UFF Home
UFF Biweekly
United Faculty of Florida -- USF System Chapter
26 February 2015
Email not displaying properly? View it in your browser

No Chapter Meeting Tomorrow

There will be no chapter meeting tomorrow. Have a Happy Spring Break!

The next chapter meeting will be on Friday, March 13, at 12 noon, on USF Tampa campus, in EDU 150. There will be sandwiches, chips, and drinks. All employees of the UFF USF Bargaining Unit are invited. Check us out. Join the movement. Bring a colleague.

UFF Chapter Elections

(and statewide elections, too)

The USF Chapter of the United Faculty of Florida is a democracy, and elections are held once a year. All UFF members, and only UFF members, may participate in the election. Chapter elections are underway, and UFF members should receive their ballot packets this week. If you were a UFF member as of February 13, and you have not received your ballot packet, contact the Chapter Secretary.

All offices and representative seats are open for election. For information on the candidates, see the UFF USF website.

Ballots are due by Thursday, March 5, in our hands. The ballots will be counted on Friday, March 6, at 2 pm, in the UFF USF office, NES 223. All UFF USF members are welcome.

Meanwhile, the state UFF organization is also a democracy, although statewide elections are held every other year. The election this spring is also underway, so UFF USF members should also watch for a ballot packet from the state UFF. The state ballot packets went into the mail on Monday, so if you don't receive one by the end of this week, contact the Chapter Secretary.

Thanks to all UFF USF members for their participation and support.

Globalizing Labor:

Can there be an European General Strike?

Julia Hofmann, University Assistant (prae doc) in the Institute of Sociology at the Johannes Kepler University of Linz, will deliver a lecture today, at 6:30 pm, in New College in Sarasota, on 5800 Bay Shore Road in ACE 201. This presentation is sponsored by the New College Sociology Program.

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

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

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. Membership forms and proposals must be in our hands by April 23, and two proposals by recruiters will be randomly selected for funding.

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. 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.

Visit Us on Facebook

Visit the United Faculty of Florida at USF Facebook page. 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, or contact the Communications Committee. The Committee will invite every UFF member that asks to join. So check us out. UFF members are welcome to join, and non-members are welcome to look.


The UFF Senate Meeting, the Legislature, and the Contract

The elections remind us that the United Faculty of Florida is a representative democracy. It's primary policy-making body is the Senate, which meets twice a year in central Florida to hear reports, make plans, wrestle with the budget, and plot strategy. The Senate met last weekend, and since it is the eve of the legislative session, there was a lot of discussion of looming legislation.

  • Looming Legislation. Among the bills discussed at the senate meeting was a bill to permit adults to carry concealed weapons on campus, a bill to restrict textbook choices in courses, and a bill to permit secrecy in academic president searches. For more, see below or click here.
  • Talking to Legislators. Your legislators are your elected representatives, so you should feel free to tell them how you feel about major issues. For a few basic rules, see below or click here.
Meanwhile, our contract turns the limelight on two issues.
  • Two Committees on Contractual Issues. The contract mandates the formation of two joint UFF-Administration committees, one on student evaluations and one on works and property. This is a common first step towards developing policies and getting language into future contracts. For more, see below or click here.
We have not heard much noise - other than schoolyard threats from legislative bullies - about reviving some of the toxic legislative proposals of Governor Scott's years past. But we are keeping our ears to the ground.

Looming Legislation

The Legislature opens on March 3 and will run until May 1. A lot of bills are in the hopper, and here are some that the UFF Senate focused on.


Three bills regarding guns have been filed.

  • House Bill 19 on "School Safety" would enable a school to designate volunteers to carry concealed weapons on school grounds.
  • Senate Bill 176 on "Licenses to Carry Concealed Weapons or Firearms." Currently, Florida residents with licenses to carry concealed weapons are prohibited from carrying concealed firearms, or carry handguns openly, on college or university facilities. This bill would remove that prohibition.
  • Senate Bill 290 on "Carrying a Concealed Weapon or a Concealed Firearm" would exempt from criminal penalties someone who carried a concealed weapon during a mandatory evacuation.
Discussion focused on SB 176, and after hearing from both sides, the UFF Senate resolved to oppose SB 176.

Textbooks, Again

Faithful readers of this newsletter may recall that last year, State Senator Anitere Flores, R-Miami / Dade, proposed a bill require that in an undergraduate course, the same text and instructional material must be in use for at last three years. The theory is that students would be better able to sell texts at the end of the semester, and to buy used ones next semester, if the texts were the same year after year. (The downside, of course, is that texts would be locked in place for years at a time, which would affect academic freedom and the timeliness of course materials.)

The bill is back: Senate Bill 938 on Postsecondary Education Affordability would require "[t]hat a textbook or instructional material for an undergraduate course remain in use for a minimum of 3 years in that course, unless a less costly textbook or instructional material becomes available or an exception is approved by the institution’s president or designee." Notice that the bill also covers "course materials."

Pause to envision the university president vetting all requests for exemptions, and then (as required by law) reporting all the exemptions to the state, with a rationale for each one.

The Florida Education Association is now educating lawmakers on drawbacks of this proposal.

Secrecy in Searches

In the aftermath of the ruckus over John Thrasher's appointment as president of Florida State University, legislators are thinking of minimizing ruckuses in the future by allowing secret presidential (and other) searches. Senate Bill 182 provides "...an exemption from public records requirements for any personal identifying information, including the name, of an applicant for president, provost, or dean of a state university or Florida College System institution; providing an exemption from public meeting requirements for any portion of a meeting held for the purpose of identifying or vetting applicants for president, provost, or dean of a state university or Florida College System institution."

Talking to Legislators

Your legislators are your elected representatives, so if you feel strongly on an issue, you should feel free to communicate with your legislator. But there are written and unwritten rules.

First of all, use only your personal equipment: do not use state or public property (e.g., your office computer or office phone) to lobby legislators. First of all, it's not legal. Second of all, they don't like it, and there is little point in gratuitously irritating someone you are trying to lobby.

Second, if you are attempting to lobby legislators while they are in Tallahassee, legislating, there are two facts you should know.

  • Legislators are inundated with arguments, and are primarily concerned with how constituents stand on issues.
  • Communications go to staff, and since legislative season can get hectic, phone calls are more reliably reported on a timely basis than snailmail or email.
So the most effective communication is by phone, to the legislator's office. Have a brief, clear, and short message, with one point. Be polite: it's a staff person on the phone. Identify yourself and your address, so the staff person knows you are a constituent.

Contact information for House and Senate legislators is available via the legislature page of the MyFlorida site.

Two Committees on Contractual Issues

Over the years, successive contracts address major issues that the two parties bring to the table. It took a long time to get language addressing issues like domestic partner rights, or promotions for instructors. And one route is to bring both sides together to study the issue. This joint effort can lead to policy changes and, ultimately, to contract language.

Article 24 of the 2014 - 2017 Collective Bargaining Agreement (the contract) gets the ball rolling on three issues.

  • Tuition assistance. Section 12 mandates "...a system wide committee to explore the subject of tuition assistance for spouses and children of bargaining unit members."
  • Student evaluations. Section 13 mandates "a system wide committee ... to discuss all aspects of evaluation by students of the teaching/instruction by employees."
  • Intellectual property and works. Section 14 mandates "...a system wide committee ... to discuss all aspects of the recording, reproduction, retention and use by the University of an employee’s work product and presentations employed by an employee in teaching/instruction in the traditional classroom, online, distance learning and all other forms of delivery."
The Section 13 and Section 14 committees are now up and running. If you have any questions, comments, or issues you would like to share with these two committees, you may contact their chairs:
  • Professor Steve Lang of the Section 13 committee on student evaluations.
  • Co-chairs Associate Dean Paula Knaus and Associate Professor Chris Davis of the Section 14 committee on work products and presentations.


There will be no chapter meeting tomorrow, Friday, February 27. Have a Happy Spring Break!

The next Chapter Meeting will be on Friday, March 13, on USF Tampa, in the Education Building, room EDU 150.

There will be sandwiches and drinks. 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.