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UFF Biweekly
United Faculty of Florida -- USF System Chapter
14 January 2015
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Chapter Meeting Tomorrow near USF Tampa Campus

The UFF USF Chapter will meet tomorrow, Friday, at 12 noon at CDB Restaurant at 5104 E. Fowler Ave., in Temple Terrace (at the intersection of 51st Street and E. Fowler Ave., just east of USF Tampa Campus). The agenda includes:

  • Spring Election. The USF Chapter of UFF is a democracy, with officers and representatives elected by the members of UFF at USF. Elections are held annually, and the Election Committee shall present a Proposal for Conducting the Spring Election to the Chapter tomorrow. Once the proposal is approved, a Biweekly Special to UFF members will announce the election procedure, together with a Call for Nominations. All UFF members are eligible to run and to vote (and only UFF members are eligible to run and to vote) in this election.
  • Membership. The Membership Committee is launching a recruitment campaign this semester. We seek new UFF members - and current UFF members who desire to become more active. For more information, contact the Membership Chair.
Everyone is invited to the Chapter Meeting tomorrow. There will be pizza, salad, and drinks. Come and join the movement.

Come to the Union Socials

UFF is having two socials during the next two weeks.
  • On Thursday, January 21, there will be a Reception for New Faculty and Professionals from 4 pm to 6 pm at Longhorn Restaurant at 2110 E. Fowler Ave., just west of USF Tampa campus. By "new", we mean everyone hired during the last five years or so. But all USF employees are welcome.
  • On Monday, January 25, there will be a Starting the Semester Reception at Ferg's Sports Bar & Grill at 1320 Central Ave., just north of Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg.
At each of these events, there will be union officers and representatives (elected by UFF members - see above) to answer your questions. Everyone is invited; come and check us out.

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.


Welcome Back!

We are two weeks into a new year, hopefully with a sizable proportion of our New Years' Resolutions still intact, and we are looking forward to another term of teaching, research, and service, not to mention union and faculty senate issues (and elections!), and of course the legislature will be legislating. In this issue...

  • A Smoke-Free Campus. Nicotine addiction is one of our major public health problems, and USF has decided that on Tampa campus, we should go smoke-free. Of course, it isn't as simple or easy as that. For some complexities, see below or click here.
  • Yes, the Legislature is in Session. On Tuesday, the legislative session opened. For a brief glimpse at coming attractions, see below or click here.
  • Flu Season. Just in time for the flu season, a recent study suggests that coming to work sick can be unhelpful. For more, see below or click here.
Meanwhile, about the UFF USF Travel Scholarships allocated last month. The Chapter had decided to offer four $ 500 scholarships to UFF USF members. There were 23 applicants, and the four recipients were chosen by lot. (That's a lot of applications, which suggests that, ahem, the university may not be adequately addressing faculty needs for professional travel.) This program is part of our membership drive, which will be on the agenda at tomorrow's Chapter Meeting.

And the UFF USF Grievance Committee wishes to remind you that under Article 8.4E(1) of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (see page 12), "Available supplemental summer appointments shall be offered equitably and as appropriate to qualified employees..." If you are unfairly passed over for a summer teaching appointment, your contractual rights may have been violated: contact your friendly neighborhood Grievance Committee.

A Smoke-Free Campus.

Tobacco smoking is a major to dominant risk factor for cancers of the bladder, esophagus, larynx, lungs, mouth, and pancreas, as well as Crohn's disease, emphysema, heart attacks, obstructive pulmonary disease, strokes - and compromising fetal brain development. Tobacco smoke contains nearly a hundred toxins, including arsenic, benzene, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, and of course, nicotine. Nicotine is quite toxic (one gram is probably lethal - a typical cigarette delivers about 2 milligrams) and physically addictive; since it is used as a stimulant, it also induces a psychological dependency in habitual users.

Worse, the "second hand smoke" exhaled by smokers contains significant amounts of second hand toxins, to which some people - particularly pregnant women, youngsters, people with compromised pulmonary systems, and some people with allergies - are vulnerable. (There is also a growing concern about "third hand smoke", i.e., fumes from tobacco smoke deposits on furniture, clothes, car interiors, etc.)

Anti-smoking campaigns go back at least to King James I's Counterblaste to Tobacco of 1604: his solution was to tax the stuff. During the Twentieth century, concerns about second hand smoke inspired prohibitions against smoking in enclosed spaces.

Many people start smoking while young, and there is some evidence that prohibiting smoking in the workplace and at school (and taxing the stuff) discourages youngsters from smoking. Hence the growing popularity of "smoke free zones," and not just in enclosed spaces. Effective this semester, the entire USF Tampa campus is a smoke free zone.

This is all very well, but America's experience with Prohibition suggests we think this through carefully and watch for unintended consequences. For example, who does this policy apply to? According to the proposed policy it applies to "faculty, staff, students, vendors, and visitors" (how about administrators and trustees?) And how is this policy to be enforced? Several administrators have said that they will rely on social pressure, but the proposed policy says that "Any student who repeatedly refuses to abide by the policy may be considered in violation of the Student Code of Conduct and will be handled accordingly. Repeat violations by any faculty or staff member will be handled through normal University processes."

So there are (unspecified) sanctions, and that raises problems. Tampa campus is quite large, and now smokers must go off campus for a smoke. That can pose problems, especially for someone who doesn't have a car. And where off-campus might smokers congregate? And what does the Administration propose to do about those faculty, staff, students, vendors, and visitors who muff the logistics?

We observe that USF provides some resources for people who want to quit - and many people do want to quit, for health and budget reasons. And the United Faculty of Florida encourages smokers to take advantage of these resources (this is the season for New Year's resolutions, after all). But we remind the Administration of the greater effectiveness of reward over punishment - and of the dismal example of Prohibition - and suggest that perhaps the Board of Trustees should explore alternatives to sanctions.

Yes, the Legislature is in Session

The Legislature opened two days ago and will no doubt be providing us with much entertainment this coming session - but hopefully less than last year. Up front and center is House Bill 4001 (Licenses to Carry Concealed Weapons or Firearms: Removes provision prohibiting concealed carry licensees from openly carrying handgun or carrying concealed weapon or firearm into college or university facility); this bill may go to the floor any day now, and if you have any views on this legislation, you can communicate them to Florida House Speaker Steve Crisafulli; remember to use your personal phone or computer, not a state machine, when contacting politicians.

Other upcoming issues include another shortfall in medical funding, gambling and water bills, tax cuts for deserving corporations, funds for charter schools (Governor Scott has just proposed that each public shool get $ 21,000 for construction and capital costs while each charter school gets $ 110,000), class size, and possibly even another whack at our retirement funds. Meanwhile, next week Wednesday the Florida Education Association will conduct a Day of Action to publicize education issues.

Political junkies may be interested to know that at tomorrow's UFF USF Chapter Meeting we will be organizing a Political Junkies Anony...er...Political Activities Committee to assist the union in tracking and educating politicians. Anyone interested in or obsessed with politics is invited to the Chapter Meeting, tomorrow Friday, 12 noon, at CDB Restaurant at 5104 E. Fowler Ave. in Temple Terrace, just east of USF Tampa at the intersection of E. Fowler Ave. and 51st Street.

Meanwhile, with the primary coming in March, it's time to register to vote (if you haven't already): to register, update your registration information, or check your voter status, visit the Florida Division of Elections.

Flu Season

One of the longstanding complaints about people coming in sick is that they spread their germs around. But during the last decade or so, management experts have proposed that employees who come to work sick are less productive than those who stay home to recover. Twelve years ago, the Harvard Business Review reported that coming to work sick "appears to cost companies substantially more than they spend directly on medical treatment and drugs," although the Review added the caveat that many such studies, "though conducted by academics or health management consultants, are proposed and funded by pharmaceutical companies hoping to show that certain medications are worth paying for because they will increase worker productivity by ameliorating symptoms of illness."

Recently, another study suggested that "presenteeism" - coming to work sick - was behind 60 % of all productivity losses, and some news accounts of the study observed that two fifths of all American workers do not have sick leave. (Yet another thing unions are good for.) One expert told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that employee health needs "...to be managed so you do not burn people out physically and abuse them and create problems."


Chapter Meeting tomorrow Friday, January 14, at 12 noon, at CDB Restaurant, just east of USF Tampa, at 5104 E. Fowler Ave. in Temple Terrace.

There will be pizza, salad, 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.

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