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UFF Biweekly
United Faculty of Florida -- USF System Chapter
1 November 2018
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When Investigations Turn Bad

Your chair or supervisor would like to talk. Something has come up - perhaps it is an investigation being initiated - but whatever it is, it's something best just discussed one-to-one, no reason for a fuss. But during this discussion, it starts turning confrontational, perhaps with steps that your chair or supervisor will take, or instruct you to take, as a result of what your chair or supervisor alleges are your actions or the results of your actions. You are on the spot. What do you do?

In this issue, we take a look at what your rights are. But first...

  • LAST CALL TO VOTE!! There is a very important election coming up, and your union strongly urges you to participate. For more, see below or click here.
Back to your little chat with your chair or supervisor.
  • Investigations and Discipline. The contract says that an employee in the unit has the right to "union representation" at a meeting with a supervisor "that may reasonably be expected to result in disciplinary action." For what this means and how you can exercise this contractual right, see below or click here.
And the UFF USF Biweekly continues to run short accounts by recipients of the travel scholarships, starting with this issue. And the Chapter has decided to continue the travel scholarship program this fall (for details, see the announcement below).
  • Portraits from the Korean Diaspora. Art and Art History professor Joo Yeon Woo won an award for work displayed in New York. For details, see below or click here.


Chapter Meeting Tomorrow on USF Sarasota / Manatee

The USF Chapter of the United Faculty of Florida will meet tomorrow Friday at noon on USF Sarasota / Manatee in room B229. There will be sandwiches, snacks, drinks, and sweets. On the agenda: bargaining, consolidating USF, recruiting new members, political action (this is an election year), and the sexual harassment quiz. Come join the movement.

This fall, we will meet on November 2 on USF Sarasota / Manatee and on November 16 on USF Tampa in EDU 261. 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 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).

$ 500 Travel Grants for UFF Members

The USF Chapter of the UFF will award six $ 500 Travel Scholarships for next spring and summer. This will be for travel for participation in a professional activity. All applications are due by November 27, and only UFF members are eligible. In addition, no recipient of the Fall 2017 or Spring 2018 cycles of travel grants is eligible to apply. The five recipients shall be selected by lot at the November 30 chapter meeting. For more information, see the Travel Scholarship Flyer.

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 (click here).

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.


ELECTION DAY IS NEXT TUESDAY!!!!! Voting by mail is almost over, and early voting soon will be. UFF strongly encourages all eligible and registered voters to vote. For more information, consult the Florida Division of Elections or, for information about voting in your county, consult your friendly neighborhood supervisor of elections:

Early voting days may vary county-by-county, but all counties will have early voting during October 27 - November 3. In particular, Hillsborough County will have early voting at the USF Yuengling Center October 22 - November 4, from 7 am to 7 pm.

This November, the ballot is very long because it is full of very consequential races and referenda. We strongly recommend that everyone take the entire ballot very seriously. Of course, we have our own recommendations (which we are not permitted to share via this newsletter) (except to ask everyone to support public education), but we also encourage everyone to do their own research, such as visiting the websites of candidates and referenda, as well as major non-partisan sites for information purposes:

The only way to hold the government accountable is to hold it accountable, and that means showing up for the election.

Investigations versus Discipline

The Administration - which includes your supervisor - may conduct investigations into issues involving your performance or your activities if they are of legitimate interest to the Administration. Such an investigation may involve talking to you. One difficulty is that some supervisors shift from investigatory to disciplinary mode in the middle of the conversation. Employees should be aware of one option they can take, even in the middle of a conversation: they can ask for a union representative to be present. This means suspending the conversation, contacting UFF (to contact us, click here or go here), and arranging a continuation of the meeting. But employees do have that right.

In Section 16.3 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, on page 36, it says, "The employee has a right to union representation during investigatory questioning that may reasonably be expected to result in disciplinary action." Notice the use of the word "during": if you become the target of loaded investigatory questioning, you do have the right to have a union representative present at the time of the questioning, even if that means suspending the meeting.

This does not mean that if the meeting (or subsequent discipline) leads to a grievance, you have the right to union representation for that grievance. Only union members have that right, and a union member must be a member at the time that employee knew or should have known of the action leading to that grievance. What the contract does say is that you have the right to have a union representative present at a meeting in which discipline lurks in the shadows.

And whether or not a meeting with a supervisor leads to a union audience, it is a good idea to keep notes of what happened at such a meeting. If the matter ever comes up again, documentation is a useful deterrent to faulty memories and fake news.

Portraits from the Korean Diaspora

Joo Yeon Woo is a professor of Art and Art History at USF Tampa. She received a $ 500 UFF travel scholarship to attend the Art, Humanity and Love (AHL) Foundation's Contemporary Art Awards Ceremony in New York last November, where she received the Bronze Award for her Gyopo Portraits ("Gyopo" being a reference to the Korean diaspora). We congratulate her on her award, and here is her account.

My research art projects What's My Name? and Gyopo Portraits were exhibited at the AHL Foundation and Muriel Guèpin Gallery in New York City. What's My Name? comprises fourteen photographs of the binders that many gyopo families use to store documents for visas, green cards, and permanent-residence applications, each folder representing one family. Gyopo Portraits comprises embossed paper works presenting Korean faces collected from Korean ethnic newspapers circulating in the United States or from interviews I conducted. This new series is a continual exploration of hybridized identity in the Korean diaspora, that is, how Korean immigrants feel anxiety and re-conceptualize a sense of ethnic homogeneity and cultural identity when they experience discontinuity of place and a sense of otherness.

Receiving the UFF Travel Scholarship facilitated my trip to New York. Attending the exhibition's closing reception, in particular, allowed me to attend the curator's lectures that addressed the works of all participating artists, including mine. It provided an unparalleled forum for receiving feedback about my new projects. Participation in these events further enhance communication with graduate students enrolled in my undergraduate and graduate seminar courses. As I expend my connections and activities through the AHL foundation and archival exhibition, I will be able to share latest news and experiences in New York art scenes with my students, most of whom have had minimal exposure to the major art scenes. My students will benefit from my networks when they look for the exhibition opportunities or move their artistic career to the New York art community.


Chapter Meeting tomorrow Friday, November 2, at noon, on USF Sarasota / Manatee, in B229.

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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