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UFF Biweekly
United Faculty of Florida -- USF System Chapter
21 April 2016
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Chapter Meeting Tomorrow on USF Tampa in EDU 314

The UFF USF Chapter will meet tomorrow, Friday, at 12 noon on USF Tampa in EDU 314. Everyone is invited to the Chapter Meeting tomorrow. There will be sandwiches, chips, sweets, and drinks. On the agenda:

  • We continue to get ready for fall. We consider two issues from the membership report: long-range planning and communications.
  • As for summer... We will set our summer schedule.
And the Grievance Chair will make a presentation on Article 18 on Inventions and Works in the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

This is the last Chapter Meeting of the semester. We will meet during the summer on a schedule TBD.

Last Call for $ 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 TODAY, and only UFF members are eligible. The six recipients shall be selected by lot at the April chapter meeting tomorrow. 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; see also the main article (left).

Grievance workshops. The USF Chapter will a workshops on the grievance process on Friday, May 6, from 10 am to 3 pm on USF St. Petersburg in USC 258 (the Palm Room). All USF faculty and professionals are invited, and UFF members are especially asked to bring a colleague.

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. An NIH Workshop will be held on May 13 from noon to 2:30 pm. Click here for more information.


Planning for Next Year

At tomorrow's Chapter Meeting, we will try an experiment. We will start the meeting with the main topic: how the Chapter can improve. The two primary topics will be communications and long range planning. To prepare for tomorrow's meeting, to which everyone is especially invited to attend, in this Biweekly we look at:

  • How the Chapter Works. Before changing a system, it is probably wise to understand how the system currently works. We start with an outline of how the chapter currently works. For details, see below or click here.
  • Communications and Long-Range Planning. At the last chapter meeting, the Chapter decided to focus on communications. Since then, the Executive Committee has decided that we should also think about long-range planning. For a brief overview of these issues, see below or click here.
In addition, here is:
  • An update on USF St. Petersburg. Here is the latest on the USF St. Petersburg Administration's proposal to abolish the Environmental Sciences department. For details, see below or click here.
Meanwhile, readers may recall that our contract is enforced using the grievance process: both USF employees in the bargaining unit and the UFF USF Chapter itself may grieve violations of the contract.
  • Tomorrow's Grievance Topic is Intellectual Property. Our Grievance Chair, Dan Belgrad, will discuss Article 18 on Inventions and Works, focusing on online teaching.
  • Grievance Workshops. The USF Chapter is holding a workshop on Friday, May 6, from 10 am to 3 pm, on USF St. Petersburg in USC 258 (the Palm Room); UFF members are especially asked to bring a colleague. Please RSVP to Dan Belgrad.
And a reminder. USF employees may join the sick leave pool during April. For more information, see the sick leave pool page.

How the Chapter Works

The USF Chapter of the United Faculty of Florida bargains (on behalf of the 1600+ employees of the Bargaining Unit) and enforces a contract. We also keep employees informed of what is going on, we educate administrators and occasionally politicians, and we collaborate with other organizations in the USF community on matters of common interest.

The Chapter does not stand alone: it is one of 27 chapters of the United Faculty of Florida, which is itself a union "local" of the Florida Education Association, which in turn is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association. These affiliates are useful when we need lawyers, staff support, political support, or something like that.

The Chapter is a democracy, with four elected officers (the president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer) elected by the UFF members. The members also elect representatives to represent us at legislative meetings of our affiliates, most notably the UFF Senate and the FEA Assembly.

  • The Executive Committee. The president (with the consent of the Council, see below) appoints a Chief Negotiator and a Grievance Chair to bargain and enforce the contract. The president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, chief negotiator, and grievance chair make up the Executive Committee.
  • The Chapter Council. Besides the Bargaining and Grievance committees, there are standing committees for communications, politics, and services (membership). The UFF senators (of which we currently have twenty) and alternates, together with the Executive Committee and the other committee chairs, make up the Chapter Council.
  • The Chapter Itself. The Chapter meets every other week, and by the Chapter we mean The Chapter: all UFF USF members are invited to come and participate, and all members have a vote on any resolution that comes to the floor. Actions of the Chapter are recorded in the minutes.
The operations are governed by the Chapter's Constitution and Bylaws.

Communications and Long-Range Planning

The USF Chapter of the United Faculty of Florida consists of its 500+ members, but like all academic organizations, some members are more active than others. Those of us who are members of the American Association of This and the Society for the Study of That are familiar with communications issues. How should the organization communicate with members effectively? What non-members should the organization communicate with, and how?

The Chapter's leadership communicates primarily by this electronic newsletter, and by flyers. We have also set up a Facebook group where UFF members can post things (all UFF members, and only UFF members are invited to contact the Chapter Secretary to join the group to be able to post items). We also have a rather large website. And of course, the Chapter meets every other week, and all members (who are all part of the Chapter, after all) are welcome to attend.

Considering how much stuff lands in our inboxes, and how little time we have to deal with it all, how effective is it in keeping members informed and enabling members to get involved in the issues that concern them? There seem to be three kinds of communication here.

  • Two-way communication, and conversation. The biweekly chapter meetings, and various workshops and other meetings, are the primary forums for two-way communication. The Facebook group provides a forum for conversation. One thing that our Chapter does not have, that many traditional unions have, is a "steward system" of volunteer representatives, one for each building or department; members or non-members could discuss union or academic or higher education issues with a volunteer who keeps up to date and knows who to call if someone needs help.
  • The Leadership Speaks. The primary medium is this Biweekly, although the leadership also employs flyers. It has been suggested that the Leadership get with it - it is the 21st century, after all, and employ use Twitter, You-Tube, and similar novelties.
  • The Membership Speaks. People can always send email to officers, chairs, and representatives, or just to the Chapter's generic email account. In addition, the Chapter conducts occasional surveys. Traditional unions relied on a steward system (see above) for a lot of this two-way communication.
We will be exploring options at the meeting tomorrow, and again we invite everyone to come. There will be chocolate chip cookies.

Environmental Science at USF St. Petersburg

Earlier this semester, the USF St. Petersburg Administration proposed to abolish the Environmental Science Policy & Geography (ESPG) department with the prospect of recreating it with new leadership - and possibly new faculty; see the February 11 Biweekly for details. According to the contract, the Administration has the right to reorganize academic units, but not without restraint; in particular, as the March 24 Biweekly observed, faculty participate in such decisions, and reorganizations may not be used as a cover for terminating faculty (while the Administration Proposal stated that they were not proposing to eliminate any programs or faculty positions, it was not clear if faculty would be eliminated).

The faculty of the ESPG department were not consulted on the proposal - they were only informed...after their students were informed. The USF St. Petersburg College of Arts & Sciences Council met on March 11 and resolved (by a 5-3-1 vote) that they had no objection to the proposal. The USF St. Petersburg Faculty Senate met on March 21, and according to the minutes, recommended modifying the proposal:

  • The proposal says little about what happens to ESPG faculty, and the Senate recommended that specifics be provided.
  • The proposal should make it clear where existing programs are going, and, "Decisions with regard to curriculum should continue to be made by faculty."
  • And once the department is abolished, where does the money go?
The minutes say that the Senate was "not opposed to the idea of the CAS reorganization/restructuring" but that this particular proposal needs more work. Nevertheless, April 5, the USF St. Petersburg College of Arts & Sciences Council of Chairs was informed that, "The USFSP Senate has had 2 meetings to review and unanimously voted that it had no objection to the proposal." Still, "...extra requests/information were asked by Senate and Dean Cornelius confirmed that the extra documentation was being sent." The USF St. Petersburg Senate returned to the issue yesterday, and had three remaining "concerns": that faculty have academic homes, that moves to other departments be done according the departmental bylaws, and that the roles of the proposed associate dean position be clarified.

We understand that the proposal is on the agenda for the System Faculty Council today. The System Faculty Council is the body that oversees the entire system and is at the top of the faculty governance apparatus.

UFF is concerned with the terms and conditions of employment, not academic organization. Still, shared faculty governance is protected by the contract - along with job security for faculty. So we again remark that faculty governance bodies should not only ask if procedures were followed (and that does seem to be an issue in this case) but also whether the proposal is a good idea. We will continue to watch with great interest.


Chapter Meeting tomorrow Friday, April 22, 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.

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