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UFF Biweekly
United Faculty of Florida -- USF System Chapter
26 September 2019
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A NEW CONTRACT (and consolidation)

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 Contract. The UFF and the Administration have agreed to a new contract that will come into force upon ratification. Once it is ratified, there will be a 1.5 % across-the-board pay raise for all faculty hired by 1 August 2019 and rated at least satisfactory last spring, and the Administration will have the authority to use as funds for discretionary raises the unused money for discretionary raises left over from 2016 - 2019, as well as 0.5 % of the current payroll. Time and place for voting will be announced shortly - watch for a Biweekly Extra announcing details. For more, see below or click here.
Meanwhile, USF President Currall presented an outline of a consolidation plan aimed at advancing the university in its mission, serving the community, and satisfying the legislature and the accreditors all at once. Reactions were mixed.
  • Consolidation. In two separate bills, the Legislature mandated that USF become a consolidated university with branch campuses, which many stakeholders take to mean a degree of autonomy. The accreditation agency has its own notions about how much autonomy is acceptable in a consolidated university. And there are serious issues about equitable treatment of faculty in the three campuses. For more on President Currall's proposal to thread the needle, see below or click here.
Incidentally, the statewide UFF Senate met over the September 14 & 15 weekend, and the next Biweekly will have a report. But one item to pencil in for your calendar: on November 6 & 7, our state affiliate, the Florida Education Association, will have its Fund Our Future bus in Hillsborough County - and on November 7 in the evening, it will be on USF Tampa campus. There will be more details as plans gel.

Chapter Meeting Tomorrow on USF Tampa in EDU 261

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.

Legislative Training next Monday

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.

$ 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 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).

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.

We are on Social Media

Yes, we are on social media.

If you want to help with media matters, contact the Communications Committee chair.


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:

All other terms and conditions of employment will remain the same. Here is the Memorandum of Understanding enumerating the changes in the current Collective Bargaining Agreement to produce the new contract.

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.


On September 10, USF President Currall presented a Consolidation Update envisioning "USF as One University Geographically Distributed," which was accompanied by a FAQ.

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.

Neither Currall's proposal, nor the reaction, should have been a surprise. Readers with long memories may recall that (as reported in the 8 February 2018 Biweekly), in the Fall of 2017, State Senator Jeff Brandes of St. Petersburg told then-USF President Judy Genshaft that the Legislature was planning to consolidate USF. This proposal did not seem to arise from the community, and from the beginning, many stakeholders were skeptical. State Representative Chris Sprowls of Palm Harbor, who apparently had a major role in all this, sought and got reassurance from then-USF Board of Trustees Chair Brian Lamb that this wasn't a mistake. As reported in the 6 September 2018 Biweekly, the rationale was that USF Tampa's pre-eminent status (and possibly pre-eminence money) would be shared by the other two campuses, and (hopefully) any consequent changes in the metrics would not compromise USF's pre-eminent status. At any rate, the statute (see page 12) said that, "the entirety of the University of South Florida, including all campuses and other component units of the university, operate under a single institutional accreditation from the SACSCOC."

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.

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.

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