United Faculty of Florida -- USF System Chapter
21 February 2013
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The USF Chapter of the United Faculty of Florida is a democracy, and its members elect its president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, and representatives to its affiliates: the senators representing the Chapter to the statewide UFF and the delegates representing the UFF to the Florida Education Association. All UFF members and only UFF members may vote in the election.
The period for nominations, and for joining the Chapter in time to vote in the election, is over. Now comes the election.
The candidates, and the offices they are running for, are posted online. UFF members should receive, by first class mail to their home address, a letter with a website and a secret code. To protect the secrecy of the ballot, the website knows the code, but the Election Committee does not. Once a UFF member receives the letter, the member should go to that website and then use the code to access the ballot, and then vote. The election will run from March 1 to March 10, and subsequently results will be announced. Newly elected officers and representatives will assume their positions on April 1.
If you are a dues-paying UFF member and you do not receive a letter from us by March 1, please contact the Election Chair, Lisa Rapp. And don't forget to vote!
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. AND YOU CAN JOIN NOW AND AFTER A TERM AS A DUES PAYING MEMBER, YOU WILL RECEIVE A $ 100 REBATE. Come and join the movement.
IN THIS ISSUE
BARGAINING CONTINUES AS TALLAHASSEE TURNS
The traditional purpose of the United Faculty of Florida is to bargain and enforce a contract. The current contract is due to be succeeded this year, so negotiations for the next contract have begun. Meanwhile, the legislature is already writing bills for the upcoming session.
- Bargaining Update. For a letter from the UFF USF Bargaining Committee, see below.
- Tallahassee's "Reforms". At the UFF Senate Meeting nearly two weeks ago, senators were told of new efforts to "reform" us efforts targeting college faculty "tenure" and retirement. For more, see below.
- Scott Changes His Tune. Governor Scott has proposed increasing educational spending. The Legislature is not impressed. For more, see below.
AN UPDATE FROM THE BARGAINING COMMITTEE
from Dr. Robert F. Welker, Chief Negotiator
Dear In-Unit Colleagues:
Some have characterized collective bargaining as a series of baby steps hopefully
culminating in a satisfactory result. In July, 2009, the UFF made two proposals to the USF/BOT:
At the collective bargaining session on February 15, 2013, the USF/BOT offered to add
gender identification and expression to Article 6 Nondiscrimination and to appoint a system-wide
committee with the UFF given membership on said committee to explore the subject of tuition
assistance for spouses and children of bargaining unit members. The UFF accepted both
- To add gender identification and gender expression to Article 6
- To allow an employee to assign all or a portion of his/her right to enroll in up to
six (6) credit hours of instruction per term (Fall Spring or Summer) to his/her
spouse, children or children of his/her spouse.
The USF/BOT rejected all but a portion of one of the six proposals previously presented
to it by the UFF in 2012. The USF/BOT did accept the UFFs proposal to specify that the thirty
(30) day period during which a grievance is placed in informal resolution status begins on the
date the grievance is filed.
The UFF looks forward to continuing collective bargaining with the USF/BOT which
will probably resume after Spring break when the agenda of the Legislature and Governor will
begin to become more definite.
The UFF continues to work with the university administration on many issues of concern
to in-unit members which may not currently be a subject of collective bargaining.
Bob Welker, UFF/USF Chief Negotiator
UFF Senate Report:
The UFF Senate is the primary policy-making body for the (statewide) United Faculty of Florida, and it met over the Feb. 9, 10 weekend. This time the primary activity was a sequence of workshops, but there were several reports on what's going on in Tallahassee.
- The FEA state office recently told UFF officials that as of Feb. 15, legislators had filed 879 bills. Among these is House bill 7011, which would require new hires to join the "Investment Plan" of the Florida Retirement System complicating the recruitment of quality faculty and jeopardizing the defined benefits plan many employees are now on. At a recent House State Affairs Committee meeting, legislators were reminded that over the last three years, the legislature itself has taken over $ 12 billion out of the retirement trust fund in order to subsidize state and public agency contributions to that same trust fund.
- While the legislature was engaged in circular accounting, the effort to ... reform ... tenure seems to have been farmed out to the boards. The State Board of Education is considering changing the rule for continuing contracts for college faculty. Like Florida K-12 teachers, Florida college faculty do not have "tenure"; they have "continuing contracts" that must be renewed. Under the current rule, college faculty are protected during the life of a contract, and even during renewal. Readers may recall that in 2011, legislators considered but ultimately were badgered into dropping a bill to eviscerate college faculty protections. (FEA did a lion's share of the badgering.)
This is a new effort, but instead of being pushed by the legislature, it is being pushed by the Florida Board of Education. The proposal is to make contract renewal more onerous while at the same time reducing the protection the contract provides.
The Florida Board of Education has seven members, five of whom were appointed by Governor Scott.
Governor Scott and the Budget
In his page on Strengthening Education For Florida Families, Governor Scott proposes to spend $ 10.7 billion for education next year. In particular, he proposes $ 1.1 billion for state colleges and $ 3.85 billion for the State University System, i.e., a 7 % increase for the former and a 10 % increase for the latter. The proposed $ 393 million hike for the universities is not quite what the Board of Governors asked for they wanted the $ 300 million cut last year returned, with an additional $ 118 million in return for not raising tuition, but still, it's 94 % of the increase that they asked for.
The desired $ 418 million and the proposed $ 393 million are based on projections of what would otherwise be spent.
Instead of looking at projections, we can look at the last few years to see what is going on. The universities have two major sources of money: tax dollars that the legislature readily controls and allocates, and funds from the lottery and various trusts that we just get. Here are the last three years of allocations (from the Florida Fiscal Portal):
|Fiscal Year||Tax dollars||Lottery & trusts||Total|
|2010-2011||$ 1.92 billion||$1.69 billion||$ 3.61 billion|
|2011-2012||$ 1.72 billion||$1.72 billion||$ 3.43 billion|
|2012-2013||$ 1.51 billion||$1.93 billion||$ 3.44 billion|
As the economy improved, the universities got more from the trust funds and the lottery, but meanwhile the Scott and the legislature cut their share of university funding.
And now, Scott assumes that the lottery and the trust funds will bring in $ 1.96 billion, so he can ask the legislature for $ 1.89 billion and bring us up to $ 3.85 billion - which, taking inflation into account, is about where the universities were when Scott took office.
The moral of the story is that the lottery and trust funds are more reliable revenue streams than the politicians. The legislative leadership reacted very skeptically to Scott's proposal, but the FEA's pragmatic reaction was that this is a good time to look for items to support.
Next Chapter Meeting tomorrow Friday, February 22, at noon, in EDU 150 at USF Tampa.
Sandwiches, chips, and soda will be provided by the Chapter, and all UFF members are invited to attend. Non-members are also invited to come and check us out. Come and join the movement.
Membership: All employees in the UFF USF System Bargaining unit is eligible for UFF membership: to join, simply fill out and send in the membership form.
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