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UFF Biweekly
United Faculty of Florida -- USF System Chapter
17 November 2016
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HOLIDAY & TOY DRIVE PARTY

Every year, the USF Chapter of the United Faculty of Florida participates in the West Central Florida Federation of Labor's toy drive. This year we are collecting toys at a lunch party, and you are all invited.

Wednesday, November 30, at noon, in the Marshall Students Center, in the Sabal Room (on the third floor, just to the right and around the corner from Top of the Palms).

We will have lunch and union bigwigs to answer questions like, "Just who is the West Central Florida Federation of Labor anyway? and how does that affect me?" We will also be collecting toys for the toy drive: please bring new, unwrapped toys in their original packaging, for children ages 0 to 17 (don't overlook the teens). UFF members can turn in their travel scholarship applications (see below).

Come and check us out.

Chapter Meeting Tomorrow in USF Tampa

The UFF USF Chapter will meet tomorrow, Friday, at 12 noon on USF Tampa, in room EDU 257. Everyone is invited to the Chapter Meeting. There will be sandwiches, snacks, sweets, and drinks. This is the last regular meeting of the semester (although we will have a Chapter Meeting at the Toy Drive Lunch Party), which means that the Election Committee is on the agenda: every spring, UFF elects its officers and representatives.

All UFF USF employees, dues-paying UFF members and non-members, are invited for lunch. Come check us out.

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 the 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.

But first...

Happy Thanksgiving!

IN THIS ISSUE

After the Election

Many people, including pollsters, were surprised by the result of last week's election and that surprise probably contributed to the uproar. In this issue, we look at the results of the election and what it means for us, for USF and for UFF.

  • The Uproar. The campaign consisted of words, and the fear and anger of the last week showed the power of those words. For more on words and their consequences, see below or click here.
  • What the Election Means for Us. For UFF and USF, the question is, what now? And perhaps, what to do now? For details, see below or click here.
Despite the divisiveness of the last few months - or perhaps because of it - we should remind ourselves what those Latin words on the Great Seal mean:
E pluribus Unum. Out of many, one.

The aftermath of the election is on the agenda for the UFF USF Chapter Meeting tomorrow, Friday, at noon, in EDU 257. Everyone is invited.

The Uproar

Ballots are still being counted, but comparing Pew's estimate of eligible voters and the current Cook Political Report, it looks like 39.2 % didn't vote, 29.1 % voted for Hillary Clinton, 28.5 % voted for Donald Trump, 3.2 % voted for someone else, but stay tuned. Yet Mr. Trump won the electoral college, and come January, the same party will hold the White House, 51 of the 100 seats in the Senate, and 239 of the 435 seats in the House of Representatives. This is the first time since 2010 that one party held all three.

Despite a gracious concession speech and an encouraging victory speech, the viciousness of the campaign bloomed into an uproar after the election. There were protests against the election result, a burst of bullying and intimidation (including some on college campuses), a lot of fear, an upsurge in calls to suicide centers, and the president-elect called for the intimidation to stop.

At USF, there was some intimidating vandalism on campus and President Genshaft broadcast a message that, "...the University of South Florida System remains a special place where respectful expression of oneís beliefs is encouraged." And Provost Wilcox broadcast a message with resources for members of the USF community in dealing with these problems.

Part of the problem may be the media. One study of the election concluded that the media focused on the ugliness and largely ignored the issues. History buffs may remember the politics of the Green and Blue chariot racing teams during the Byzantine Empire, and now we have the Reds and Blues. Journalists become sports writers, and the election becomes about political maneuvers and tough talk, and not about the policies that will affect people's lives - as well as the missions of institutions like the University of South Florida.

Sane political discourse requires some civility, and political civility is an issue again, especially since we need to go someplace from where we are now. The aftermath is even affecting friendships and families, and Miss Manners (Judith Martin) advised family and friends to "settle down": "Respect for people who have different opinions or different ideas or different backgrounds is an essential American value." Martin added that, "...just calling people names and saying obscene things, and yelling at one another, no ideas get expressed, nothing gets settled...Thatís not the way progress is made. Progress is made when we listen to one another, when we restrain our uglier impulses and treat one another with respect."

What the Election Means for Us

So, what now? National elections tend to get most of the attention, and we will look at the campaign issue that the media largely skittered around. But as education is largely a matter for the states, the Florida election is also very important to us. And there is another arena, one that we academics should take a look at.

First, the economy. While the media was writing up who-said-what-about-whom, many Americans are watching their standard of living stagnate or decline. The standard of living is a major union issue, and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka congratulated President-elect Trump on his victory and said that, "If he is willing to work with us, consistent with our values, we are ready to work with him." This is a point that is often forgotten in political rhetoric: organizations matter. Unlike an electorate confronted with limited choices every two years, organizations are involved in policy-making 24/7. A recent and controversial book subtitled Why Elections Do Not Produce Responsive Government actually only argues that governments do not respond to elections (and voters do not vote on what their government actually does); it does not address what government does respond to. An army of courtiers, lobbyists, and other insiders could answer that question: governments respond to interests and organizations, including organizations with grass roots support. More on this in a moment.

Meanwhile, in Florida, despite the redistricting, the balance of power in the legislature did not change much, and the governor was not up for election. Tallahassee will look much the same as it did before, quite possibly with some of the old bad bills resurfacing during the next session. The session will be next spring, from March 7 to May 5, but preparation has begun: the Organization Session will be this coming Monday and legislators will get their bills in order for the first deadline on January 27. UFF's Tallahassee office is working now on legislators because now is the time that the first drafts are being written.

The time to influence policy is when its being made, and that's what organizations are for. That's one reason why we need unions, professional organizations, and other groups. If you are not a UFF member yet, you can support our efforts to educate politicians by joining today. If you are a member, the USF Chapter of the UFF really needs a group of members to educate Tampa Bay politicians; if you are interested, contact us today. And you can always find out more about us by visiting a chapter meeting: tomorrow, Friday, at noon, in EDU 257 - or the Toy Drive Party on Wednesday, November 30, at noon, in the Marshall Student Center on USF Tampa, in the Sabal Room, just right of the Top of the Palms.

Finally, there is another arena where we academics can have a particularly important role. We are the experts. The public often forgets that when they see some pundit or politician expound on medical marijuana, climate change, cybersecurity, religious strife, or the effects of poverty. We're the experts who have read John Steinbeck and studied working conditions and the effects of ocean acidity. The community needs our expertise and our counsel. This means talking to local groups, participating in community activities, even writing articles for laymen (USF Communications and Marketing should have some advice about this). Or at least being on the USF list of experts for the media. Considering the challenges facing contemporary society, and the amount of nonsense floating around, the community needs us.

LOGISTICS

Chapter Meeting tomorrow Friday, November 18, 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.

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