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UFF Biweekly
United Faculty of Florida -- USF System Chapter
25 August 2022
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If You Get in Trouble


If You Get in Trouble

This summer, a new contract was ratified and is now in force. Hard copies should be arriving at home addresses shortly. The contract determines the terms and conditions of our employment - from academic freedom and nondiscrimination to assignments and evaluations, from salary and benefits to layoff and promotion. The contract supersedes university policies, regulations, and rules, and is enforceable by law.

But the contract is just a stack of paper. The union not only bargains the contract, it enforces it, partly through regular consultations, but also through a grievance process mandated by the contract.

  • The Grievance Process. A grievance is a formal complaint that the contract has been violated, specifying the violation and proposing a resolution. For details, see below or click here.
The writers' advocacy organization PEN America has issued a report on America's Censored Classrooms. They report that this year so far thirty-six states have introduced 137 "educational gag order" bills (as opposed to 54 last year), although only seven have been passed so far this year - two of these in Florida. PEN America also contends that, "Taken as a whole, the overwhelming trend in 2022 has been toward punitiveness." This is an election year, so this legislation may be for show, but it is a sign that some politicians think that this legislation will play well in November.
  • Target Practice. Florida is mentioned thirty times in the report and it is the only state to have passed two of these laws. So where are we right now?. To find out, see below or click here.
In the previous issue, in the article on Retention, we observed that (among other things), the number of employees in the Bargaining Unit in midsummer was only 1,469. There are now 1,588 employees in the Bargaining Unit: Welcome to USF, New Faculty!

Chapter Meeting Tomorrow at 12 Noon on Zoom

The USF Chapter of the United Faculty of Florida will meet tomorrow Friday at 12 noon on Zoom. On the agenda: ***. And here are the minutes for the previous meeting.

Any employee in the Bargaining Unit may attend, but to Zoom in you must have an invitation: contact the Chapter Secretary to get one.

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.

UFF New Member Rebate

A new contract between USF faculty in the UFF USF Bargaining Unit and the USF Board of Trustees was recently approved by the faculty by an overwhelming majority.

UFF negotiates on your behalf with regard to terms and conditions of employment. Having more members represented by UFF allows your union to negotiate from a position of strength. Therefore, we are asking for your support as a new UFF member. To facilitate your obligation as a dues-paying member, UFF is offering a rebate of $500 to 10 new members who join UFF. We will send checks to the first 10 membership applications (based on postmark date or date of electronic submission) sent to the UFF-USF Membership Committee after 8:00 AM on Monday, August 29:

  • Via the online form, or
  • By downloading and filling in the form (rtf document) and submitting it:
    • By email: send it to uff@ourusf.org, or
    • By mail: send it to Membership Committee, United Faculty of Florida, 30238 USF Holly Drive, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL 33620.
Click here to read about membership benefits.

Rebates will be issued on or around May 30, 2023 to qualifying members who have remained members in good standing for the entire academic year. Rebates will be issued for $500 or the dues paid for the year, whichever is less.

UFF thanks you for your support at a time when there are significant challenges for higher education.


75 days to the general election. The deadline to register to vote in the general election is October 11, the deadline to request a mail ballot is October 29 (although it is probably wise to request a mail ballot before the mail ballots start going out on September 24) and the general election itself is on November 8. For more information, see the For Voters webpage at the Florida Division of Elections website. Don't forget to vote!


One way that scholars serve the community is to provide counsel, not only to VIPs but also to the public. One way for scholars to provide counsel to the public is to publish in major media outlets. To assure the right of USF faculty to offer counsel to the public, Section 5.2 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement says that "Academic Freedom is the freedom of an employee to discuss all relevant matters in the classroom, to explore all avenues of scholarship, research, and creative expression, to speak freely on all matters of university governance, and to speak, write, or act as an individual, all without institutional discipline or restraint."

Earlier this month, two UFF members published opinion columns in the Tampa Bay Times.

We encourage scholars to share their expertise with the public - after all, that is one of the purposes of a university. Incidentally, guest columnists rarely get to choose their own headlines.


If you have been the victim of a violation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement or the recent Memorandum of Understanding, 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 Grievances Page.

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.

We are on Social Media

Yes, we are on social media.

  • We have a Facebook group: see United Faculty of Florida at USF. 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, and the moderator will invite every UFF member that asks to join. Non-members are welcome to look (but you need a Facebook account to do that). So check us out.
  • We have a blog: see The USF Faculty Blog. This has news items as they come up.
  • We are twitter-pated: follow us on Twitter via @UffUsf.
  • We even have a You-Tube channel: check out our videos
If you want to help with media matters, contact the Communications Committee chair.

The Grievance Process

The United Faculty of Florida bargains and enforces the contract between the faculty and professionals in the UFF USF Bargaining Unit and the USF Board of Trustees. While part of this enforcement consists of consultations with the USF Administration, an important part of enforcement consists of handling grievances.

A grievance is a formal complaint that the contract has been violated. The grievance form template asks for the specific article(s) and section(s) of the contract that were violated, what that violation consisted of, and what the Administration should do about it. Notice that a grievance is not a complaint that an administrator has been unjust or stupid; injustice and stupidity are not grievable. Only contract violations are grievable.

On the second page of the template is a reality check. UFF members have the right to union representation (for free), but non-members are on their own or get to pay for a lawyer. The UFF is not a charity, and will represent an employee only if that employee is a member and was a member at the time of the contract violation being grieved.

There is one important restriction that is not mentioned in the template, so we turn to Article 20 of the contract on Grievance Procedure and Arbitration. In Subsection 20.8A(1), it says that a grievance must be filed within thirty days of the violation being grieved. So, it is unwise to wait in hope that the problem can be resolved quietly without a grievance; in fact, what the contract calls Step 1 starts with an "informal resolution status."

If informality doesn't resolve the issue - or if both sides decide to skip the informalities - the issue is heard before a "University representative," usually Academic Affairs. Hopefully, that resolves the issue. If not, UFF can escalate the grievance to Step 2, which involves more formalities. Hopefully, that resolves the issue. If not, UFF can take the matter to arbitration before a neutral arbitrator.

Grievances are handled by the Grievance Committee, which consists of colleague volunteers with training, experience, and access to lawyers hired by our state affiliate, the Florida Education Association, which represents K-20 teachers across the state. (Lawyers are expensive, and paid for by union dues.) Anyone can contact the Grievance Committee via their webpage form, but the Grievance Committee can only represent UFF members, so join today.

This summer, we have had a lot of grievances on salary equity and assignments in regional campuses, but the Grievance Committee likes to keep a tab on things, so if something comes up, let them know.

Target Practice

In the 21 July 2022 Biweekly, we observed that there is a lot of pushback against legislation restricting the academic freedom of K-20 teachers in Florida - including restrictions on higher education faculty. The University of Florida has been the primary target in the university system, and the UFF produced a video on the UF Chapter of UFF receiving the Rosena J. Willis Memorial Award from the National Education Association for defending academic freedom at Gainesville.

One problem law is House Bill 7, which was sold as an "anti-woke" bill that specifically targeted "critical race theory." (Critical Race Theory is concerned with the legal, cultural, social, and other structural supports for practices with racially discriminatory consequences, but in popular culture it has morphed into something more ambiguous, and there are efforts across the country [USF login required] to restrict what politicians and pundits take to be "critical race theory.") House Bill 7 restricts college curricula by enumerating a list of ill-defined politically sensitive positions that teachers are not to take in class (see the list posted by the Florida State University System Board of Governors).

House Bill 7 is enforced by cutting the budget of any institution that does not comply, which means that administrators are expected to get creative in enforcing this law. In Florida, public university administrators serve at the pleasure of a board of political appointees - and this political reality (regardless of the legal niceties) was recently underlined when the University of Florida Board arranged for the dismissal of their Dean of the UF Honors College. We do not know what political pressures will be brought to bear on administrations of Florida universities, but considering recent events, we can expect pressure.

The recent legal developments are that a judge has blocked implementation of House Bill 7 - for now - and the ACLU, the ACLU of Florida, the Legal Defense Fund, and Ballard Spahr have filed a lawsuit on behalf of Florida educators and students against House Bill 7.

This is merely one of several battles going on, and we can use all the help we can get. We encourage all employees in the UFF USF Bargaining Unit to come to our chapter meeting tomorrow, Friday, at noon. Contact the Chapter Secretary for a Zoom invitation.


The next chapter meeting will be tomorrow Friday, August 26, at 12:00, on Zoom. All UFF USF members are welcome: for the Zoom link, contact the Chapter Secretary.

All UFF members are invited to attend. Non-members are also invited to come and check us out. To get the link to Zoom, contact the Chapter Secretary. 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.

If you do not want to receive the UFF Biweekly, you can unsubscribe below or contacting the Chapter Secretary. If you do not receive the Biweekly, but want to, contact the Chapter Secretary.