United Faculty of Florida -- USF System Chapter
29 May 2014
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Chapter Meeting Tomorrow Noon at USF St. Petersburg in DAV 231
The UFF USF Chapter will meet tomorrow Friday at 12 noon on USF St. Petersburg in Davis Hall, room 231. For directions, click here; for a map of the campus, click here. There will be sandwiches, chips, and drinks. All UFF USF employees - UFF members and non-members alike - are invited.
For the rest of the summer, Chapter Meetings will be on alternate Fridays, at 12 noon, on June 13 & 27, July 11 & 25, and August 8 & 22. Meetings will be at CDB Restaurant . There will be pizza, salad, and drinks. All UFF USF employees - UFF members and non-members alike - are invited.
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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.
IN THIS ISSUE
Money from the Legislature, Money for the Faculty
The economic recovery is underway, and the Legislature gave the State University System a 6.5 % raise. That should give the USF Administration ample room to address a major problem noted in the latest AAUP salary survey: faculty salaries that do not keep up with inflation.
During impasse, we will be running articles in a special Department of Impasse. This issue, we look at:
- A Recovery Budget, not an Investment Budget. The Legislature got a small windfall from the economic recovery, and settled on a recovery budget. For details, see below or click here.
- The AAUP Salary Survey I: Keeping up with Inflation. We start our look at the AAUP's annual salary survey with an observation from the Chronicle of Higher Education: some people are being left behind. For more, see below or click here.
- A Decade of Declining Relations. It has been nearly ten years since UFF and the USF Administration signed their first contract. Ten years ago, UFF USF President Roy Weatherford and USF President Judy Genshaft clinked glasses at the ceremony. But the mood didn't last. For more, see below or click here.
A Recovery Budget, not an Investment Budget
One very important subject not mentioned in the previous Biweekly's article on the last legislative session was money. One of the most critical decisions that the legislature makes is how much to allocate to education. Because of the recovery, the legislature had more money than in the past, and was able to fund more desiderata, in particular a $ 500 million tax cut. The budget is now on its way to the governor's desk, and the governor's blue pen.
In this session, legislature passed a $ 77.1 billion budget, including $ 10.65 billion in state funds for K-12 education (a 1. 7 % increase) and $ 4.35 billion for the State University System (a 6.5 % increase). The universities will get $ 2.45 billion from the state (a 7.1 % increase) and $ 1.86 billion in tuition from students (a 3.3 % increase). It also includes $ 100 million for a "Performance Based Initiative", to be allocated to those universities that score highest in the legislature's current favorite benchmarks.
(Recall that USF scored second highest - after UF - in the performance standards, and anticipated $ 8.9 million as a result - enough to fund a 4.5 % raise for all faculty by itself. After all, as this is money from the performance metrics, it's bacon that the faculty brought home. Anyway, to continue...)
There were 70 special allocations to specific universities, including thirteen for USF, which ran the gamut from $ 5 million for the Cybersecurity Initiative to $ 100,000 for USFSM's Center for Partnerships for Arts. Altogether, USF got $ 11.3 million in special allocations.
Buildings are built and maintained using Public Education Capital Outlay (PECO) funds. During the last four sessions, K-12 public schools got no PECO funds, which were diverted to charter schools. This year, public schools did get $ 53 million in PECO funds, while charters will have to make do with a mere $ 75 million. University maintenance got $ 38 million and $ 155 million for various projects.
Altogether, this was an economic recovery budget, not an investment for the future budget.
The AAUP Salary Survey I: Keeping up with Inflation
As noted above, the State University System just got a 6.5 % raise. One major question is whether the universities will apply that money to address a growing problem nationwide.
Every year, the American Association of University Professors conducts a survey of faculty salaries, and this year the mean salary increase for faculty was 2.2 % over 2013 - 2014. But that increase was not uniformly distributed. The increase for full professors was 3.4 % while pay for assistant professors tries to keep up with the market. The Chronicle of Higher Education reported on the consequences for faculty in the middle:
As for USF, we have already observed that most USF faculty get raises lower than the mean raise - and lower than inflation, and that traditional-style employees who stay on the same line for many years fare worse than employees who move from line to line.
- The head of North Carolina State University's English Department told the Chronicle that "Beginning assistant professors can certainly make more than established associate professors in my department."
- An associate professor of anthropology at the University of Illinois at Springfield told the Chronicle that "The only way to get a significant raise is to move somewhere else ... And of course that’s a loss of experience and training to the university."
- While there is a big raise for being promoted to full professor, "In many departments and institutions, the culture and support for professors to come up to full is just not there," according to the director of the Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education at Harvard University. "What we’ve learned is that the experience of the newly tenured associate professors is a heavier course load and more service work, perhaps even serving as department chair. They’re asked to do all these other additional things without any support to continue their research productivity."
During this summer, we will take a closer look at what the AAUP survey tells us, and what USF's own numbers tell us. Stay tuned. Meanwhile ... might the Administration spare us a little of their 6.5 %?
Department of Impasse
A Decade of Declining Relations
It all began fifteen years ago, when then-Governor Jeb Bush and now-prospective FSU President John Thrasher tried to politicize the State University System, whose Board of Regents had shot down one legislative turkey too many. They got rid of the Board of Regents and replaced it with a politicized Board of Governors, which would do what the Legislature wanted it to do. That included getting rid of all the unions representing faculty, professionals, staff, police, etc., at all the universities.
We won the battles.
And as reported in the 6 January 2005 Biweekly...
- Florida voters passed a constitutional amendment making the Board of Governors an independent body.
- The unions were overwhelmingly supported by faculty, professionals, staff, police, etc., and most Florida university administrations (including USF's) decided not to fight the unions' authority to represent employees.
But then ... the theoretically independent Board of Governors was not very willing to stand up to the politicians. And as for management-employee relations...
... on 13 December 2004, USF Administration Chief Negotiator Noreen Segrist and UFF Chief Negotiator Bob Welker watched USF President Judy Genshaft and UFF USF President Roy Weatherford sign the 2004 – 2007 contract.
"This isn't a victory party; it's a success party," said Weatherford.
"We're the model ... we both want what's best for USF," said Genshaft.
UFF and the Administration had established a collaborative relationship that would benefit USF as a whole.
There was trouble at the very next round of bargaining, for the 2007 - 2010 contract. The Administration got going rather late, and bargaining wasn't completed until December. And it wasn't just bargaining between UFF and the USF Administration: all the unions had problems. In its 5 December 2007 editorial, the Oracle complained that "During the past few years, USF has shown remarkable determination in its attempt to alienate every employee union with which it negotiates."
The Oracle reported that bargaining with the Police Benevolent Association "borders on impasse," and that that AFSCME, which represents staff, had requested a federal mediator in its negotiations. "USF is refusing to involve a mediator," reported the Oracle, "but the administration reportedly lacks interest in resolving negotiations through other avenues." The Oracle noted that bargaining with both unions had gone on for three years (!). Concluded the Oracle: "There is no chance of USF ever reaching its academic and research goals if it continues to ostracize those who make their success possible."
That was 2007. In 2010, UFF and the Administration were back at the bargaining table. On June 2, the Administration declared impasse, but both sides agreed on a contract just as the Special Magistrate arrived ("impasse" means that a Special Magistrate hears both sides and proposes a compromise). Bargaining between AFSCME and the Administration also landed in impasse, but the Administration rejected the recommendations of the Special Magistrate and the USF Board of Trustees imposed their own contractual language.
It is now 2014, and we are bargaining a successor to the 2010 - 2013 contract. Bargaining with AFSCME also went into impasse this time around, and AFSCME and the Administration reached a compromise just as the Special Magistrate arrived. But UFF bargained defensively, and while the Board of Trustees may attempt to impose contract language on the employees, a reasonable compromise may be far better for both the employees and the University.
Notice that UFF is ultimately dealing with the Board. The Administration's Chief Negotiator may represent the Administration, but that Administration serves at the pleasure of the Board. And the Board was appointed by Tallahassee. In theory, the Board is supposed to serve the community, but in practice, as Molly Ivins once observed, "you got to dance with them who brung you."
UFF will continue to pursue an equitable contract, which we believe is attainable and in the best interest of the faculty and the university. However, we are prepared for impasse proceedings.
Chapter Meeting tomorrow Friday, May 30, at 12 noon on USF St. Petersburg in DAV 231.
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.
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