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UFF Biweekly
United Faculty of Florida -- USF System Chapter
7 September 2017
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Tomorrow's Chapter Meeting is CANCELLED

Because of Hurricane Irma, tomorrow's chapter meeting is cancelled. As for taking Irma seriously, 538 advises that Hurricane Irma Will Be Dangerous No Matter Where It Makes Landfall. For generic information on preparing for Hurricane Irma, see FEMA's page on Irma. The State of Florida posts evacuation and storm surge zones and shelter locations. And those who want to watch Irma's progress can visit NOAA's page on Irma. Stay safe this weekend.

The remaining UFF Chapter Meetings this semester will be on September 22, October 6 & 20, November 3 & 17, and December 1. The meetings are on USF Tampa in EDU 161, except for the two October meetings: the October 6 meeting is on USF St. Petersburg in USC in the Palm Room while the October 20 meeting is on USF Sarasota / Manatee in a room TBD.

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.


Raises Come Into Effect

For USF UFF faculty who were evaluated last Spring, merit raises mandated by the 2016 - 2019 Collective Bargaining Agreement come into effect tomorrow, which means that the raise starts appearing in our paychecks in three weeks. In this issue, we recall how salary raises are determined by the contract, and how to get information about them from GEMS.

  • About the Raises. The annual evaluations are (finally!) in, the the consequent raise will appear in paychecks. For details, see below or click here.
  • Getting into GEMS. But in these days of direct deposits, one gets information about one's salary online. USF's online payroll system is GEMS, and for information on accessing your salary information, see below or click here.
Meanwhile, notice that in the right column we have a new item: a Kudos section. UFF members accomplish great things, and we would like members to get recognition for the things they do to build USF. As Isidor Rabi, Nobel laureate in physics, told incoming Columbia President Dwight Eisenhower, the faculty are the university. And it is the USF faculty and professionals who will make USF a great university.

About the Raises

UFF USF employees evaluated last spring should have received - or will shortly receive - a letter with their merit raise effective tomorrow. These evaluations are used for a number of purposes, and one purpose is the merit raise this year.

Last summer, the United Faculty of Florida (representing employees in the UFF USF Bargaining Unit) and the USF Administration (representing the USF Board of Trustees) bargained a Collective Bargaining Agreement for 2016 - 2019, including salary. For this year, UFF won raises; the average raise will be 2 % (and since the payroll for the Bargaining Unit is nearly $ 150 million, that means nearly $ 3 million in raises). UFF had argued for giving every (satisfactory or better) employee a 2 % raise, but the Administration insisted on a merit formula, so we compromised on the following formula.

In each department, each employee's share of the raise money is proportional to their evaluation. For example, suppose Jack got a 4 in his annual evaluation and a $ 2,000 raise while Jill got a 4.5 on her evaluation: then Jill's raise will be $ 2,250 as the ratio 4:2,000 is the same as the ratio 4.5:2,250. Notice that Jack and Jill's rank or current salary doesn't come into it: it depends solely on the evaluation. Similarly, if Bob got a 5 and Betty got a 3, Bob will get a $ 2,500 raise (even though he's an instructor) while Betty will get a $ 1,500 raise (even though she's a full professor) as 4:2,000, 4.5:2,250, 5:2,500, and 3:1,500 are all the same ratio. Meanwhile, if Phil got a 2.5 in his evaluation he gets no merit raise as the evaluation has to be satisfactory or better for a merit raise.

However, the ratio varies from department to department: in each department, the mean raise is 2 %. Next year, we will use the same system, with the same formula.

Incidentally, there are other ways that UFF USF employees can get raises (besides moving from one line to another, higher-paying line). There are promotional raises. And there are discretionary (ADI) raises. The latter are entirely at the discretion of the Administration, which means that a employee's supervisor (chair or director) has to lobby or apply for it.

Each employee's salary information is on the online GEMS Business System. This includes the Compensation History, which lists the employee's annual salary and effective dates, going back a decade or so, and View Paycheck, which lists salary, withholding, deductions, and other data. (We understand that the new salaries are in the process of being posted in GEMS.) UFF recommends checking paychecks regularly to make sure that all is current and in order.

This means accessing GEMS; more on that below.

Getting into GEMS

The internet is one of the great conveniences. Instead of going to the library to hunt down an article, one can hunt for it with a few keywords and then download it from the library website. Instead of sending mail and waiting a week (or more) for a response, one can send it via email and often get a response within 24 hours. And instead of picking up and depositing paychecks, one can keep have them deposited electronically and the computer that does that can keep records of them, too.

The software program that does that at USF is GEMS.

The Global Employment Management System handles USF personnel and payroll. But there is a problem: GEMS has information that would be useful for hackers interested in identity theft (with USF employees as the target), so GEMS has several layers of security that must be navigated by USF employees seeking access.

  • GEMS requires being logged on via MyUSF using the USF identification and password.
  • From an off-campus computer, GEMS requires that the off-campus computer use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) which allows the off-campus computer and the GEMS computer to pretend that they are within a secure network. (Since on-campus computers are already within a - relatively - secure network, VPN is not necessary for on-campus computers.)
  • GEMS requires 2-Factor Authentication, in which the GEMS computer contacts the user to make sure that that user is who the user claims to be.
Assuming that readers have USF IDs and passwords, here is how to get VPN and 2-Factor Authentication.
  • USF has its preferred VPN, which is available for Windows, Mac and Linux machines. The instructions for getting this VPN are posted on Information Technology's VPN page: it's a matter of downloading and installing VPN.
  • USF uses a 2-Factor Authentication program called Duo - which is required for accessing GEMS, even from an on-campus computer. The idea is that when you log into GEMS, Duo will call you up and ask you to confirm that it's you who is trying to access GEMS (the recommendation is that this be done by phone, but there are other options; see the Duo instructions for possibilities). The first step is to log into Duo itself and give it your phone number. Then, whenever you log into GEMS, it will ask you how to contact you, and you can click the Call Me or Text Me button; then it will call or text with instructions to push a button or enter something, and it will log you in.
It will take a few moments (you may have to enable pop-ups) before a white page with a green banner (with the USF logo) appears; this is GEMS. Notice the blue bar above the green banner. Click Main Menu in the blue banner (at left), then Self Service, and then click Payroll and Compensation, and then Compensation History or View Paycheck, depending on what you want to look at..

Incidentally, in April, Explorer and Chrome could access GEMS without problems, but Firefox had issues. In May, Explorer and Firefox could access GEMS, but Chrome had issues. Last time we checked, Chrome had gotten over its issues, but we haven't checked Explorer or Firefox, so be warned. For more on authentication, copyrights, scams, and similar issues, see the USF Information Technology Data Security Page.


Every year, the International Council of Professors of Educational Leadership presents a Living Legend award to a recipient who lives a life that inspires others, shows exemplary service to ICPEL as a model of genuine care, ethics and professionalism in service to education, dedication to research, teaching and service to the professions, and made significant contributions to the field of educational administration. This year's award went to Carol Mullen of Virginia Tech (formerly of USF Tampa) and to our own Art Shapiro of the USF College of Education.

Living living legends: Professor Shapiro as at the far left and Professor Mullen is second from the right.

If you are a UFF member with a major accomplishment, send the details to the Publicity Chair so we can let people know about it.


There is no chapter meeting tomorrow. The next chapter meeting will be on Friday, September 22, on USF Tampa in EDU 161. We will have lunch at the meeting. 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.