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UFF Biweekly
United Faculty of Florida -- USF System Chapter
23 August 2018
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A Brass Ring for USF

An old-fashioned carousel - those in use a century ago - had a dispenser from which an adroit rider could grab a ring. Most rings were iron, but every once and a while a brass ring turned up, redeemable for a free ride or a prize. USF just grabbed a brass ring this summer, when Phi Beta Kappa agreed that USF should have a chapter here.

  • Phi Beta Kappa. Founded in 1776, Phi Beta Kappa is the nation's pre-eminent honor society. It's primary concern is undergraduate education (in the liberal arts), and acquiring a chapter is a sign that one has arrived. For details, see below or click here.
Meanwhile, this academic year we are bargaining a new contract as the current contract is supposed to be replaced next summer.
  • Bargaining a New Contract. From salaries to assignments to effects of consolidation, there is a full agenda for bargaining a new contract this year. See below or click here.
Meanwhile, the raises stipulated in the current contract will soon appear in paychecks. The increase comes into effect on September 7, and appears in the September 28 paycheck; employees should receive notice of their raises before September 7. The average raise will be 2 %, but it will be based on merit alone, so it will vary depending on the annual evaluations.

Two additional items:

  • The UFF USF Website is back up! We apologize for the inconvenience. We have reorganized it to be more accessible by phone. Meanwhile, the site we used as the emergency site has reverted to its old function as a portal to faculty organizations. There are still a lot of wrinkles to clear up (and if you find one, please let us know). Check us out.
  • The primary election is next week on Tuesday. As observed in the previous Biweekly, half a century ago, over half of eligible voters would show up at midterm primaries. Nowadays, less than 20 % of eligible voters show up, and then nonvoters complain about the choice in November. UFF strongly encourages all eligible and registered voters to vote: for information about voting in your county, consult your friendly neighborhood supervisor of elections:
Finally, Beloit College once again starts the new academic year with a reminder that that the incoming class is 18 years old, and therefore as far as they can remember, people have always been living in space, the United States has always been in Afghanistan, same-sex marriage has always been legal somewhere, Victor Borge and Charles Schultz have always been dead, Wikipedia has always been available (much to the horror of traditionalists), "Bipartisanship is soooo last century," and most of all, the Mindset List has always been at Beloit College. The Mindset List is moving; the end of an era. Maybe now, bipartisanship will come back.


Chapter Meeting Tomorrow in Temple Terrace (near USF Tampa)

The USF Chapter of the United Faculty of Florida will meet tomorrow Friday at noon at CDB Restaurant at 5104 E. Fowler Ave., just east of USF Tampa. There will be pizza (and salad). On the agenda: bargaining, consolidating USF, recruiting new members, and political action (this is an election year). Come and check us out.

This fall, we will meet at noon on August 24, September 7 & 21, October 5 & 19, November 2 & 16 & 30. There will be one meeting on USF St. Petersburg and one on USF Sarasota / Manatee; the rest will be on or near USF Tampa. The locations of the subsequent meetings are to be determined. Come and check us out.

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); 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 group 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.

Phi Beta Kappa

On December 5, 1776, five students of the College of William and Mary met in a tavern in Williamsburg, then the capitol of Virginia, to launch a student society devoted to discussions of such topics as "The Justice of African Slavery," "Whether a wise State hath any interest nearer at Heart than the Education of the Youth," "Whether anything is more dangerous to Civil Liberty in a free State than a standing army in time of Peace", "Whether any form of Government is more favorable to public virtue than a Commonwealth," and so on. The society was called the Societas Philosophiae (S.P.), with the motto Φιλοσοφι'α βι'ου κυβερνητης (which Michael Lombardi translates as "philosophy [love of wisdom], the guide to life."

Freemasonry was then all the rage - many founding fathers from Ben Franklin to John Hancock to George Washington were masons - and the S.P. was launched as a secret and rather masonic society. But with the revolution and a religious revival and paranoia about masons, within a few decades the S.P. evolved into the honor society ΦBK. And thanks to misplaced documentation, the society even forgot what the acronyms S.P. and ΦBK stood for.

Move forward 242 years, and Phi Beta Kappa is the nation's pre-eminent honor society, with chapters in about 290 colleges and universities (for comparison, the Association of American Colleges and Universities has nearly 1,400 members while the Council for Higher Education Accreditation lists over 7,600 accredited institutions in the USA). Students at institutions with chapters may be invited to join if they satisfy Phi Beta Kappa's rather high entrance criteria. Phi Beta Kappa brags that members include 17 U.S. presidents, 40 U.S. supreme court justices, and over 140 Nobel Laureates.

On August 3, Phi Beta Kappa created four new chapters, including one at USF, which is now the seventh institution in Florida to have a chapter. Phi Beta Kappa Secretary Frederick M. Lawrence said, "With the establishment of these chapters, we are delighted to acknowledge the accomplishments of these institutions in fostering robust environments where the liberal arts and sciences flourish and freedom of inquiry and expression is essential. We look forward to a lively partnership."

There are some duties that go along with this partnership. For example, while almost all students at older institutions (with older Phi Beta Kappa chapters) who are invited to join do join, the New York Times observed that at large state universities, half or more invited students declined the invitation - often out of ignorance of the honor. (Other honor societies have similar problems.) It is important that students (and, ahem, their parents) understand the significance of these invitations.

USF now has one of the oldest and most respectable of brass rings.

Bargaining a New Contract

Although the United Faculty of Florida has many purposes, from the legal point of view the purpose of the union is to bargain and enforce the contract. While contract enforcement is a continuous activity (contract enforcement means identifying, pursuing, and resolving contract violations - and yes, since supervisors are only human, the contract does get violated), bargaining comes up only when we need a new contract. But bargaining a new contract moves front and center when we need a new contract. We need a new contract at least once every three years, for Florida Statute XXXI.447.309(b)(5) says that the prescribed term of a labor contract will not be more than three years. Our contract, the 2016 - 2019 Collective Bargaining Agreement, is supposed to be superseded by a new contract by 7 August 2019, and bargaining the successor contract is supposed to start by Oct. 1.

The contract determines conditions of employment, and overrules USF regulations and policies, including the faculty handbook as well as college and departmental regulations and policies. It provides for academic freedom and nondiscrimination; it regulates appointments, assignments, and evaluations; it regulates non-reappointments, layoffs, and tenure; it defines discipline and establishes a grievance process; it deals with inventions, works, and outside activity; it determines salary and benefits (including sabbaticals). It is a serious matter.

October 1 is just over a month away, so it is time to get going. On the agenda tomorrow: plans for bargaining. Bring your concerns and desires.


Chapter Meeting tomorrow Friday, August 24, at noon, at CDB Restaurant, 5104 E. Fowler Ave., Temple Terrace.

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.

Our website is http://www.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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