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UFF Biweekly EXTRA
United Faculty of Florida -- USF Chapter
11 December 2021
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A Statement by UFF USF President Arthur Shapiro to the USF Board of Trustees

The Board met on December 7 and the video is online. This is how it went:

  • A football stadium. After the student presentation, there was a presentation on the proposed football stadium. The presentation runs from 20:00 minutes to 35:30 minutes in the video, and the presenters claimed that the stadium could be built within five to seven years for $250 to $400 million. For more, see the University News article on USF leadership provides on-campus football stadium update to the Board of Trustees.
  • Raises for employees not represented by unions. President Rhea Law outlined her proposals for raises and bonuses for some USF employees not represented by any unions; this was the same proposal outlined in her letter to the USF Community. (Incidentally, if the Administration and the Board had wanted to include USF employees represented by unions in this proposal, the mechanism - a "memorandum of understanding" - is quite straightforward and has been used repeatedly in the past.) Her statement runs from 35:30 to 38:30 in the video.
Then UFF USF President Arthur Shapiro spoke to the Board, from 42:30 to 48:00 on the video, and this is what he said. Incidentally, the "CBA" is the Collective Bargaining Agreement, i.e. the contract between USF employees in the Bargaining Unit and the USF Board. A "MOU" is a Memorandum of Understanding that adds something to the contract.

Chairman Weatherford, President Law, BOT Members, and Colleagues,

Thank you for the opportunity to represent the views of the UFF in support of negotiations for a continuing Collective Bargaining Agreement, something that USF and UFF have had for decades. Obviously, good business that spends millions of dollars deserves a good contract. UFF would like the CBA to be exemplary and the best in Florida.

Currently, UF is in court and a public debate over faculty rights while UCF has almost daily newspaper articles about hidden monies. Are those the directions that USF wants to go?

Here’s a short timeline:

  • The current CBA expired on December 31, 2020.
  • Negotiations were to begin no later than August 1, 2020.
  • The first bargaining session occurred on December 11, 2020 (almost a year ago). UFF presented 24 article proposals.
  • The next bargaining session was held on July 9, 2021 where the USF BOT presented proposals (seven months after UFF’s proposals).
  • A session was held on August 20, 2021. An offer of a 2% bonus was withdrawn.
  • One session was postponed by USF.
  • The latest session was held on November 5, 2021. UFF has now presented 30 proposals; USF has presented one "package proposal-take it or leave it" of 1% based on Annual Evaluations – and all other offers depend USF’s discretion. There has been no discussion or response to UFF’s proposals.
Some of the BOT members are experienced in business. Would you build a building without knowing the costs or timeline or any details? Would businesses negotiate without a discussion of contract articles – all designed to improve a contract build on years of experience and precedent.

UFF has negotiated these contracts with USF for decades, and improved the Collective Bargaining Agreement to meet the changing times, economy, and changing university. UFF was able to negotiate a ratified MOU in response to the COVID19 crisis.

UFF is legally representing faculty per the Constitution of Florida. I just wanted to say that the current representatives from USF are slow in making proposals, and are unresponsive to any of our proposals, and UFF members are increasingly vocal on the lack of response by the USF team.

UFF’s proposals are aimed at reasonable issues in a university changing due to distance learning, summer programming, accreditation, family rights, analytics, consolidation, equity, faculty assignments, and outside employment. USF employees also deserve more compensation – they have worked tirelessly to move this institution’s ranking and metrics forward – and that work was done mostly by faculty! It is past time to bargain a contract that UFF can put in front of our faculty for their vote.

Other faculty issues:

Without rehashing the issues of closing the College of Education, selling the Forest Preserve, and building a football stadium; decisions by the USF Administration and BOT that affect the University are of concern to our members, and they continue to support their union and Faculty Senate to make transparent decisions that are well-founded – not impulsive mandates or internal changes based on misleading perspectives.

The USF administration is well aware that UFF has regular meetings with the President’s Representatives (as spelled out in the CBA) in order to reach informal resolutions and to resolve issues of mutual concern. In fact, most of the UFF proposed article changes to the CBA directly resulted from those meetings. Again, it is simply wrong to avoid getting a contract that could be the best in the state – a model of clear language for the employees that rewards their efforts.

UFF has entered into agreements to form committees in past contracts to explore faculty evaluation, and inventions/works. The package proposal has not addressed some of the topics that continue to come up at our informal meetings or even to explore ways that problems can be solved.

UFF stands ready to negotiate in good faith, and reach an agreement that faculty can support. I hope you all have a happy and healthy holiday season. Thank you for the opportunity to present our perspective.

All proposals presented thus far in bargaining are posted on our bargaining page. A bargaining session has been scheduled for December 17 after a special chapter meeting at 12 noon (see below).

Then from 48:15 to 1:29:30, the Board reviewed the latest iteration of the Strategic Plan.

Chapter Meeting Next Week on Zoom

We will have a special chapter meeting next week on Friday, December 17, at 12 noon, to select an election committee (for the chapter election in spring) and consider the Critical Race Theory situation, discuss bargaining, and deal with current events. Any employee in the Bargaining Unit may attend, but you must have an invitation: contact the Chapter Secretary to get one. The next regular chapter meeting will be on January 14.

Meetings and events are posted on the Events Calendar of the UFF USF Website. Come and check us out.

Join UFF Today!

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. Here is the membership form. Come and join the movement.

USF United Support Fund for Food Pantries

Many of our students are struggling during this crisis, and the USF Foundation is supporting the USF Food Pantries to help out. They are accepting non-perishable donations, but one can also make monetary donations for the pantries at St. Petersburg, Sarasota / Manatee, and Tampa.


Next Chapter Meeting Friday, December 17, at 12 noon, via Zoom: for an invitation, contact the Chapter Secretary.

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 UFF USF members.

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