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UFF Biweekly
United Faculty of Florida -- USF System Chapter
6 April 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 room EDU 161. The agenda is posted online and includes:

  • Finalizing the Chapter Election. The Election Committee will present the results of the election to the Chapter.
  • Graduate Assistants United. A presentation on the student divestment movement by a GAU representative.
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:

  • April 7 and 21 on USF Tampa in EDU 161.

Sick Leave Pool

USF has a sick leave pool (see 17.8(a)(2) of the contract) that allows participants to share a pool of sick leave just in case one of the participants gets seriously ill. April is the month for joining the pool, and we encourage readers to check out the Sick Leave Pool webpage for more information.

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.


Election Returns and the Legislature

Man is a political animal, said Aristotle, and Alexander the Great's tutor should know - especially considering Aristotle's career in academic politics. So while the United Faculty of Florida is officially a creature of laws - bargaining and enforcing the contract - it is also necessarily a creature of politics. (Especially since laws are themselves creations of politicians.) In this issue, we take a look at some more overt politics.

  • Election Returns. The United Faculty of Florida is a democracy, and we just held an election. For results, see below or click here.
  • The Legislature. Florida faces challenges to its public educational system (and its long-term economy), to its medical system, and to its infrastructure (including its water supply). But many legislators have more pressing concerns. For details, see below or click here.
For those who are not satisfied merely being spectators in politics, we are organizing a Political Committee to educate politicians and to work with the local Federation of Labor's political efforts. If you are a UFF member and you are interested, please contact the UFF USF Chapter Secretary.

Election Returns

Every spring, the USF Chapter of the United Faculty of Florida elects its officers and representatives for the term from April to April. Only dues-paying UFF members may participate in chapter elections by running or voting. This year, the four officers ran unopposed, and they were elected for the term: President Art Shapiro, Vice President Steve Lang, Secretary Greg McColm, and Treasurer Sonia Wohlmuth.

USF was also allocated 21 UFF Senate seats, one for each 25 members. The president serves ex officio, and we had eighteen nominated candidates: Henry Alegria, Adrienne Berarducci, Karin Braunsberger, Pablo Brescia, Sheila Goethe, Leon Hardy, Steve Lang, Richard Manning, Greg McColm, Kathleen de la Pena McCook, Adriana Novoa, Vic Peppard, Steve Permuth, Scott Perry, Patricia Pettijohn, Frank Pyrtle III, Robert Welker, and Sonia Wohlmuth. All of them are thus senators. In addition, we had a number of write-in candidates, and the remaining seats will be determined at tomorrow's chapter meeting where ties will be broken by lot; the remaining eligible and willing write-in candidates will serve as alternates.

USF was allocated seven FEA Delegate seats, using a more complex formula. We had four nominated candidates: Greg McColm, Steve Permuth, Art Shapiro, and Milton Wendland. All of them are thus delegates. In addition, we had a number of write-in candidates, and Steve Lang and Scott Perry were elected. the remaining seats will be determined at tomorrow's chapter meeting where ties will be broken by lot; the remaining eligible and willing write-in candidates will serve as alternates.

A more complete report of the results will be posted on our website once the Chapter has finalized the election. We thank all those who participated, those who ran and those who voted and those who were willing and able to serve when receiving write-in votes. But most of all, we thank the Election Committee, and especially its chair, Sara Dykins Callahan.

Editorial Comment. USF is a sprawling system and has a history of faculty and professional isolation and hence non-participation that affects governance, community engagement, and yes, UFF. Worse, we are in hard times: only seven years ago, organizations from the UFF to the Council of 100 were excited about a new I-4 Initiative that would help move Florida to the forefront in education and, consequently, in economic development. Since then, Tallahassee has developed a crabbed attitude towards the future, and education and scholarship - among other fundamentally forward-looking enterprises - have been playing defense. But retreat will only make things worse, for things will not get better unless people of good will work to make it better. So we strongly encourage everyone to get involved in the organizations that support our university and our community.

The Legislature

The economy seems okay - so okay that there are rumors that the Federal Reserve will hike interest rates sometime soon. Eurozone unemployment is down, but income inequality here is growing and the Congressional Budget Office is once again warning about the debt. Predictably, politicians and economists are all over the map over where we are going and what we should do about it. The budget may soon take over Washington; it already has taken over Tallahassee.

The governor would like to spend money recruiting businesses and tourists to come to Florida. The Florida Senate President would like to spend money on education and water. Both rely on rising property values to increase tax revenues, and meanwhile the House wants to cut taxes. So they are about two billion dollars apart (out of a budget of eighty billion or so). Making matters worse is Medicaid, which all three would like to cut, or foist onto the hospitals, or something.

The budget battle is affecting everything else, which makes outcomes of other bills harder to predict. Here are some bills we are watching:

  • Representative Scott Plakon's House Bill 11 on Labor Organizations would revoke certification of any public employees union (except police and fire) whose dues-paying membership is less than half of the collection of employees it represents (UFF represents about a third of the employees in the UFF USF Bargaining Unit, so that means us). The bill just passed the House 75-41. It now goes to the Senate as Senator Dennis Baxley's Senate Bill 1292 on Labor Organizations.
  • There appear to be four House bills and eight Senate bills on guns winding through the legislature. Only one has moved anywhere in the last month, and Senator Greg Steube's Senate Bill 646 was "postponed" in committee last week.
  • Senator Jason Brodeur's House Bill 7007 on the State Group Insurance Program to fiddle with our health insurance passed the House 77-37. There is a "similar" bill moving through the Senate.
  • Representative Ramon Alexander and Senator Jeff Clemens have introduced a pair of bills to have the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability analyze performance funding models before they are inflicted on us. But there has been no movement on House Bill 1125 or Senate Bill 1456 so far.
UFF and Florida Education Association staff have been educating legislators about the benefits and consequences of these and other bills during this session.

If you have any strong feelings about this or other legislation, you can always let your legislator know. For some advice about how to do this, see the Biweekly article on Talking to Politicians.


Chapter Meeting tomorrow Friday, April 7, on USF Tampa, in room 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.