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UFF Biweekly
United Faculty of Florida -- USF System Chapter
7 January 2021
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Getting Ready for a New Year

Welcome back and Happy New Year! Last year was a hard year, and some of the harshness of last year is still with us, but this is a new year. And there is a lot on the agenda. Some items are reverberations from last year, and some are more longstanding. Meanwhile, UFF will be conducting an organizing campaign this spring, and we are asking faculty to get more involved: the way to get things done is by doing them.

  • The Budget Crunch. The USF Board of Trustees is now deciding what to do about the budget crunch. For more, see below or click here.
  • What Will the Legislature Do? Although the Legislature doesn't meet until March, politicking is already underway, so it's time to educate politicians. For more, see below or click here.
  • Union Elections Both the UFF USF Chapter and the statewide UFF are holding elections this spring (but you must be a UFF member to participate). For more, see below or click here.
  • Oh, Yes, Consolidation. Officially, consolidation was completed last summer. But there are still issues, and our accreditor will soon be checking us out. For more, see below or click here.
Still overshadowing all this will be the pandemic. As a result of what AAAS Science called the 2020 Breakthrough of the Year, Vaccines are on the way. This is good news, especially for Florida as Covid-19's toll on Floridians has been heavy. but CNN reports estimates that it will be several months before shots are available to the general public, and meanwhile Anthony Fauci told CNN News that January could be worse than December, and urged listeners to take precautions. So we should be careful this semester.

Chapter Meeting Tomorrow on Zoom

The USF Chapter of the United Faculty of Florida will meet tomorrow Friday at 12 noon on Zoom. On the agenda: the chapter election, , the College of Education, the Spring semester, the new legislative session, and more. And here are the minutes for the previous meeting.

Any employee in the Bargaining Unit may attend, but you must have an invitation: contact the Chapter Secretary to get one. We are meeting on alternate Fridays at noon over Zoom. Meetings and events are posted on the Events Calendar of the UFF USF Website. Come and check us out.

Join UFF Today!

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. Here is the membership form. Come and join the movement.


If you have been the victim of a violation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement or the recent Memorandum of Understanding, 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 Grievances Page.

USF United Support Fund for Food Pantries

Many of our students are struggling during this crisis, and the USF Foundation is supporting the USF Food Pantries to help out. They are accepting non-perishable donations, but one can also make monetary donations for the pantries at St. Petersburg, Sarasota / Manatee, and Tampa.

We are on Social Media

Yes, we are on social media.

  • We have a Facebook group: see United Faculty of Florida at USF. 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, and the moderator will invite every UFF member that asks to join. Non-members are welcome to look (but you need a Facebook account to do that). So check us out.
  • We have a blog: see The USF Faculty Blog. This has news items as they come up.
  • We are twitter-pated: follow us on Twitter via @UffUsf.
  • We even have a You-Tube channel: check out our videos
If you want to help with media matters, contact the Communications Committee chair.

The Budget Crunch

All of Florida's colleges and universities are facing tight finances this semester, but the USF Administration stands out in its radical proposals for program cuts. Late fall saw a huge fight over
drastic cuts to the College of Education and to the College of Global Sustainability, but the first cut was very controversial, and now there seems to be a change in plan, so we should watch the process carefully in case something new arises.

The Board met on Dec. 8 (and the meeting was recorded), and then the Board's Budget Workshop met on Dec. 11 (along with the agenda was a package of metrics and finances the video was posted. (Videos of past meetings are posted on the USF Board websiste.

The Budget Workshop will meet tomorrow from 2 pm to 4 pm, just after the chapter meeting, and the full Board will meet next week on Tuesday from 12:30 pm to 2 pm. As described in the 19 December Biweekly Extra, the situation is very serious - but also very uncertain. It is not clear what the federal government will do this spring, and (in response to whatever action that the federal government takes - or does not take) - it is not clear what the state government will do. As reported in the 7 December 2021 Biweekly Extra, UFF has been told that some legislators are waiting to see what the federal government will do.

And UFF has been told that some legislators are unhappy with some of the cuts proposed by the USF Administration. Perhaps the best thing for the Board to do this month is to sit tight. Meanwhile, for more information about BOT meetings, see the BOT Meetings Page. For more on the Legislature, see below.

What Will the Legislature Do?

The likeliest answer is: as of now, not even the Legislature knows what it will do.

The Florida State Legislature will convene on March 2 and will conclude on April 30, but committee meetings start next week. But a lot of legislative business occurs when the Legislature is not in session. Bills started appearing in the hopper at the end of November, and they will be vetted by committees during the next two months before the session starts; we can expect many more to appear during upcoming weeks. While UFF has heard rumors of wild legislation to watch for (and we are watching), the big question is the budget.

How much money the universities get from the state depends on how much money the state has, and state revenues are better than expected: the Florida Office of Economic & Demographic Research reports that monthly total general revenue last year surpassed the August 2020 estimates in September, October, and November (December's numbers aren't in yet), and this year's total general revenue surpassed last year's total general revenue in October and November.

Of course, the caveat to that is that we are in tourist season, and Florida is very dependent on tourism. On the other hand, business experts have been warning for decades that Florida is over-dependent on tourism and really should put more effort and resources into developing a Twenty-first century economy - and higher education is critical for that. The pandemic has added an exclamation point to that warning. However, this advice must be made explicitly and repeatedly from many sources if it is going to sway legislators.

Since legislation impacts higher education, the United Faculty of Florida puts a lot of energy into educating legislators about colleges and universities. Legislators tend to be more responsive to voters who live or work in their own districts, so we would like UFF members who would be willing to talk to legislators about higher education issues. If you are interested - and are a UFF member - contact the Chapter Secretary..

Union Elections

The United Faculty of Florida is a democracy, and this spring both the USF Chapter and the statewide organization will hold elections. Any dues-paying UFF member may run for office or representative seats, and vote in the elections - but only dues-paying UFF members may participate -
so join today. Both elections will be completed by April 1.

At tomorrow's chapter meeting, the Election Committee will propose a schedule for conducting the chapter election; shortly afterwards, a Biweekly Extra will call for nominations. The elective offices are the president, the vice president, the secretary, and the treasurer. The representative seats are senate seats (chapter senators represent USF at the biannual statewide UFF Senate meetings) and the delegate seats (delegates represent the UFF at the annual meetings of the Florida Education Association - which represents K-20 teachers across the state).

Meanwhile, UFF members will receive nomination forms and, later, ballots for the statewide elections. This is a separate process and UFF members are encouraged to participate in both elections.

Oh, Yes, Consolidation

Officially, USF became One University Geographically Distributed on July 1, but there are still a number of kinks and glitches as we get used to a new administrative structure and changing administrative practices and expectations. For example, UFF is handling a number of grievances from faculty at USF St. Petersburg and Sarasota. If you are a faculty at a regional campus and you have suffered because of a consolidation-motivated change,
please let us know; however, we regret that we cannot represent employees in a grievance unless they were UFF members at the time that they knew or should have known of the grievable action.

Meanwhile, our accreditor - the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools - Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) will be (virtually) visiting us January 25 - 28 to see how things are going; the visitors will make a report, USF will have the opportunity to respond to the report sometime in spring, and then in summer or fall SACSCOC will decide what (if anything) needs to be fixed. For details, see the SACSCOC timeline.


Chapter Meeting tomorrow Friday, January 8, at 12 noon, via Zoom. All UFF USF members are welcome: for the Zoom link, contact the Chapter Secretary.

All UFF members are invited to attend. Non-members are also invited to come and check us out. To get the link to Zoom, contact the Chapter Secretary. 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 or contacting the Chapter Secretary. If you do not receive the Biweekly, but want to, contact the Chapter Secretary.