In this issue, we look at ourselves and at our students.

  • Where We Are Now. Eight percent of the faculty and professionals represented by the faculty union are new hires. We welcome them to USF and introduce them to their colleagues - and to their union. For more, see below or click here.
  • Student Debt. The cost of higher education is now increasingly carried by students and their parents, and that means an increasing burden - and distraction - for our students. For more, see below or click here.
Last summer the Chapter offered four $ 500 travel scholarships to UFF members. We received fourteen applications from members, and at the August 7 chapter meeting we chose the four recipients by lot. We are happy to help, and the travel scholarship program will be on the agenda tomorrow.

Important note for new people at USF. While we represent all employees in the "Bargaining Unit" describe below, employees are not automatically members of the union. You have to join. To join, download, fill in, and send in the membership form. If you want to check us out, you can look us up at our web-page or visit a chapter meeting (the next one is tomorrow, Friday, at 12 noon, at CDB Restaurant, just east of USF Tampa at 5104 E. Fowler Ave., at the intersection of Fowler and 51st.

Where We Are Now

At the Fall USF Provost's Address last week, Provost Ralph Wilcox outlined where USF stands at the moment, and USF is growing. From Fall 2000 to Fall 2014, the number of undergraduate students rose from 18,913 to 27,299 while the number of graduate students rose from 4,574 to 7,275. Their success at USF has improved: while 20 % of the incoming freshmen of 2000 received their baccalaureate degrees within four years, 44 % of the incoming freshmen of 2010 did so. USF has also performed well on a variety of research metrics, from the number of U. S. patents granted to the number of Web of Knowledge citations.

All this involved a lot of work by USF faculty and professionals, as well as students, staff, and even administrators. The United Faculty of Florida (UFF) represents many faculty and professionals: the employees we represent are in the "Bargaining Unit." So, who is in this Bargaining Unit?

As of August 21, there were 2,475 faculty in the USF system. Of these, 1,647 are in the Bargaining Unit, which consists of:

  • All faculty and many professionals outside of the College of Medicine - except that the only department chairs in the Bargaining Unit are in the colleges of Arts & Sciences and Education. And senior administrators are not in the Bargaining Unit.
  • Faculty and professionals in Nursing and Public Health, except for chairs and other administrators.
Adjuncts and post-docs are not in the Bargaining Unit.

Within the Bargaining Unit, we welcome the 131 new faculty and professionals who have joined USF since the end of the spring semester (i.e. nearly eight percent of the Bargaining Unit are new employees). That is not surprising: here is a table of the number of employees in the Bargaining Unit by the date of their arrival at USF:

Year arrivedNumber arrivedPercent of B.U.
1966-197090.5 %
1971-1975110.7 %
1976-1980241.5 %
1981-1985684.1 %
1986-1990935.6 %
1991-1995996.0 %
1996-200017410.6 %
2001-200528617.4 %
2006-201035621.6 %
2011-201552631.9 %
Over half of the employees in the Bargaining Unit arrived at or after 7 August, 2006.

So what do employees in the Bargaining Unit do all day? There are a lot of job titles, but here are the most popular:

JobNumber Percent of B.U.
Assistants / Associates in [Program]754.6 %
Instructors37422.7 %
Librarians362.2 %
Assistant Professors34120.7 %
Associate Professors42525.8 %
Full Professors32519.7 %
Distinguished, Eminent, etc.241.5 %
Other Professional472.9 %
Of these, about two thirds are tenured or on tenure track. The Biweekly has been running an occasional series on getting tenure, which we will continue this fall, but as tenure is not part of the job for a third of the employees in the Bargaining Unit, we will be covering other issues as well.

Legally, the job of the union is to bargain and enforce a contract, called a Collective Bargaining Agreement. This is the legally enforceable contract between the USF employees in the Bargaining Unit (represented by UFF) and the USF Board of Trustees (represented by the USF Administration). Right now, bargaining is underway. While the current contract runs until 2017, it is "reopened" annually in order to bargain salary and a few other articles. Grievances continue year-round: if you suspect that your contractual rights have been violated, you have thirty days from the time you knew or should have known of the violation to act; that's why it is necessary to contact the Grievance Committee asap. However, UFF can only represent union members in grievances. Speaking of membership, we will be running a membership campaign this fall; if you are interested, contact Professor Adrienne Berarducci.

Student Debt

Since over 70 % of the faculty and professionals in the bargaining unit were hired after 2000, many of us were very young when the political establishment took higher education as a public good to be supported (at least in part) by the public. Education has been a priority since the founding of the Republic: in 1816, Thomas Jefferson wrote to Charles Yancey that "...if a nation expects to be ignorant & free, in a state of civilisation, it expects what never was & never will be." The USA was a leader in experimenting with public education during the Nineteenth and Twentieth centuries, and one of the quantum leaps in expanding the American middle class was the 1944 "G. I. Bill of Rights" which provided, among other things, cash payments towards tuition and expenses for veterans. During the 1950s and 1960s, federal and state (and sometimes even local) governments assisted students going to college.

Since then, higher education - and sometimes even education in general - has come to be regarded more and more as a private good that the public need not or perhaps even should not support. This sentiment has translated into a shifting of the costs from the public onto students and their parents. Here at USF, student tuition provides more money to the university than the state.

If parents have the resources, they can pay, quite possibly with contributions from the students. But if not, students are increasingly choosing between working and getting into debt. As state legislatures pressure universities to get their students through quickly - getting undergraduates their degrees within six years is one of the performance metrics on which university funding depends - students are pressured to take more classes which means either being burned out by heavy class and job loads at the same time...or going into debt.

Wallethub's recent study noted that there is now about $ 1.19 trillion in student debt: "This is the first time in U.S. history that student loan debt exceeds credit card debt." Wallethub also compared states in how well students can handle their debt upon graduation. Florida's low wages and high housing costs put us at 40th out of the 51 states plus D.C. Tampa Bay Times business columnist Robert Trigaux warned that Florida graduates burdened with debt may leave and take their skills with them - bad news for Florida businessmen expecting that "millennials will determine the future of housing".

While pundits and presidential candidates debate the level of public support for higher education, some states are working on the problem, and Florida might consider doing something about student debt before it becomes a drag on the state economy. Meanwhile, we continue to have frazzled students.


Chapter Meeting tomorrow Friday, August 28, at CDB Restaurant, just east of USF Tampa, on 5104 E. Fowler Ave.

There will be pizza, salad, and drinks. All UFF members are invited to attend. Non-members are also invited to come and check us out. Come and join the movement.

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

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

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

If you do not want to receive the UFF Biweekly, you can unsubscribe below. If you do not receive the Biweekly, but want to, e-mail a message to gmccolm@tampabay.rr.com.