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UFF Biweekly
United Faculty of Florida -- USF System Chapter
6 October 2016
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Chapter Meeting Tomorrow in USF Tampa in the Natural & Environmental Sciences Building

The UFF USF Chapter will meet tomorrow, Friday, at 12 noon on USF Tampa, in NES 103 (see the campus map). Everyone is invited to the Chapter Meeting. There will be sandwiches, snacks, sweets, and drinks.

We will continue to meet on alternate Fridays at noon. The schedule for the rest of the semester is:

  • October 21 and November 18 on USF Tampa in EDU 257.
  • November 4 on USF Sarasota / Manatee in B224.
And December 2, details TBA. All UFF USF employees, dues-paying UFF members and non-members alike, are invited for sandwiches, snacks, sweets, and drinks. Come and join the movement.

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

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

All UFF USF members are eligible for one of six $ 500 travel scholarships to be randomly selected at the December 2 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 1. You may join UFF by December 3 and be eligible to apply. See the travel scholarship flyer.

Small print: Starting this term, a recipient of a travel award will not be eligible for another award for one year; this does not apply to awards prior to this term.

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; see also the main article (left).

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.


Union News

As reported in the October 1 Biweekly Extra, employees in the UFF USF Bargaining Unit voted in favor of ratifying the Tentative Agreement, and UFF has therefore ratified it. It is now up to the USF Board. Once ratified, the Tentative Agreement will become our contract.

Meanwhile, at other universities, here is some...

  • Recent Union News. From impasse at FAMU to an NLRB ruling on organizing graduate students to organizing adjuncts, for a roundup of recent union news in academia, see below or click here.
  • A Reminder About Office Machines. We often take our phones, workstations, laptops, and other devices provided by USF for granted. But recent events remind us that some legal restrictions apply. For more, see below or click here.
And the UFF USF Chapter is continuing its travel scholarship program. We will award six $ 500 travel scholarships on December 2 to UFF members for travel for professional purposes. For details, see the announcement in the left column.

While the Main Stream Media obsesses over the presidential election, legislators, commissioners, board members, and even judges who have at least as great an impact on our lives (and our university!) are also running for election, and we encourage everyone to vote in these races as well. October 11 is the deadline for registering for the November 8 election. For more information, see the previous Biweekly article on the election and the Florida Division of Elections.

Recent Union News

"As college professors lose earning power," said Fortune magazine two years ago, "unions gain appeal." Unions on campus are controversial, and what happens at one place affects what happens elsewhere. For example, if faculty and professionals at one institution successfully stand up for themselves and their institution's mission - as faculty recently did at Tallahassee Community College and the State College of Florida - boards at other institutions are likely to take notice. And so will faculty and professionals at those other institutions, for it shows what is possible.

So here is some of what is going on.

  • Graduate Students at Private Universities. In 2000, the National Labor Relations Board ruled that graduate assistants at NYU could form a union. In 2004, the NLRB changed its mind, ruling that graduate assistants at Brown University were students first and therefore did not have the right to form a union. Union organizing at private institutions is governed by federal law (as opposed to public institutions, where it is governed by state law), so graduate assistants at private institutions did not have the right to organize until this summer, when the NLRB changed its mind again, ruling that graduate assistants at Columbia University have the right to organize a union.

    Meanwhile, graduate assistants at many public universities have organized unions, without the sky falling. (Incidentally, about the NLRB changing its mind repeatedly, members are appointed for staggered terms by the president and confirmed by Congress. Elections have consequences; something to keep in mind come November 8.)
  • Lockout at Long Island. Long Island University staged a lockout during contract negotiations. As in a classical lockout, faculty were not permitted to teach; instead, the university hired temps to teach the courses, which made students unhappy. The lockout has just ended and regular classes have resumed.
  • Impasse at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. UFF declared impasse in contract negotiations at FAMU. Among other things, UFF asked for a 3 % raise while the FAMU Administration offered a 1 % raise this year, 1 % next year, and a bonus. The next step is to select a Special Magistrate to hear both sides and propose a compromise.
  • Organizing Adjuncts. Here is an example of the difference between private and public institutions. The State of Minnesota decided that adjuncts could form a union at the University of Minnesota (and adjuncts were recently supported by a student walkout). Meanwhile, the NLRB ruled that adjuncts teaching religion courses in private religious institutions - in particular, St. Xavier University and Seattle University - did not have the right to organize. On the other hand, adjuncts at those institutions who did not teach religion could organize, and at Seattle, they just did.
  • Speaking of Organizing Adjuncts. California Governor Jerry Brown has just signed two bills requiring that all California community colleges bargain with adjuncts on items like seniority and evaluations.
And here at USF, our staff (represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees) has just ratified a contract bargained by AFSCME (representing the staff) and the USF Administration (representing the USF Board of Trustees). The ball is now in the Board's court.

A Reminder About Office Machines

We often take our phones, desktops, laptops, and other university-provided gizmos for granted, using them to send email to siblings, to post pictures of our cats on Facebook, and leave voicemail messages on personnel issues.

Outside of security issues - and we shouldn't forget that American research universities are targets not only for lone wolf hackers but also for governments and companies engaged in industrial espionage - there is the fact that these machines are public property, which has two consequences.

Whether we like it or not, we teach and do research in a goldfish bowl. Even if our syllabus forbids it, students can record us on their phones. Even in our offices, there are many programs that can track our keystrokes. While we should not let this brave new world paralyze us, we should be a little careful.


Chapter Meeting tomorrow Friday, October 6, on USF Tampa, in NES 103.

There will be sandwiches, snacks, sweets, 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.