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UFF Biweekly
United Faculty of Florida -- USF System Chapter
5 November 2015
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Chapter Meeting Tomorrow Noon on USF St. Petersburg

Tomorrow Friday the Chapter will meet at 12 noon on USF St. Petersburg at the University Student Center in the Ocean Room. We will have sandwiches, pop, and snacks.

The remaining chapter meetings this semester on November 20 and December 4, both of them on USF Tampa in EDU 415.

Check us out. Join the movement. Bring a colleague.

Tenure & Promotion Workshop Tomorrow on USF St. Petersburg

UFF will hold a Tenure and Promotion Workshop tomorrow at 11 am on USF St. Petersburg at the University Student Center in the Ocean Room. This workshop is open to UFF members, but non-members may bring a membership form and participate. We will cover the tenure and promotion processes, including preparation of tenure or promotion packets and your rights and protections under the contract.

The UFF USF Biweekly has been running an occasional series on tenure and promotion, and past articles are posted on the front page of our website.

UFF Continues its Travel Scholarship Program: All UFF Members are Eligible

The USF Chapter of the UFF will award four $ 500 Travel Scholarships for next spring and summer.

All UFF USF members are eligible for one of four $ 500 travel scholarships to be randomly selected at the December 4 UFF USF Chapter Meeting. Any member may submit a proposal - a proposal being a paragraph describing the professional activity for which the travel scholarship will be applied - to us by campus mail (UFF Membership Committee, 30238 USF Holly Drive) or by email; all proposals must be received by December 3. You may join UFF by December 3 and be eligible to apply. See the travel scholarship flyer.

This initiative is part of our membership campaign. If you would like to become active in the UFF USF Membership Drive, contact the Membership Chair, Adrienne Berarducci.

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.


News From Our Affiliates

The USF Chapter of the United Faculty of Florida (UFF) is one chapter of the UFF, which represents faculty and professionals throughout the state. In turn, the United Faculty of Florida is one union "local" within a larger union, the Florida Education Association (FEA). And the FEA is part of a network of unions that extend across the nation. In this issue, we have some news from our affiliates.

  • The FEA Elects New Leadership. FEA President Andy Ford has retired, and Vice President Joanne McCall was elected his successor. For details, see below or click here.
  • Sick Leave. For years, there was a sick leave pool that allowed USF employees to donate leave to another employee in trouble. The pool disappeared, and now there is a staff employee in trouble. For details, see below or click here.
  • Our Students at the Table. Graduate students working as teaching or research assistants are represented by the Graduate Assistants United, a chapter of UFF. Bargaining is underway, and departmental graduate admissions officers may be interested to know that USF's salaries are on the table. For more, see below or click here.
Meanwhile, two gun bills are moving through the legislature. One would permit citizens with conceal carry permits to carry guns on campus. Another would allow citizens with conceal carry permits to openly carry guns where they could carry them concealed. If both of them become law, a citizen with a conceal carry permit could carry a gun openly on campus.

New FEA Officers

The United Faculty of Florida is affiliated with the Florida Education Association (FEA), which means that UFF members are also FEA members. FEA officials are elected by the FEA Delegate Assembly (whose delegates are elected by FEA members), which met three weeks ago.

Andy Ford served as President of the FEA for twelve years, and is retiring this year. He taught at elementary schools in Jacksonville and became active in the FEA, ultimately being elected Vice President under the first FEA president, Maureen Dinnen.

Left: President Andy Ford and Vice President Joanne McCall at the 2015 Delegate Assembly. Right: Incoming Vice President Fred Ingram, President Joanne McCall, and Secretary-Treasurer Luke Flynt.

Ford's vice president was Joanne McCall, a speech pathologist from Sumter County, who became active in the FEA and eventually became the FEA's spokesperson. Fred Ingram, a music teacher and band director whose band has won awards and marched in the New Orleans Sugar Bowl Game and Chicago Bands of America, was elected FEA Vice President. Luke Flynt, a middle school Gifted Language Arts teacher who has gotten national coverage for his criticism of the use of the Value Added Model for assessing standardized exam performance, was elected FEA Secretary-Treasurer.

The Assembly also passed action items on youth suicide prevention, enforcing state fire codes in high school science laboratories (!), making the state Commissioner of Education an elected position (which it once was), uses of standardized exams in K-12 education, raising the minimum wage, and enforcing the widely violated class size amendment.

Sick Leave

"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans," wrote John Lennon, and sometimes life can be pretty hard. Hence sick leave. It is an ancient practice - workers who built tombs for the pharoahs around 1500 BCE had sick leave.

At many places, sick leave accrues in time: the more time you work, the more sick leave you have just in case you get ill. The problem is a catastrophic illness that can consume your sick leave: if you use up your sick leave and are still unable to work, and if you cannot take leave under the Federal Medical Leave Act (FMLA), you can put your job in jeopardy.

Until last year, USF had a sick leave donation policy allowing USF employees to donate some of their sick leave to a stricken employee. However, this program no longer exists, and that caught a staff employee at USF in a terrible predicament. She had used up her sick leave - and received donations of additional sick leave - when she had cancer in 2014. The cancer has returned, and lacking sufficient sick leave to get her through, the staff union, the union local of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) found 134 USF employees willing to donate sick leave and asked the USF Administration to reconsider its policy, at least concerning this employee.

We should cross our fingers and wish this staff person well. This kind of charity has a long tradition in this country. But this should also be a reminder that we must pay attention to our benefits. When the sick leave donation program was terminated, that left one program (besides the FMLA) for sick leave during catastrophic illness: the sick leave pool. Unlike the sick leave donation program, one has to be enrolled in advance (rather like insurance - or UFF membership). And one has to enroll: if one does not sign up, one is not enrolled.

The idea of the pool is that each enrollee donates some sick leave hours, and if a member of the pool suffers a catastrophic illness, that person can draw from the pool. Unfortunately, membership is open only during the month of April. This may be something for the to-do list next spring.

As for this staff employee facing a recurrence of cancer, while the current policy may disallow donations of sick leave, we cannot help recalling Portia's advice that mercy "...is mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes the throned monarch better than his crown."

Our Students at the Table

Graduate assistants have their own chapter in the United Faculty of Florida - Graduate Assistants United (GAU) - and according to their website, the big issues are raises, fees, tuition waivers and appointment letters.

Salary is a big issue for departments seeking to attract top students. Graduate students are interested in schools at the frontier of their field, but they are also interested in being solvent and avoiding debt as much as possible - especially if they have families. As of January, the US poverty line was $ 11,770 for an individual, $ 15,930 for a couple, and $ 20,090 for a family of three. In addition, we are competing with other institutions: Payscale reports that the median salary for graduate assistants is $ 19,536 nationwide.

That's the competition our graduate program directors face. And how well does USF compete? According to the Oracle, pay for graduate students starts just under ten thousand dollars, not including summer.

The GAU is asking to raise the floor to $ 12,000, and as the GAU bargains, USF graduate program directors cross their fingers.


Chapter Meeting tomorrow Friday, November 6, at on USF St. Petersburg, in the University Student Center's Ocean Room.

There will be sandwiches, chips, 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.

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