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UFF Biweekly EXTRA
United Faculty of Florida -- USF System Chapter
18 January 2013
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Call for Nominations

It's election time for the UFF USF Chapter, and time to ask UFF USF members to consider running for office or representative seats. All dues paying UFF USF members, and only dues paying UFF USF members, may run and vote in this election.

Any UFF USF member may run for any one of these offices:

  • The President oversees the operations of the chapter.
  • The Vice President assists the President.
  • The Secretary maintains documents and records.
  • The Treasurer handles finances.
These four elected officers, and the Chief Negotiator (appointed by the President), make up the Executive Council. In addition, the USF Chapter of UFF sends representatives to two union bodies:
  • The UFF Senate is the primary policy-making body of the statewide United Faculty of Florida, which is the strongest voice for higher education in Florida. It meets twice annually, during a weekend, in Tampa or Orlando, and the USF Chapter of UFF is represented by senators elected by UFF USF members in this election.
  • The FEA Delegate Assembly is the primary policy-making body of the Florida Education Association, which represents K-20 teachers and professionals and is the strongest voice for education in Florida. It meets annually, in mid-fall, for Friday and early Saturday in Tampa or Orlando, and UFF USF is represented by delegates elected by UFF USF members in this election.
UFF USF members may run for either senator or delegate or both; UFF USF members running for an office may also run for one or both representative positions.

If you are interested, please download, fill in, and email the nomination form to our Election Chair. And thank you for your support.

Florida Supreme Court Rules Against FEA

The Florida Supreme Court has just ruled that the law requiring public employees "contribute" 3 % of their salary towards their pension will stand. The Florida Education Association sued to overturn the law, and this is a disappointment. The UFF Biweekly will review the situation next week. Meanwhile, we have received the following observations from the Florida Education Association:

  • We are disappointed in the Florida Supreme Court ruling that upheld the 3-percent income tax levied on public employees in the state. In a 4-3 decision, the justices overturned a circuit court ruling that said the Florida Legislature overstepped its authority by ignoring the Florida Constitution in taking 3 percent from the paychecks of Florida's teachers, law enforcement officers, firefighters, nurses and other public employees.
  • Legislative leaders and Gov. Rick Scott called the tax a "contribution" to the Florida Retirement System, but the money has been used to balance the state budget this year and last year.
  • This is disappointing news for those who work to make Florida a better place. Balancing the state budget on the backs of middle-class working families is the wrong approach for legislative leaders and the governor to take. We're disappointed that the state's highest court said this approach was legal.
  • We believe our arguments were correct, even if the justices didn't agree. We still believe that a promise is a promise.
  • We are more determined than ever to change the face of the Florida Legislature. The next elections in 2014 can turn this decision around.
  • Leaders in the Legislature have been squirreling away money in the state's reserve funds in the event that the Supreme Court ruled in our favor. That money should now go to Florida's seriously underfunded public schools.
  • Legislators and Gov. Rick Scott need to GET TO WORK and address the budget shortfall the right way: by closing tax loopholes and repealing some of the multibillion dollar tax giveaways for corporations and millionaires that they have passed over the last decade.
  • These salary cuts - essentially an income tax levied only on workers belonging to the Florida Retirement System - compound the losses experienced by teachers and other public school employees. Over the past four years, they have seen no raises or minuscule raises, increased health insurance costs and layoffs. The stark budget cuts pushed by Gov. Rick Scott and the Legislature will only deepen those losses. The additional loss of 3 percent of their salary pours salt into their wounds.
  • The leaders in the Legislature chose this irresponsible and reckless and way of balancing the budget instead of properly addressing the shortfall they created. Over the past decade, the Legislature has chosen to provide tax giveaways to investors and corporations that have accumulated to billions and billions of dollars. If those tax giveaways had not been enacted, there would have been no budget shortfall.
  • Legislative leaders have a number of avenues that they can use to address any budget shortfall - such as closing sales-tax loopholes, aggressively collecting sales tax on Internet sales, or repealing the tax giveaways for investors and corporations. Those tax giveaways were widely touted as ways to create jobs and grow the state's economy, but after billions and billions of dollars' worth of tax giveaways over the past 14 years under Republican leadership, Florida has one of the highest unemployment rates and its economy is one of the weakest in the nation.
  • This ruling emphasizes that we cannot rely on the courts to do the right thing for public education or for public workers. We must become more politically active to assure that the leaders who represent Floridians in the Legislature and the Governor's Office represent all the people, not just corporate interests.
Regardless of what we may think about this ruling, it means that the arena is now the legislature. And the legislative session starts in a month and a half. We are getting prepared, and those who wish to join us and stand up for themselves and for higher education in Florida are invited to download, fill in, and mail a membership form today.


Next Chapter Meeting Friday, January 25, at noon, in EDU 150 on USF Tampa.

Sandwhiches and soda will be provided by the union, and all UFF members are invited to attend. And bring a colleague!

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