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UFF Biweekly
United Faculty of Florida -- USF System Chapter
1 December 2022
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People Power!

This has been a hard year. UFF had already joined a lawsuit to throw out a bill to survey faculty and students about "viewpoint diversity" - and to bar shielding students from "expressive activities." Then this year, the Legislature passed and the governor signed several bills to shield students from expressive activities involving "wokeness" (and to dismiss faculty who inflicted "wokeness" on their students). The result was more litigation.

  • Looking Back at a Hard Year. Behind the problem of how to live with this new legislation was the deeper issue of where it was coming from. For more, see below or click here.
Meanwhile, there is the fundamental business of the union - bargaining and enforcing a contract. This year, USF Chapter bargained a contract providing for a $2,000 bonus for eligible employees, and a 3.5% raise this year for eligible employees and a 2% raise next year. Enforcing the contract means pursuing grievances for faculty whose contractual rights and privileges have been violated. While our union's state leadership and staff wrestle with the politicians in Tallahassee, faculty here need help more than ever. The recent leadership turnover and reorganization has led to a lot of problems - faculty in trouble as well as policy and administrative headaches.
  • Meanwhile, Back on Campus... While the Tallahassee spectacle reverberated at USF, the union continued its basic work of bargaining and enforcing a contract. For more, see below or click here.
And as we mentioned in last Sunday's Extra, the Board of Governors has reposted its proposed draft of a regulation regarding Post-Tenure Faculty Review, with a comment period extended to December 9: to submit a comment, go to the Proposed Regulations page, scroll down to Chapter 10, and submit your comment. Here is the article on this proposed regulation in the previous Biweekly. Hopefully, this means that the governors are particularly interested in what the public thinks of this regulation, and we would like the Board of Governors to hear from you.

Chapter Meeting Tomorrow an Hour Early at 11 am on Zoom

The USF Chapter of the United Faculty of Florida will meet tomorrow Friday at 11 am on Zoom. On the agenda: the Election Committee, post tenure review, government relations, 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.

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

Holiday Wish List

The United Faculty of Florida is joining the West Central Florida Federation of Labor in its annual Holiday Toy Drive for the Children's Home Society of Florida. Here is their Holiday Wish List.
You may leave toys with the USF Department of Mathematics & Statistics in CMC342 by Tuesday, December 6, when they will be delivered. And Happy Holidays!

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.


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.

Looking Back at a Hard Year

Several years ago, a sequence in Dilbert featured a politician who latched onto the threat of opera as a way of winning elections without doing any, you know, work.

In real life, families are in financial distress, the changing climate is driving immigration, here in Florida, we have a home insurance crisis, and so on. Bur perhaps since it was an election year, the Legislature and the Governor focused on the threat of ... "wokeness," although even legislators complained that the result was an unproductive legislative session. But the politicians did not miss a chance to kick educators around:

  • Stop WOKE. House Bill 7 on Individual Freedom requires that students be shielded from disturbing discussions of race or gender disparities - in direct contradiction with last year's House Bill 233, which bars shielding students from disturbing discussions of race or gender disparities. (Of course, press coverage suggests that HB 233 was intended to protect one political position while HB 7 was intended to suppress another.) HB 7 passed and has already collected multiple lawsuits (including one that the Florida Education Association is participating in) and is currently enjoined - although the state is appealing. Subsequently, the State University System approved a regulation implementing HB 7
  • Retiring Politicians' Employment Act. Florida Sunshine requires many government operations be open, and an exemption requires a 2/3 majority. Senate Bill 520 on Public Records and Public Meetings exempted college and university presidential searches from Florida Sunshine. It passed, was signed, and already Senator Ben Sasse is president of the University of Florida.
  • Sticking it to the Unions. Senator Dennis Baxley and former Representative Scott Plakon repeatedly introduced bills to prevent public agencies from collecting union dues by dues deduction (even if their contracts require it) and to require that any union representing public employees be decertified if only a minority of the employees it represents are dues-paying members (recertification involves winning a certification election; UFF has won recertification elections overwhelmingly in the past, but they are major distractions - which may be the point). Plakon has left the House, so now his wife Rachel Plakon joined Baxley in launching Senate Bill 1458, which the UFF managed to get killed in committee. (A similar bill affecting K-12 teachers passed years ago and is in force.)
  • Don't Say Gay The Parental Rights in Education Act bars K-12 teachers from discussing gender that is "not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards." After the law was passed, the Florida Department of Education started developing such standards - which, considering the Department's advice to school districts that they should ignore federal standards on LGBTQ discrimination, seems destined for court.
  • Shut the @&#$ Up. Senate Bill 7044 on Postsecondary Education was a bag full of ideological goodies. Some syllabi are to be posted online so political trolls can search through them for faculty to target, universities are to conduct a "post tenure faculty review" of each faculty member every five years (apparently as an enforcement mechanism of HB 7), and since the accrediting agencies are yapping too much, universities are to change their accrediting agencies. This one passed, was signed, and the State University System is considering a post tenure faculty review regulation implementing the law - as our union explores its options. Meanwhile, members of the public may post a comment on the regulation (scroll to Chapter 10), and the union has launched petition which it invites members of the public to read - and if so inclined, to sign.
  • Guns on Campus. Representative Anthony Sabatini proposed a bill to permit licensed gun owners to openly carry firearms on campus. The bill died in subcommittee and later Sabatini lost in the 2022 primary.
It's now December, a court has blocked the Stop WOKE Act and if there is enough blowback, perhaps the Board of Governors might reconsider post tenure review. But if winning elections is more important than actually governing, the emphasis on fighting "wokeness" worked - in Florida, even if it didn't work elsewhere.

So what do we face next year? In A Wrinkle in Time, as Meg, Calvin, and Charles face the ordeal ahead, Meg asks, "But what's going to happen?" To that, Mrs. Which replies:

"Wee wwill cconnttinnue tto ffightt!"

While the Florida Legislative (Regular) Session opens on March 7, much of the work is done in advance, in committees. Interim committees will meet Dec. 12 - 16 and Jan. 3 - 6, 17 - 20, 23 - 27, and February 6 - 10, 13 - 17, and 20 - 24. That is probably the best time to meet with legislators, for much of the effort after the Legislature convenes will be a mix of damage control and Whac-a-Mole. If you would like to participate, please contact our Government Relations chair.

Meanwhile, Back on Campus

The previous contract was supposed to be replaced by 1 January 2021, and after over a year of waiting, the USF Chapter held three townhall meetings on bargaining. But after the USF Administration (which represents the USF Board of Trustees) presented a problematic proposal, UFF brought a video camera into the bargaining session - as did the USF Administration - and after a few livestreamed sessions, a new contract was agreed to and ultimately ratified on June 15.

The new contract runs until the summer of 2024, and since bargaining takes months (at least), the Bargaining Committee has at most a year to compose proposals for a consolidated USF as well as anticipate proposals that the USF Administration is likely to derive from Tallahassee's new laws and regulations. If you are a UFF member, and you would like to help the Bargaining Committee, contact the UFF USF Chief Negotiator.

But if it is to be more than a stack of paper, the contract must be enforced. Administrators learn that life is easier abiding by the contract, but while Tallahassee politicians were wreaking havoc across the state, USF saw the resignation of the senior leadership in the provost's office while a new president transitioned from interim to permanent. All this while university administrators, faculty, and staff wrestled with a consolidation that the Tallahassee politicians had imposed on us. Among other things, this means that there are a lot of new administrators - and a lot of administrators with new or changed responsibilities. So, while many administrators proceed with care while on new terrain, a few do not and are making unhelpful - and occasionally grievable - decisions and demands on faculty. And the Grievance Committee is getting an unusual number of complaints.

If you are a UFF member and would like to learn about the grievance process and help your colleagues, please contact the Grievance Chair.

Finally, while UFF has made membership gains at USF, it is clear that in this legislative environment, UFF has to be a majority union. That means we need activists to recruit new members and, just as important, recruit current members to become active. If you are a UFF member and would like to talk to colleagues about the union, please contact the Membership Chair.

And if you are interested in joining UFF's Publicity Committee - which includes the website, social media, and this newsletter - please contact the Publicity Chair.

As the Nobel laureate Isadore Rabi told incoming Columbia University President Dwight Eisenhower, we are not employees of the university; we are the university. And defending our university may be up to us.


The next chapter meeting will be tomorrow Friday, December 1, at 11 am on Zoom, and for the Zoom link, contact the Chapter Secretary. All UFF USF employees are welcome.

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.