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UFF Biweekly
United Faculty of Florida -- USF System Chapter
6 February 2014
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Chapter Meeting Tomorrow 11 am in USF St. Petersburg (notice time and place)

The Chapter will meet tomorrow Friday at 11 am in USF St. Petersburg in Coquina Hall, room 224 (COQ 224). See the map at the USF St. Petersburg Visit Us page (Coquina Hall is at the southern end of 1st Street SE, and there is a parking garage at the corner of 3rd Street S and Dali Blvd). Here is the spring schedule for upcoming Chapter meetings.

  • On February 7 in USF St. Petersburg and on February 21 in USF Sarasota / Manatee.
  • On March 7 in USF Tampa and on March 21 in USF St. Petersburg.
  • On April 4 in USF Tampa and on April 18 in USF Sarasota / Manatee.
  • On May 2 in USF Tampa.
There will be sandwiches, soda, and chips. All UFF USF employees - UFF members and non-members alike - are invited.

$ 500 Travel Grants for New UFF Members - and for UFF Members Who Recruit New Members

Last semester, the USF Chapter of the UFF offered four $ 500 travel scholarships for this spring and summer for UFF recruitment. At the January 10 meeting, the Chapter selected four applications (from a hat) and awarded scholarships to Diana Hechavarria, Valerie Janesick, Jennifer O'Brien, and David Rogers. The Chapter decided to conduct the program again, this spring.

The USF Chapter of the UFF will award four $ 500 Travel Scholarships for next summer and spring.

  • UFF USF employees who join UFF this fall (i.e., joined after January 9 and who join no later than May 1) are eligible for one of two scholarships to be randomly selected at the May 2 UFF USF Chapter Meeting. For information on how new members (or non-members who would like to join UFF) may apply, see the flyer for new and prospective members. Non-members wishing to be eligible must have their membership forms in our hands by May 1. In addition, proposals must also be in our hands by May 1. Two proposals from new members will be randomly selected for funding.
  • Current UFF members who recruit at least one new UFF member are eligible for one of two scholarships to be randomly selected at the May 2 UFF USF Chapter Meeting. For information on how UFF members may apply, see the flyer for UFF members who would like to recruit new members. Notice that recruiters should put their name on the membership form for the new member. If a new member is recruited, the new member is eligible for one of the scholarships for new members and the recruiter is eligible for one of the scholarships for current members. Again, membership forms and proposals must be in our hands by May 1, and two proposals by recruiters will be randomly selected for funding.
This initiative is part of our membership campaign. If you would like to become active in the UFF USF Membership Drive, contact the Secretary, Greg McColm.

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 AS A DUES PAYING MEMBER, YOU WILL RECEIVE A $ 100 REBATE NEXT FALL. Come and join the movement.


If you have been the victim of a violation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, 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 online contact form. For more information, see our web-page on grievances.


Grievances and Elections

In this issue, we look at two timely events: grievances and elections.
  • Contract Enforcement Means Grievances. The United Faculty of Florida bargains and enforces the contract. That means two things: the UFF defends the contract against erosion, and it defends (dues-paying) UFF members when their contractual rights are violated. There are now more UFF USF members than in the past, so the Chapter has reorganized its grievance system. For more, see below or click here.
  • Election Season for the Union... The UFF USF Chapter has issued a Call for Nominations in the upcoming election of UFF USF officers and officials. For more, see below or click here.
  • ...and the Faculty Senates. The USF Tampa Faculty Senate has also issued a Call for Nominations -- due next Wednesday -- and the USF Sarasota / Manatee and St. Petersburg senates would also benefit from participation. For more, see below or click here.
And this is also evaluation time, so it is time to get your materials in order for the annual evaluations. Evaluations are used not only to determine merit pay raises, but they also influence tenure and promotion decisions and even retention and renewal decisions. They should be taken very seriously. For more information, see the article on them in the 10 January 2013 Biweekly.

Contract Enforcement Means Grievances

The terms and conditions of your employment are governed by your contract, the Collective Bargaining Agreement. The contract trumps administrative policies, university regulations, and the faculty handbook. The contract is enforceable under law, and unlike policies and the handbook, the contract is not subject to unilateral changes and is bargained by the UFF (representing faculty and professionals) and the Administration (representing the Board of Trustees).

So what happens if the contract is violated?

All UFF USF employees have the right to file a grievance, a formal complaint that the contract has been violated. In addition, UFF USF employees who are members of UFF, and who were UFF members at the time of the violation, have the right to union representation. That means that UFF members have the resources of the UFF and its affiliates - including the FEA's lawyers - behind them. Non-members are on their own; after all, the staff and legal support is expensive, and union dues pay for it.

Here is how it works.

  • If a UFF USF employee is a victim of a contract violation, then that employee has thirty days to file a grievance. That means that an employee should act quickly. If the employee is a UFF member, the employee should quickly contact the UFF USF Grievance Committee (they have a online contact page).
  • After the grievance is filed, there is a somewhat informal "Step One process" for resolving the problem. One important thing to remember is that a grievance is a complaint that the contract has been violated. Stupidity and iniquity are not, in themselves, grievable. The contract has to have been violated.
  • If the grievance is not resolved by the Step One process, the grievant may appeal for a "Step Two hearing". Hopefully, that would resolve the issue, but if not, the union may choose to pursue arbitration (now we are talking about tens of thousands of dollars, paid for by union dues).

For more information, or to contact the Grievance Committee, follow the links to the web-page on grievances and the form for contacting the Grievance Committee.

Election Season: the Union ...

The UFF USF Chapter elections this spring are now underway. We strongly encourage UFF USF members to participate by running for offices and seats, or at least by voting. We also encourage non-members to join UFF and participate: only dues-paying UFF USF members may participate in the chapter elections.

The positions open for election are:

  • The four elective offices: president, the vice president, the secretary, and the treasurer.
  • The seats in the legislative bodies of our affiliates: the United Faculty of Florida Senate and the Florida Education Association Delegate Assembly.
Deadlines are:
  • Deadline for joining UFF in order to participate in the election: February 28.
  • Deadline for nominations: March 7.
After that, the Chapter will conduct an electronic election, with voting occurring in the second half of March. All UFF USF employees who were UFF members as of February 28 will be eligible to vote. Officers and representatives will assume their elected positions on April 1.

To nominate someone, a UFF member should go to the online Nomination form. Self-nominations are encouraged.

Election Season: ... and the Faculty Senates

This is also election season for the USF Tampa Faculty Senate, and the USF St. Petersburg Senate and USF Sarasota / Manatee Senate also need faculty participation. In theory, the senates are advisory, but in practice, the senates can wield power and influence - if they have the gumption for it.

During the last calendar year, the senates started dealing with tenure and promotion procedures (and possibly even criteria), and an ersatz budget crisis which was used to justify a number of programmatic changes. Clearly, we need strong faculty senates. A stronger senate can more effectively defend and advance the academic mission of the university, but the strength of the senate can come only from the active support and participation of the faculty.

The senates are the forums for academic affairs, but if they are to provide a voice for the faculty, they must be supported by the faculty. It is at the senates that your voice is heard on academic issues. So we strongly encourage faculty to participate.

In particular, we encourage USF Tampa faculty to nominate or self-nominate in the upcoming election. The nomination form for USF Tampa is posted online as a MS Word file and is due at the Faculty Senate Office next week by Wednesday, February 12.

Remember the old Roman maxim: silence betokens consent. If you remain silent - and complaining to co-workers in the hallways is effectively equivalent to silence - then you consent.


Chapter Meeting tomorrow Friday, February 7, at 11 am (note time change) on USF St. Petersburg in COG 224.

There will be free sandwiches, chips, and soda pop. All UFF members are invited to attend. Non-members are also invited to come and check us out. 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. If you do not receive the Biweekly, but want to, e-mail a message to gmccolm@tampabay.rr.com.