UFF USF Chief Negotiator Robert F. Welker, Professor of Business Law and Attorney at law, has written another letter to the employees of the UFF USF Bargaining Unit (and to administrators, too). In addition...
The USF Tampa Faculty Senate Wants Feedback
The USF Tampa Faculty Senate is conducting a Climate Survey to "...assess faculty perceptions of university conditions that support and affect faculty morale and university productivity." The survey will help the senate determine what the major problems are and what issues are most pressing.
In addition, the USF Tampa Faculty Senate is conducting assessments of President Genshaft and Provost Wilcox. A summary of the assessment of President Genshaft will be provided to the president, to the Senate, and to the System Faculty Council (the SFC represents faculty for the entire USF system, and is chaired by the faculty representative to the USF Board of Trustees). A summary of the assessment of Provost Wilcox will be provided to the president, the provost, and the Senate.
We strongly encourage all USF Tampa faculty to participate. USF Tampa faculty should have received an email message from the Senate, and more will be sent out to remind faculty to participate. The survey and the two assessments may be reached via this webpage on USF Learn, and input is confidential.
Do We Know What Our Graduate Students Go Through?
Thanks to the hard work of USF's faculty and professionals, USF's graduate programs offer many opportunities in advanced education and training. Unfortunately, the meagre resources provided for instruction result in heavy course loads and low compensation - which complicates both recruitment and retention.
USF's graduate students took matters into their own hands and organized UFF USF Graduate Assistants United, which represents graduate assistants at USF. Like USF faculty and staff, USF graduate students have a contract with USF.
The GAU is bargaining a successor contract with the USF Administration, and UFF USF GAU co-presidents Megan Flocken and Joshua Lenes spoke to WMNF about some of the major issues. Graduate assistants provide about half the instruction at USF, but wages are at poverty level. (The average USF graduate student's annual salary is about $ 14,300, while the U. S. government's poverty level for a single person is $ 11,670.) Many graduate assistants are taking loans to get by. The five minute interview is online; see also the 23 June 2014 Oracle article and the GAU's webpage on poverty wages - which includes comparisons between USF and our competition.
Graduate students are our future, and USF would not function without them. UFF is proud to support them in their effort to improve their job conditions and compensation.
Vote by Mail
This year's election is going to make a major difference in Florida. Three years ago, a new governor and an enthusiastic legislative leadership turned the State of Florida in a new direction. But there is a lot of unfinished business - like abolishing tenure and decertifying unions. And there is still much work to do, like extending accountability measures throughout the higher educational system, and most of the K-20 educational system has yet to be properly privatized.
If you have strong feelings about these issues, You should vote! Starting with the primaries: for one thing, whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, there are several candidates running for the gubernatorial nomination. For another, in many districts, the primary (pun intended) decision on who will be elected to City Council, County Commission, Florida House or Senate, will be made in the primaries.
The Florida Education Association encourages everyone to vote by mail. It gets voting out of the way and allows voters to avoid long lines and scheduling issues. Voting by mail will dramatically reduce the amount of election flyers, phone calls, and emails you receive. Here is how it works. Just as in the past, whether you voted in an election was public information, so it is now. But now, the fact that you voted is made public once your ballot is received. As long as your county Supervisor of Elections is on the ball (!), candidates and election committees will see that you voted and not waste money sending you stuff or calling you up.
(But even after you vote by mail, there will still be endless TV commercials and news stories in places like the Biweekly. You can't have everything.)
Your county Supervisor of Elections may have sent you a form for requesting a ballot to vote by mail. But you may also request a ballot via your county Supervisor of Elections website: to request a ballot to vote by mail, here is where to go:
Notice that you can check your registration status (you must be registered to vote). The primary election is scheduled for August 26, so you must be registered by July 28 to vote.
Don't forget, Silence betokens consent. If you don't vote, you consent to whatever outcome the voters made.
Department of Impasse
Letter to USF Faculty and Professionals
This is a letter from USF Professor Robert F. Welker, our chief negotiator.
The impasse hearing is scheduled for the week of July 14, 2014, before the Special Magistrate
(time and location to be determined).
Although your union has endeavored to negotiate a fair and reasonable contract (CBA) over the past 22 months, the USF Board of Trustees (USF/BOT) had other plans. The USF/BOT declared impasse. Your union is prepared for impasse. Your union submitted its Impasse Proposal to the Special Magistrate this past week. Here are some highlights:
- A 4.0 % across the board base salary increase for all employees retroactive to August 7, 2013.
- $ 1,000 compression and inversion base salary increase for eligible employees effective August 7, 2014.
- Protection of your summer school teaching from possible insidious plans by the University Administration to diminish or deprive you of this crucial source of compensation
- Life insurance for all employees at 1.5 times base salary with premiums paid by the University
- All employee pension plan contributions paid by the University. (That's to make up for the 3 % that Governor Scott cut.)
- All increases in employee premiums for health insurance paid by the University.
- A specific designated path/ method of attaining tenure and promotion.
- Checks and balances for creating and changing/ modifying tenure and promotion criteria and processes/ procedures.
- Specific criteria for assigning full time equivalency (FTE) for teaching/ instruction.
- Limitations on the number of course preparations per semester.
- Uniformity in setting starting salaries.
Many proposals by the USF/BOT during said time resembled the DEAR JOHN LETTERS of long ago as they seemed to convey the message that the USF/BOT had found someone it liked better than you, the employees, namely, MR. CASH RESERVES.
You earned and should have received FOUR MILLION DOLLARS ($ 4,000,000) since August 7, 2013. Into what BLACK HOLE has it been sucked?
It seems as if USF/BOT may have employed some consultants to advise it on collective bargaining, namely, GRUMPY CAT (the NO NO NO cat) and THELMA and LOUISE (the let's drive off the cliff and show them they can't win kids).
The Simon and Garfunkel song entitled THE BOXER has an interesting first verse which seems to warn about pitfalls in making decisions in life:
I am just a poor boy.
Though my story's seldom told,
I have squandered my resistance
For a pocketful of mumbles,
Such are promises
All lies and jest
Still, a man hears what he wants to hear
And disregards the rest.
Your union will not drop its resistance and accept MUMBLES from the USF/BOT in lieu of enforceable promises. Your union will not accept an offer from the USF/BOT which would require the union to DISREGARD matters which could result in dire consequences to you.
Robert F. Welker
UFF USF Chief Negotiator
Professor Welker will be at the Chapter Meeting tomorrow, Friday, at noon, at CDB Restaurant. All UFF USF employees are invited to hear his report.
Past letters have included links to Capuchin monkeys reject unequal pay and Strawbs - Part of the union 1973 - and, of course, the membership form. Join today!