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UFF Biweekly
United Faculty of Florida -- USF System Chapter
7 March 2019
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The UFF Senate ... about the Legislative Session

The primary policy-making body of the United Faculty of Florida is the UFF Senate, which meets twice a year, usually in Tampa. The Senate met over the February 16 - 17 weekend, and the primary concern was ... the legislative session that just started.

  • The UFF Senate. The key to educating politicians is organization, and UFF is building local organizations across the state to reach out to legislators and other local leaders. For details, see below or click here.
The UFF USF Biweekly continues to run short accounts by recipients of the travel scholarships.
  • War and Peace in Colombia. Rachel May, Associate Professor of Humanities and Cultural Studies, made a presentation on how local communities in Colombia dealt with the strife there. For more, see below or click here.
Meanwhile, the union's elections are upon us. The Chapter and the statewide union are both conducting elections. All union members - and only union members - may participate by running for office or representative seats, and by voting. Ballots will for both elections will go out shortly, so union members should watch their snailmail. A UFF USF Biweekly Special will be broadcast to UFF members when the chapter ballots go in the mail (we anticipate that the ballots will be in the mail tomorrow); please don't delay returning the ballots as they must be received by March 19. For information on the candidates, see the Election Page on the UFF USF website.

Meanwhile, next Friday is the deadline for the USF Board of Trustees to submit their recommendation on consolidating USF to the State University System Board of Governors. The USF Administration's Consolidation Implementation Committee submitted its recommendations, and the various reports occupy pages 86 - 872 of the March 5 Agenda of the Board of Trustees, which, as the USF St. Petersburg Crow's Nest observed, is a lot of pages. The Oracle reported that the USF Board of Trustees voted in favor of designating USF St. Petersburg and USF Sarasota / Manatee as "branch campuses," with more autonomy than they would have had as "instructional sites." A video of the Board's 3-hour meeting has been posted online.


Chapter Meeting Tomorrow on USF Tampa

The USF Chapter of the United Faculty of Florida will meet tomorrow Friday at noon on USF Tampa in EDU 317. On the agenda: the chapter election, bargaining, consolidating USF, and plans for the fall recruiting campaign. Come and check us out.

This spring, we will meet on March 8 & 22, and April 5 & 19 at noon at locations announced on the calendar of Upcoming Events. In particular, on April 5, we will meet in USF Sarasota / Manatee. Come and check us out.

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).

$ 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 Wednesday, April 17, and only UFF members are eligible. In addition, no recipient of the 2018 cycles of travel grants is eligible to apply, and members of the Executive Committee are ineligible. The six recipients shall be selected by lot at the April 19 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).

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 UFF Senate

Twice a year, the UFF Senate meets to hear reports and to set policy for the United Faculty of Florida. This spring term, 112 senators from across the state attended the UFF Senate meeting on February 16 & 17, and the primary issue was the Legislature. The Legislative session runs from March 5 to May 3 this year, although committees have been quietly reviewing bills for several months now.

UFF is but one union "local" of the Florida Education Association, which represents K-20 educators and staff statewide (UFF has over eight thousand members, and the FEA has over 145,000). FEA President Fed Ingam came to share FEA's views. Ingam told the UFF Senate that we have the largest K-12 teacher shortage in decades, resulting in four thousand classrooms without teachers. There are staff shortages as well, and Ingam told UFF that many schools are not adhering to federal regulations because they lack the staff to do the work. The problem is that teaching is being denigrated as a career, and the salary is too low to attract adults with families, mortgages, and other responsibilities.

"I believe in talking to everybody," said Ingam when he told us that he invited Florida Education Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran to a FEA meeting - and he came. UFF President Karen Morian described Corcoran as "charming and engaging," and said that Corcoran apologized if he had offended any teachers (but did not apologize for his effort to decertify FEA).

So the FEA, and its locals like UFF, are educating the Legislature. FEA's priority in the coming session is education funding, and its slogan for the legislative session is Fund Our Future. FEA is putting out advertisements, like this one on You-Tube. The three bullets of the campaign are student success, retain and recruit educators, and investment in public schools.

To support the FEA's effort, the UFF Government Relations chair told the Senate that every chapter should have a government relations committee to visit and meet local legislators, contact them by phone about important legislation, and collaborate with local AFL-CIO Central Labor Councils. UFF anticipates bills attacking unions and undermining health and retirement benefits, but the only bills discussed at the senate meeting were:

  • House Bill 6007 that "Removes provision prohibiting concealed carry licensees from openly carrying handgun or carrying concealed weapon or firearm into college or university facility." The UFF Senate passed a resolution opposing permitting anyone other than law officers to carry guns on campus.
  • House Bill 839 that "Requires BOG to report on intellectual freedom & viewpoint diversity..." and at least seven other things (e.g. lurking in the depths is the mandate that USF St. Petersburg and USF Sarasota / Manatee shall be branch campuses: see Section 4, pp. 12 - 15). Perhaps benign in abstract, the UFF is concerned that this bill will be used to restrict academic freedom on campus, and resolved to oppose this bill.
If you are interested in educating legislators (or influencing AFL-CIO endorsements), contact the UFF Secretary.

War and Peace in Colombia

Rachel May is an Associate Professor in the Department of Humanities and Cultural Studies at USF Tampa affiliated with the USF Institute for the Study of Latin America and the Caribbean (ISLAC). She received a $ 500 travel scholarship to participate in the 2018 Congress of the Latin American Studies Association in May last year (the theme being Latin American Studies in a Globalized World). This is her account.

After the recent publication of my co-authored book on armed revolutionary movements in the Caribbean Basin (Caribbean Revolutions), I started a new project about community-based approaches to peace building in Colombia--one of the case studies in the aforementioned book. This new project draws on my interest in human rights and peace studies, as well as my previous work on armed militant groups. I will be examining a range of peace-building activities and programs that have been initiated by grass-roots community organizations in three different regions of Colombia which were affected by the conflict between the FARC guerrillas and the government. This conflict was formally ended in December of 2016. The travel grant from UFF helped me to attend the Latin American Studies Association (LASA) meeting, which was held in Barcelona in June of 2018. I presented a paper War and Peace in Colombia: The Impact of the Peace Accords on Local Communities on community-based approaches to peace-building in Colombia on a panel on Social mobilizations and conflicts in Latin America and the Caribbean Contemporaries: the experience of the peace process in Colombia. This panel included other colleagues who are also working on post-conflict Colombia. This panel was sponsored by the Consejo Latinoamericano de Ciencias Sociales (CLACSO), which is the largest Latin American studies organization in the Americas. I also met with my publisher and my Latin American collaborators on the Colombian peace building project. I believe that the book will be a very useful addition to the available literature on the history of Cold War-era armed movements in Latin America. And I am hopeful that the new work on grassroots peace building initiatives will highlight the important work that ordinary people are carrying out in the midst of extremely difficult circumstances, and that their experiences can serve as models in other contexts.


Chapter Meeting tomorrow Friday, March 8, at noon, on USF Tampa in EDU 317.

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.

Our website is http://www.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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