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UFF Biweekly
United Faculty of Florida -- USF System Chapter
9 March 2017
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Chapter Meeting Tomorrow on USF Tampa

The UFF USF Chapter will meet tomorrow, Friday, at 12 noon on USF Tampa in the Education Building, room EDU 161. The agenda is posted online and includes:

Everyone is invited to the Chapter Meeting tomorrow. There will be sandwiches, fruit, sweets, and drinks. Come check us out.

We have set up the schedule for the rest of the semester. We meet on alternate Fridays at 12 noon for lunch at union stuff:

  • March 10 on USF Tampa in EDU 161.
  • March 24 on USF Sarasota / Manatee in a room TBD.
  • April 7 on USF Tampa in a room TBD.
  • April 21 on USF Tampa in EDU 161.
We will also have a special meeting on March 31 in EDU 161 to count ballots. Come and join the movement.

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.

$ 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 20, and only UFF members are eligible. In addition, no recipient of the Fall 2016 cycle of travel grants is eligible to apply. The six recipients shall be selected by lot at the April 20 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).


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).

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 Election, the Legislature, and the UFF Senate Meeting (Part II)

"Democracy" is Greek for "People Power" (as opposed to "Republic," which is Latin for "Public Business"). There is a caveat: power goes to those people who get involved and do the work. In this issue, we look at three examples.

  • The Chapter Election. The United Faculty of Florida is a participatory democracy, which means that it works when people participate. For more, see below or click here.
  • The Legislature is Here. The Legislature convened on March 7, and they are passing legislation. For more, see below or click here.
  • The UFF Senate Meeting, Part II. This is the second part of the report on the UFF Senate Meeting during the weekend of February 18 & 19. For more, see below or click here.
Woody Allen once said that eighty percent of life was just showing up. That's certainly true of politics. To show up, come to the Chapter Meeting tomorrow, Friday, at noon, in EDU 161.

The Chapter Election

Every year, all elected offices (president, vice president, secretary, and treasury) and representative seats (United Faculty of Florida Senate, Florida Education Association delegation) of the USF Chapter of the United Faculty of Florida are up for election. Nominations closed on Friday, March 4, and we are now holding the election.

Unlike a contract ratification, in which all USF employees represented by UFF are eligible to vote, only dues-paying UFF members may run for election and vote in the chapter election.

Meanwhile, the statewide United Faculty of Florida elects its officers (and its representatives to the state and national affiliates) every other year, and that election is also being conducted this spring. And as in chapter elections, all dues-paying UFF members - and only dues-paying UFF members - may run and vote in that election.

For information on the candidates, visit our website for biographies / candidacy statements, URL's to websites, photographs, etc.

Ballot packets are in the mail to all UFF USF members (they are arriving at home addresses in white 9 × 12 envelopes); any UFF USF member who does not receive a packet by Friday, March 17, should contact the Election Chair. All ballots must be received by Thursday, March 30. Ballots will be counted at a special chapter meeting on Friday, March 31, at noon, on USF Tampa, in EDU 161; all UFF members are invited to observe.

The Legislature is Here

Here is the latest legislative news...

  • Senator Bill Galvano (who represents Manatee and Hillsborough counties) launched Senate Bill 2 on Higher Education and Senate Bill 4 on Faculty Recruitment, and the latter has been folded into the former. The current language provides increased financial aid, increased matching funds for donations, block tuition, funding pools for hiring and retaining targeted faculty - and a performance metric based on 4-year graduation rates, which could affect USF adversely.
  • Representative Jason Brodeur (who represents Seminole county) launched a State Group Insurance Program bill that will offer four health plans, called Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze. The AFL-CIO is concerned that this bill would shift insurance costs onto employees who have not received commensurate raises, and UFF commented that, "The real issue is the inflationary cost of medical services and prescription drugs."
  • Representatives Bob Rommel and Byron Donalds (representing Collier county) sponsored House Bill 351 to exempt searches for presidents, provosts, and deans from public documents requirements; this bill is a companion of Senate Bill 478, filed by Senators Kathleen Passidomo (representing Collier and neighboring counties) and Doug Broxson (from the panhandle).
  • Meanwhile, Senator Greg Steube (Sarasota and Charlotte) proposed Senate Bill 80 on Public Records to eliminate the guarantee that a plaintiff who successfully sued for being denied a public documents request would be reimbursed for legal costs. This could discourage citizens who were denied public documents requests from pursuing the matter in court.
  • And Senator Jeff Brandes (representing Pinellas county) proposed this year's assault on the Florida Retirement System. Senate Bill 428 would force new hires into the IRA-like defined contributions plan - leaving the defined benefits plan dangling.
Meanwhile, Representative Scott Plakon's bill to decertify Labor Organizations just passed the Florida House Oversight, Transparency and Administration Subcommittee. This bill would require that at least half of the employees represented by a public employees' union (like UFF) be dues-paying members - even if the majority of employees vote in favor of being represented by that union. About a third of all USF employees are in the UFF USF Bargaining Unit, so this threatens us. This bill is probably unconstitutional, but fighting such a law in court would take years and a lot of legal fees. And this bill has additional measures to undermine public employees' unions.

And Senator Steube has ten gun bills in motion; we are watching these, too.

The UFF Senate Meeting, Part II

As mentioned in the previous Biweekly, the UFF Senate meets twice a year to hear reports and make policy decisions. But we also hear calls for action, and here is one from the February 18, 19 UFF meeting.

Getting involved. UFF (statewide) Executive Director Marshall Ogletree warned that higher education, especially higher education in Florida, faced particular challenges during the next two to four years. Meeting these challenges requires more than just complaining about it to colleagues and hoping that someone will do something; meeting these challenges means that lots of people have to decide to be that someone that does something. Of course, as Executive Director of UFF, he particularly stressed the importance of people joining and becoming active in the union. (But there are other places to become active, too.)

One of our guest speakers was History Professor Ibram Kendri of the University of Florida, author of the New York Times bestseller Stamped from the Beginning : The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, which received the 2016 National Book Award in Nonfiction.

Professor Kendi began by observing that all finalists for the National Book Award's non-fiction section were college faculty, and said that, "academic scholarship can be presented to the public - and the public is hungry for it." "We used to speak to the public," he said, but "Now, it's pundits and media moguls."

He made policy suggestions. Unions of public employees should nurture public intellectuals and public scholarship. Meanwhile, academic institutions should count public articles and books as credit for scholarship. But he also had advice for faculty writers: scholarly work should be presented to be understandable and accessible to the standard reader.

Editorial comment: of course, this is a controversial remark. Can the general theory of relativity - field equations and all - be presented to be understandable and accessible to the standard reader? As any writer knows, what one presents, and how one presents it, depends on the audience. Leading physicists, from Einstein on, have presented general relativity - sans field equations - in works accessible to readers of mathematically limited backgrounds. Perhaps the compromise position is that scholars can present work appropriate for their audiences - and without patronizing.

The political reality is that if we expect the public to support scholarship, the public has to see what it is good for.


Chapter Meeting tomorrow Friday, March 10, on USF Tampa, in EDU 161.

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.