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UFF Biweekly
United Faculty of Florida -- USF System Chapter
25 February 2016
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$ 500 Travel Grants for UFF Members

The USF Chapter of the UFF will award six $ 500 Travel Scholarships for summer and fall. This will be for travel for participation in a professional activity. All applications are due by April 21, and only UFF members are eligible. The six recipients shall be selected by lot at the April 22 chapter meeting. For more information, see the Travel Scholarship Flyer.

This initiative is part of our membership campaign. If you would like to become active in the UFF USF Membership Drive, contact the Membership Chair, Adrienne Berarducci (click here).

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.

USF Grant Writing Workshops

The USF Tampa College of Arts & Sciences is continuing its workshops on writing grant proposals. One on Negotiating The Sea Of Competition: Compelling & Persuasive Grant Writing will be on April 1; another will be the NIH Workshop on May 13. Each will be from noon to 2:30 pm. Click here for more information. All USF faculty are welcome.


Tenure, non-Tenure Track, and the UFF Senate

The United Faculty of Florida Senate met last weekend, and on the agenda was the decision by the State College of Florida Board of Trustees not to offer continuing contracts to new hires - all new hires will be offered annual contracts, annually subject to non-renewal. But first...

  • Chapter Elections. The United Faculty of Florida is a democracy, and the chapter is holding its annual elections. For more, see below or click here.
  • The UFF Senate Meeting. The UFF Senate met in Tampa last weekend, and the good news is that there seems to be less legislative drama than in previous years. The bad news is that the drama is being farmed out to boards of trustees. For more, see below or click here.
Meanwhile, a reminder to non-tenure track faculty: today Thursday UFF is running a meeting on Job Security for non-tenure track USF faculty and professionals ... and what your union is doing to improve it. About a third of the employees in the UFF USF Bargaining Unit are not on tenure track, but they still have some protections - but it is often a matter of knowing the contract. All USF faculty and professionals are invited, UFF members and non-members alike, but non-tenure track employees are particularly invited. It will be from 5 pm to 6 pm in Cooper Hall, room 355.

Chapter Elections

The United Faculty of Florida is a democracy, and that includes the chapters. Every year, the USF Chapter of the United Faculty of Florida members elect officers and representatives of the chapter. All UFF members - and only UFF members - may participate in the election.

The elected officers are the president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer (the appointed officers are the chief negotiator, the grievance chair, and the chairs of the other standing committees). Ballot packets shall soon be in the mail to UFF members, and ballots must be returned (and in our hands) by March 11 to be counted. The ballots will be counted at the March 12 UFF USF Chapter Meeting, to which all UFF members are invited.

The newly elected or re-elected officers and representatives will assume their positions on April 1.

The UFF Senate Meeting

The primary policy-making body of the (statewide) United Faculty of Florida is the Senate, which meets twice a year, usually in Tampa. The Senate meets to hear reports of what's going on and to make decisions about what to do about it. On the agenda at the Senate's meeting last weekend was job security, primarily because the recent decision of the State College of Florida (SCF) to stop offering continuing contracts to new hires looks a bit like a trial balloon.

Continuing contracts are a bit like tenure: after a probationary period and a vetting process, a faculty member is entitled to stay on the job subject to the conditions of Florida Statute 1012.33. SCF's website says that "Continuing Contract insures academic freedom of instructors to speak and write on matters directly related to their respective disciplines."

SCF's Board of Trustees disregarded warnings from SCF faculty and administrators and decided that SCF will no long offer new hires continuing contracts, effective this summer, and to offer only annual contracts, annually subject to non-renewal. Faculty and administrators warned that that would put SCF at a competitive disadvantage when seeking new faculty, and would eventually erode SCF's performance and reputation.

SCF faculty sought assistance from the United Faculty of Florida, which conducted a "card campaign": if employees in a company or institution want a union to bargain and enforce a contract, they may petition for an election. (If a sufficient number of employees sign in a card campaign, an election is held (in SCF's case, by the Florida Public Employees Relations Commission), and if a majority of the votes cast are in favor of union representation, the union becomes those employees' "Collective Bargaining Agent.")

Several SCF faculty attended the Senate meeting, and organizers reported that over 60 % of the SCF faculty signed cards, so an election should be held soon. If SCF faculty vote for UFF representation, UFF will be able to bargain (and enforce!) contracts determining terms and conditions of employment, and the SCF Board will no longer be able to act unilaterally.

UFF is concerned not only because of SCF, but because this may be a trial balloon. The Bradenton Herald reported that Board member Rick Hager - who had previously opposed the change - said that doing away with continuing contracts is "being pushed." And in response to warnings of SCF being at a disadvantage if it is the only Florida college without continuing contracts or tenure, Board member Craig Trigueiro said, "I've heard over and over we're going to damage the college if we're the only college...It can't be done legislatively this year, but perhaps it could be an agenda item for next year."

The legislature last tried doing something about tenure in 2011. Like 2011, 2017 is not an election year, and legislators may feel less inhibited next year.

The UFF Senate then unanimously resolved:

  • Whereas the State College of Florida (SCF) Board of Trustees (BoT) recently voted to end continuing contracts for new faculty members at the College's three campuses; and
  • Whereas this decision reveals a profound lack of understanding of higher education and will substantially harm the State College of Florida, its students, and its dedicated faculty, and
  • Whereas continuing contracts are necessary for recruiting and retaining high-quality faculty;
  • Therefore be it resolved that the United Faculty of Florida strongly supports the SCF faculty, both in their vote of no confidence in their BoT and their efforts to repeal this ill-considered policy.
UFF has also set up an online petition for the public to register their opposition to ending continuing contracts at SCF.

In addition to SCF, there were (occasionally entertaining) reports of bargaining at other institutions, various bits of union business, and the legislature: the proposal to permit guns on campus appears - but only appears - dead, and UFF is fighting for fee waivers for graduate assistants and to protect health and retirement benefits.


Chapter Meeting tomorrow Friday, February 26, at on USF Tampa, in EDU 314.

There will be sandwiches, chips, 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.