The USF faculty union - the USF Chapter of the United Faculty of Florida (UFF) - represents YOU in bargaining a contract, while the USF Administration represents the USF Board of Trustees. UFF and the Administration have "tentatively agreed" to a new contract largely replicating the current one, but with raises as described below. This new contract will come into force once it is ratified by both the employees of the Bargaining Unit (most USF faculty and professionals) and by the USF Board of Trustees. Since the only changes concern raises, and since this contract lasts just over a year, and since there are time issues, UFF has chosen to ask faculty to vote in person on their home campuses.
The USF Chapter of the United Faculty of Florida will meet tomorrow Friday at noon on USF Tampa campus in the Education Building, EDU 261. Lunch is on us. On the agenda: more consolidation, and meeting locations this fall. Come and check us out.
This fall, we will meet on September 27, October 11 & 25, November 8 & 22, and December 6 in EDU 261 unless announced otherwise (one of these meetings will be on the USF Sarasota / Manatee campus). All meetings (and other events) are noted on the calendar on the UFF USF Website. Come and check us out.
The Polk Education Association - the K-12 teachers' for Polk County - is conducting a training session for union members interested in educating legislators, on September 30, from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm in Bartow. Anyone interested in attending should contact the UFF USF Secretary.
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 December 4, and only UFF members are eligible. In addition, no recipient of the Fall or Spring cycles of travel grants is eligible to apply. Recipients shall acknowledge UFF support and describe their activity in an article in the Biweekly. The six recipients shall be selected by lot at the December 6 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, Debra Sinclair (click here).
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.
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Late last week, the USF Chapter of the United Faculty of Florida (representing faculty and professionals at USF) and the USF Administration (representing the USF Board of Trustees) tentatively agreed to a new contract. This contract would come into force upon ratification, and is to last until 31 December 2020 - by which time USF should be consolidated (!) and the UFF and USF Administration should have bargained another contract to come into force by 1 January 2021.
This 14- to 15-month contract is identical to the current contract with the following modifications:
This contract will come into force once ratified by both the UFF USF employees and the USF Board of Trustees. The UFF USF employees will vote on ratification shortly: there will be a site on each campus, and times and places will be announced in a Biweekly Extra, so watch your inbox. All UFF USF employees, UFF members and non-members alike, are eligible to vote on ratification: after all, this contract covers all UFF USF employees. Please bring IDs when voting.
If the UFF USF employees vote in favor of ratification, then the USF Board of Trustees will vote. If the new contract is ratified by both the faculty and the board, it will come into force. The USF Chapter of the United Faculty of Florida strongly urges all UFF USF employees to vote on ratification, and to vote IN FAVOR of ratification.And then we can start bargaining the following contract as the consolidation situation becomes more clear.
The presentation was instantly controversial. The issue, reported Florida Politics, was that USF consolidation could roll back autonomy for St. Pete, Sarasota: The smaller branch campuses would have limited ability to set academic programming. Others reached the same conclusion when reviewing pages 11 - 16 of the presentation: the provost becomes the chief academic officer of the entire university (except, ahem, for USF Health), and the deans report to him on academic matters. The regional chancellors, as described on page 14, identify educational, research (and, one would presume, service) needs of the community, but otherwise the oversee community relations, support staff, fundraising, etc.
Enter USF's accreditor, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools - Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC). At the moment, all three campuses have their own accreditation, and consolidating them means limiting autonomy: according to SACS-COC, "If SACSCOC determines that an extended unit is autonomous to the extent that the control over that unit by the parent or its board is significantly impaired, SACS-COC may direct that the extended unit seek to become a separately accredited institution" - which USF could not do because of the consolidation legislation. And when USF administrators met with SACS-COC on 6 May 2018 (see notes of that meeting), SACS-COC refrained from requiring that USF Sarasota / Manatee and USF St. Petersburg be mere instructional sites, but insisted that USF would have uniform academic standards and alluded to restrictions on branch campus status for them (SACS-COC's definition of a branch campus is on page 2). SACS-COC insisted that in the consolidated university, there is at most one department or unit per academic field. However, "A branch campus must have its own faculty and administrative or supervisory organization and have its own budgetary and hiring authority," even though USFSP and USFSM "must specify that their SACS-COC accreditation is contingent on the continued accreditation of the new USF."
Perhaps nervous about what they had wrought, the Legislature mandated in House Bill 7071 that USF St. Petersburg and USF Sarasota / Manatee be branch campuses, and the Tampa Bay Times reported that autonomy on "retain autonomy over budgets, curriculum and hiring" was signed into law.
UFF sympathizes with the Administration and the Board as they continue to try to thread this needle, but UFF's primary concern is equitable treatment for USF faculty and professionals, in salary, in resources, in assignments and evaluations, etc., both during the consolidation process and in the resulting consolidated university. Meanwhile, we cannot help observing that this all started over pre-eminence ... and the Legislature has taken pre-eminence funding away ... so the Legislature's point for all this is not clear. And the Legislature did not allocate any resources to USF for undertaking this consolidation effort, which has consumed a lot of time and energy and distracted the Administration and the rest of USF from important matters. And the Legislature cut USF's budget. In the future, perhaps the Legislature might consider a more constructive approach towards higher education in the Tampa Bay Area.
Chapter Meeting tomorrow Friday, September 27, at noon, on USF Tampa campus, in EDU 261.
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.
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