The United Faculty of Florida is a "local" of a larger union, the Florida Education Association (FEA), which represents K-20 teachers and staff across Florida, and has over 150,000 members. The primary policy-making body of the FEA is the Delegate Assembly, which meets annually in October to hear reports, set policy, and listen to visiting speakers. A lot of legislation affecting education was passed recently, and more may be on the way, so speakers encouraged attendees to encourage everyone to vote because there is a lot at stake. And there are only nineteen days until the election.
For more information for voters, see the For Voters page in the website for the Florida Division of Elections. And you can look up your county supervisor of elections here. Remember: we get the government we elect, so the burden is on us.
The USF Chapter of the United Faculty of Florida will meet tomorrow Friday at 12 noon on USF Sarasota / Manatee in room B336; it will also be hybrid on Zoom. There will be sandwiches, fruit, drinks, and sweets starting at 11:30. On the agenda: Sarasota / Manatee issues, post tenure review, the provost search, getting out the vote, and more. 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.
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.
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.
Yes, we are on social media.
Florida is next to last in education funding, Florida's education legislation is not only nationally but internationally notorious, Florida's educators are being maligned by Floridian politicians, and unsurprisingly Florida is facing critical shortages in teaching and support staff. All this lent an air of urgency to this year's Delegate Assembly.
The Florida Education Association is the joint state affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association, and leaders from both national unions spoke at the Assembly. NEA Vice President Princess Moss said that we should look for long-term solutions and that, "You are the last one standing between public education and those who would destroy it."
On a similar note, Liz Shuler, president of the AFL-CIO (of which the AFT itself is an affiliate) visited, and spoke of union relief efforts in southern Florida. "It is the labor movement that is there every single time."
The official business of the Delegate Assembly is to pass a budget and consider policy proposals from the Executive Cabinet and the membership. The United Faculty of Florida presented two of the 28 policy proposals presented to the Assembly.
Other proposals passed included two on excessive testing, one advocating student safety and inclusion, one to protect K-12 teachers who take on student interns from unreasonable evaluations, one to petition the Florida Department of Education to waive its requirement that schools that shut down during Hurricane Ian make up lost days by remaining open during some of winter and summer break, one to promote access to mental health care (a recent Rand study, Teacher and Principal Stress Running at Twice the Rate of General Working Public, Hindering Pandemic Recovery, and a previous study, Job-Related Stress Threatens the Teacher Supply, indicate a mental health crisis among educators) (similar problems have surfaced in higher education), and encouraging charter school teachers to form unions (a recent study suggests that students at schools whose teachers formed or joined a union did a bit better).
U.S. Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska probably is best known as a longstanding critic of former President Trump who was ultimately censured by his state party for his comments regarding the president's second impeachment trial. But before entering the Senate, he was president of Midland Lutheran College (now Midland University). Midland was in serious trouble [USF login required] when he became president, and he is widely credited with turning it around with a mix of marketing (he made it into a university and adding sports), resulting in increased enrollment and donations - but graduation rates did not improve.
He also abolished tenure there.
He has a reputation as an education reformer, but it is easier to see what he is against than what he is for, other than marketing.
He is now the sole finalist in Gainesville's presidential search, Politico reports that the fix was in for hiring him, and certainly the new law exempting university presidential searches from Florida Sunshine facilitated making him the sole finalist.
There is a lot of unhappiness over him being the sole finalist. UF students were outraged [USF login required], in part because of Sasse's positions on gay marriage and his actions on tenure at Midland. One of the sponsors of new law exempting presidential searches from the Sunshine said that this is not what the Legislature intended [USF login required]. And former President Trump said that UF would regret hiring Sasse [USF login required]. The ball is now in the Board's court.
The next chapter meeting will be tomorrow Friday, October 21, at 12 noon, on USF Sarasota / Manatee in B336. At 11:30, there will be sandwiches, fruit, drinks and sweets. It will be hybrid on Zoom, and for the Zoom link, contact the Chapter Secretary. All UFF USF employees are welcome.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.
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 email@example.com.