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UFF Biweekly
United Faculty of Florida -- USF System Chapter
20 October 2016
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Chapter Meeting Tomorrow on USF Tampa in EDU 257

The UFF USF Chapter will meet tomorrow, Friday, at 12 noon, on USF Tampa, in EDU 257. 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:

  • November 4 on USF Sarasota / Manatee in B224.
  • November 18 on USF Tampa in EDU 257.
And December 2, details TBA. All UFF USF employees, dues-paying UFF members and non-members, are invited for pizza, salad, 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 on December 2. 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 1 and be eligible to apply. See the travel scholarship flyer.

Small print: Effective this term, a recipient of a travel award will not be eligible for another award for one year.

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.

Grievances

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.

IN THIS ISSUE

Who Are We Voting For?

Yes, there are only nineteen shopping days until the election, but first, some important union news:

  • On October 14, the USF Board of Trustees ratified the Tentative Agreement bargained by the USF Chapter of the UFF and the USF Administration. We now have a contract. Thanks to everyone who participated.
  • Also that morning, the USF Board of Trustees ratified the Tentative Agreement bargained by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME, representing USF staff) and the USF Administration (representing the USF Board of Trustees).
  • The faculty of the new Florida Polytechnic University voted 38-6 to be represented by the United Faculty of Florida in bargaining and grievances. Collective bargaining unionization ensures that faculty are an important voice at Florida Poly from the very beginning," said the leader of the UFF organizing committee. "Together, as equals under state law, faculty and the (school's) board of trustees can define the foundation upon which we will build the university and use our academic expertise to advocate for what is in the best interests of the students and public we serve." FPU President Randy Avent said, "...we look forward to working with the faculty and the union to make sure Florida Poly students receive the best education possible," UFF now represents faculty at all twelve institutions in the Florida State University System.
Returning to sporting news, the election is looming, and in this issue we go over who and what we are voting on.
  • The Federal Elections. Federal elections get the media coverage. In Florida, we are electing a president, a senator, and 27 Congresscreatures. For details, see below or click here.
  • The State Elections. In this election, we are electing all representatives in both houses as well as voting on four referenda - and there are retention referenda on several justices and judges. For details, see below or click here.
  • County and City Elections. County commissioners, city council members, judges, district attorneys, county clerks, school board members, property appraisers, even soil conservation district board members are on the ballot. We tend to forget how much these officials affect our lives...until the City Council decides to let someone convert the house across the street into a hot dog stand. For details, see below or click here.
Once again, since the ballot is rather long, we recommend reviewing the ballot in advance. For more information on how to get information about the election, see the October 11 Biweekly Extra.

Federal Elections

The results are in, and the winner of the second presidential debate was...YouTube. As Wired reported, 63 million people saw at least some of the October 9 debate on television, while 124 million saw it on YouTube. As for the candidates, Nate Silver has been consistently claiming that Florida has the highest chance of casting the determining electoral votes and listing Florida voters as among the top ten states in the "voter power index," i.e., "the relative likelihood that an individual voter in a state will determine the Electoral College winner."

It is the presidential election that usually draws voters to the polls - indeed, a presidential candidate is supposed to be a standard bearer drawing their supporters to vote for other candidates in the party. As of October 14, 1,910 candidates had filed the relevant paperwork with the Federal Election Commission, but that doesn't mean that they are on the ballot, or even write-in candidates (a vote for anyone who is not a recognized write-in candidate is ignored). In Florida, there are six candidates on the ballot (and six more who have filed forms with the Florida Division of Elections).

The president hires cabinet secretaries and agency directors (with the Senate's consent), appoints judges and other officials (with the Senate's consent), signs or vetoes legislation that Congress approves, appoints people to many senior positions and signs executive orders (no need for Congressional consent here), and sets the tone in Washington, D.C. It matters a great deal who the president is.

It also matters who is in Congress. One view of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 is that Congress is supposed to set policy and the president executes the laws. Ever since George Washington, presidents have pushed the envelope, but Congress remains a major check and balance on the president (and vice versa).

The Senate confirms appointments, ratifies treaties, declares war, and passes legislation. Florida has two senate seats. The seat currently occupied by Marco Rubio is open for election this year, and there are seven candidates (not including write-ins). The seat now occupied by Bill Nelson will be open for election in 2018.

The House of Representatives also passes legislation - all budgets must originate in the House - and all bills passed by both the House and the Senate go to the president for signature or veto. Florida has 27 seats in the House, and all are up for election; all seats are up for election every other year. Your sample ballot will tell you what district you are in, and who the candidates are.

Whatever a president's intentions and promises, what a president can do depends substantially on Congress.

The State Election

In 2014, the federal budget was $ 11,600 per capita, while the Florida state budget was $ 3,700 per capita. The largest items in the state budget are health care, education, and infrastructure. The state gets its money from sales and similar taxes, property taxes, licenses, etc. (and the federal government). So the state is a major player, and needs watching and accountability. The state runs roughly as the federal government does: a governor, a Legislature consisting of a Senate and a House of Representatives, a.k.a an Assembly (for details, see the MyFlorida portal), and a judiciary.

The governor and cabinet officers are not up for election (we have to wait until 2018), but because of redistricting, all state senate and assembly seats are up for election. As in Washington, D.C., the governor spends the money that the Legislature appropriates and passes laws that the governor can sign or veto. And the governor and the Legislature together directly or indirectly appoint all kinds of officers, including boards of trustees.

One difference between state and federal elections is that while state judges are appointed, they must be confirmed periodically; we are voting on retaining several state supreme court justices and district court of appeals judges in this election. (Since the governor and the Legislature are prone to violate the constitution, and since our primary recourse is often the courts, these retention elections are serious.) In addition, there are four amendments to the state constitution on the ballot (numbered # 1, 2, 3, and 5), concerning solar power, the use of medical marijuana, a tax exemption for disabled first responders, and a homestead tax exemption for some seniors. Judicial candidates are notoriously reticent and amendment referenda can be mischievously worded, so voters should look them up in advance.

County and City Elections

Local elections are often overlooked, but the stakes can be high. For example, while the statewide Florida Retirement System is sound (despite recent attempts by certain politicians to undermine it), many cities have their own underfunded pension funds and are now facing financial crunches. Meanwhile, St. Petersburg's sewage crisis reminds us that non-mediagenic infrastructure is important, too.

County commissioners, city council members, judges, district attorneys, county clerks, school board members, property appraisers, even soil conservation district board members are on the ballot. We tend to notice local government only when it malfunctions, but ideally we would elect people who would keep it from malfunctioning.

Being a good citizen is hard work - especially when we are supposed to do that work during the first half of the fall semester. But alas, government officials are like small children and cannot be left unsupervised. For more on how to get information about the election, see the October 11 Biweekly Extra.

LOGISTICS

Chapter Meeting tomorrow Friday, October 21, on USF Tampa, in EDU 257.

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.