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UFF Biweekly
United Faculty of Florida -- USF System Chapter
22 March 2018
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The Legislature, and USF Adjuncts

In many counties, teachers are launching campaigns to get their union locals recertified: yes, Governor Scott signed the bill to bust K-12 teachers' unions. The bill to bust all public employees' unions (except for police, fire, and corrections) is dead - or in hibernation until next December. Meanwhile, USF adjuncts have voted to be represented by SEIU.

  • Legislative wrap-up. It was a strange legislative session for an election year, with popular desiderata left on the cutting room floor while legislators fixated on their own obsessions. For more, see below or click here.
  • USF Adjuncts Vote in Favor of Union Representation. There is now another union on campus, for USF adjuncts voted to be represented by the SEIU in bargaining and contract enforcement. For more, see below or click here.
Meanwhile, our Chapter has just concluded its annual election, and here are the results:
  • Art Shapiro is elected president.
  • Steve Lang is elected vice president.
  • Greg McColm is elected secretary.
  • Sonia Wohlmuth is elected treasurer.
  • Adrienne Berarducci, Karin Braunsberger, Pablo Brescia, Candace Burns, Joy D'Andrea, Cecil Greek, Steve Lang, Richard Manning, Gregory McColm, Vic Peppard, Steve Permuth, Patricia Pettijohn, Frank Pyrtle III, Bob Welker, and Sonia Wohlmuth are elected to the UFF Senate, where Art Shapiro serves ex officio.
  • Karin Braunsberger, Steve Lang, Gregory McColm, Steve Permuth, and Art Shapiro were elected to the FEA Delegate Assembly.
We thank all UFF members who voted.

The report on the UFF Senate meeting last month has been pushed back to the next Biweekly.

Chapter Meeting Tomorrow in Tampa

The Chapter will meet tomorrow Friday at 12 noon on USF Tampa in EDU 150. There will be sandwiches, snacks, sweets, and drinks: lunch is on us. On the agenda: the new normal that the Legislature has imposed on us, and how to respond.

The remaining meetings this semester will be:

  • On April 6, we will meet in EDU 150.
  • On April 20, we will have a meeting and social in the Sabal Room in the Marshall Student Center, just next to the Top of the Palms.
All USF employees are invited, especially UFF members and employees thinking of becoming UFF members. Come and check us out.

Spring Social in Tampa on April 20

UFF invites everyone is invited to a Spring Social on April 20, starting at 11:30 am, on USF Tampa in the Marshall Student Center's Sabal Room. The Sabal Room is on the third floor, on the right and around the corner from Top of the Palms. Come talk to union bigwigs about the reorganizing USF and UFF (both thanks to the Legislature); lunch at Top of the Palms is on us..

$ 500 Travel Grants for UFF Members

The USF Chapter of the UFF will award five $ 500 Travel Scholarships for next spring and summer (a sixth will be awarded to a UFF member who votes in the chapter election). This will be for travel for participation in a professional activity. All applications are due by April 18, and only UFF members are eligible. In addition, no recipient of the Summer or Fall 2017 cycles of travel grants is eligible to apply. The five 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).

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).

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.

Legislative wrap-up

The Tampa Bay Times took out its postage scale and complained that The Legislature passed only 196 bills, the lowest number in 21 years. Of course, the question is whether good bills were passed and bad ones not, and by this measure, the Legislative Session's record on education and unions was rather poor.

House Bill 7055 was a legislative train full of goodies for charter schools - largely at the expense of public schools. The Florida Education Association was very critical of legislative attempts to rob the public schools in order to enrich private education companies - some with financial connections to legislators' families. Perhaps in retaliation, there appeared language that would decertify any K-12 teachers' union (i.e. some FEA units) lacking 50 % membership among the employees it represents; since many K-12 teachers want representation without paying for it, union membership is below 50 % in several counties. This bill passed and Governor Scott signed it, saying "This is an outstanding year for education," while the anti-union organization pushing the bill announced that it "empowers teachers with greater authority over their representation in the workplace." The FEA has already filed for recertification in several counties, but the FEA cannot repeatedly conduct recertification campaigns: in the long run, teachers in counties with low membership will have to join FEA or see their union representation disappear.

Fortunately, the bill that would force the USF Chapter of UFF into recertification this year died in committee. But we should be realistic. First, our state affiliate - which retains the staff and lawyers we rely on for bargaining and grievances - will be distracted by many recertification campaigns this coming year. In addition, next year is not an election year and there is a good chance that we will be on the griddle next session.

Scott also signed the bill that consolidated the USF system, the public rationale being that now all campuses would be pre-eminent. USF must now develop a plan to present to the Board of Trustees for consolidation, and UFF strongly encourages all faculty to get involved in the planning.

At the signing ceremony, House Speaker Richard Corcoran said that he and Senate President Joe Negron agreed before 2017 that during the 2017 and 2018 sessions, education would be their focus. Indeed, a few peanuts were tossed the universities' way, but K-12 was badly dinged. It seems that during the last decade or so, state funding for school security declined, and after the Parkland shooting, all the money that Governor Scott proposed for K-12 was shifted into school security - but not enough to make up the deficiency, much less the unfunded mandate that came along with the money. The net effect is a cut in regular K-12 funding in a year which the legislative leadership claimed was focused on education. School superintendents have called for a special session of the Legislature to get more funding, and several Tampa Bay area superintendents wrote a special appeal to the Governor. The Governor rejected the appeal, which moved the Ocala Star Banner to editorialize that despite the Florida State Constitution's prescription that education is a paramount duty of the state, "It would seem neither the governor nor our lawmakers see education as 'a paramount duty,' and that is harmful to our state."

Altogether, not a particularly good year for education after all. Here is The Tampa Bay Times list of What Passed and What Failed, and here is Creative Loafing's Legislative Session Recap.

USF Adjuncts Vote in Favor of Union Representation

There is another union on campus. USF adjuncts voted 326 - 91 (out of a bargaining unit of 893 employees) to have the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) represent them in bargaining and contract enforcement. One adjunct told The Tampa Bay Times "I kind of knew it was going to turn out very well, but I didn't know it was going to turn out this well."

There are now five bargaining units at USF:

And now the Florida Public Services Union of the SEIU represents adjunct faculty. We welcome SEIU to USF!


Chapter Meeting tomorrow Friday, March 23, at noon, on USF Tampa, in EDU 150.

We will have lunch at the meeting. 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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