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UFF Biweekly
United Faculty of Florida -- USF System Chapter
15 July 2021
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Bargaining has Begun

Last week, the bargaining teams for the United Faculty of Florida (representing UFF USF employees) and the USF Administration (representing the Board of Trustees) met to start bargaining in earnest. As mentioned in the previous Biweekly, we want stuff and they want stuff. The teams started with the Administration proposals.

  • Their Proposals. The Administration made proposals concerning assignments, outside activity, job abandonment, and a number of other articles as well. In addition, they proposed an average 1 % merit raise (effective next year) using a new formula. For details, see below or click here.
It took two and a half hours to go through the Administration's proposals, at which point both chief negotiators decided to call it a day. Next meeting - time and place TBD - we will go through our proposals.

As a sign of the times, bargaining between USF staff union (the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees) and the USF Administration is at impasse, and there was an impasse hearing on July 6 (here is AFSCME's statement and the USF Administration statement); despite the fact that the USF Administration represents the USF Board of Trustees, the issue will be presented to the Board to be resolved.

Meanwhile, Lake-Sumter State College (LSSC) has just terminated a member of the UFF Bargaining team for the LSSC Chapter. Incidentally, retaliation against an employee for union activity is a violation of federal law...

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: HB 233 and academic freedom, USF's financial situation, initiation of bargaining, 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. This summer, we will be meeting on alternate Fridays at 12 noon over Zoom: the dates are July 16 & 30, and August 13. Any employee in the Bargaining Unit may attend, but you must have an invitation: contact the Chapter Secretary to get one.

Meetings and events are posted on the Events Calendar of the UFF USF Website. Come and check us out.

Memorial for Roy Weatherford

USF Philosophy Professor Roy Weatherford was the president of the USF Chapter of the United Faculty of Florida for the most dangerous years in its history, during Tallahassee's attempt to get rid of UFF statewide (and the battle over USF Professor Al-Arian). He signed the first collective bargaining agreement bargained by the United Faculty of Florida (representing employees of the UFF USF Bargaining Unit) and the USF Administration (representing the Board of Trustees).

L to R: USF BOT Chief Negotiator Noreen Segrist, USF President Judy Genshaft, UFF USF President Roy Weatherford, UFF USF Chief Negotiator Bob Welker
Genshaft and Weatherford sign the contract
Extreme left: Noreen Segrest for the BOT Bargaining Team
Extreme right: Robert Welker for the UFF Bargaining Team

The USF community lost a friend and champion when Professor Weatherford passed on last year. Because of the pandemic, the memorial was delayed. But now, on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend, on September 5, there will be a Memorial for Roy Weatherford from 4 pm to 6 pm at the Sam & Martha Gibbons Alumni Center at USF. All members and friends of the USF community are invited to come say good-by. For more information, contact Doris Weatherford .

Tailgate Social in Fall

UFF will sponsor a Tailgate Social for the first home football game of the USF Bulls vs. the Florida Gators on Sept. 11, 2021. The game will be at Raymond James stadium in Tampa. The game is scheduled to start at noon, but kickoff time is subject to change. Regardless, we are planning a tent, chairs, coolers, and food for 50 UFF members and families members before the game. In the past, our Tailgates have been at a prime location to watch the bands and players enter, meet up with Rocky, and enjoy the fans.

RSVP to Steve Lang if you plan to participate and let us know who is coming (like a spouse or children). We will need to order food and maybe extra chairs.

If you already have tickets to the game, that’s great! Otherwise, you can get tickets at the Go USF Bulls (Football Tickets) website. For the last few years there was an employee discount, so call them and ask. If you do not have tickets and would like UFF to ask for a group or tickets together, then let us know ASAP and we will try to arrange it. This game will be sold out! No one actually knows what the mask or vaccination policy will be at Raymond James Stadium at this time.

Please provide an email so that we can update folks with information about the time of the game, location of the Tailgate, parking, food choices, and tickets.

We have had some really great tailgate parties in the past few years at the Rays, Rowdies, and USF Bulls, so hopefully this will be a back-to-normal event.

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.

Grievances

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.


Their Proposals

While the faculty and professionals of the University of South Florida are the University of South Florida, legally, USF is a creation of the State of Florida. As such, it is governed by the Board of Governors of the State University System, which in turn has delegated chunks of legal authority to the USF Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees hires and fires university presidents (who, in turn, hire and fire senior administrators), so that directly or indirectly, the USF Administration - in a legally enforceable way - serves the Board. So when the United Faculty of Florida (representing the employees of the UFF USF Bargaining Unit) bargains with the USF Administration, the Administration represents the Board.

The bargaining teams for UFF and the Administration met last Friday, and the Administration handed out a proposal consisting of 73 pages of edits of the current contract (notice that the entire document has line numbers, like a galley). There was a lot of discussion about the following edits:

  • Removing the requirement for employee consent to certain changes in assignment. In the current contract, Section 8.3 on Appointments (lines 403 - 450) lists 13 "elements" of an assignment, from effective date to principal place of employment. Then Subsection 8.4(A) (lines 455 - 459) requires that an employee must be notified of the change and - unless it is a raise or a promotion - the change must be agreed to by the employee in writing. The Administration proposes to remove the requirement for the employee's consent. (Incidentally, this is the sentence in the contract that prevents the Administration from imposing involuntary furloughs.)
  • Notice for Non-Reappointment. At the meeting, the Administration said that the word "tenured" would be removed from lines 1086, 1088, and 1091. Notice that lines 1093 - 1094 would reduce the notice required for non-reappointment of non-tenure-track employees with at least two years continuous USF service from one year to 19.5 weeks.
  • Reducing the number of missed days required to trigger job abandonment. In the current contract, Subsection 16.7(A) (lines 1379 - 1384) states that an employee must miss 12 consecutive days or over 15 % of a (teaching) term before being considered to have abandoned their position and voluntarily resigned. The Administration proposes to reduce that to three days and to delete the 15 % bit.
  • Reporting outside activity during summer. In the current contract, Subsection 19.4(D) (lines 2062 - 2067) states that requirements for reporting outside activity do not apply to activity "performed wholly" during periods that the employee has no appointment, e.g., during summer for a 9-month employee with no summer appointment. Citing Florida Statute 1012.977 on Disclosure of contracts that affect the integrity of state universities or entities; penalties, the Administration proposes to require such reports.
And cutting to the chase, citing financial difficulties, the Administration proposes a 1 % average merit raise - effective next year. Also, there is a tweak in the formula described in Subsubsection 23.1(A)(3) (lines 2581 - 2583) that would have the following effect. Instead of the cash amounts of merit raises being proportional to annual evaluation scores (as in the past), merit raises as percentage of base salary would be proportional to annual evaluation scores. Thus, within a department, everyone who got a 4.0 evaluation score would have the same percentage raise, so if one employee with a 4.0 evaluation score got a 1 % raise, they all would (and similarly, someone with a 5.0 evaluation score would get a (5/4) × 1 % = 1.25 % raise, while someone with a 3.0 evaluation score would get (3/4) × 1 % = 0.75 %). As in the current contract, anyone whose score was below 3.0 would get no raise.

UFF's primary concern about the Administration's salary proposal was the amount. The last merit raise was distributed in November 2019, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that inflation from November 2019 through June 2021 was 5.63 %, so even if the proposed 1 % raise was implemented this year, it would fall noticeably short of inflation. (It doesn't help that Fitch anticipates that the annual inflation rate between now and next August will be about 4 %.) UFF is very concerned about the effect of such a blow to purchasing power of UFF USF employees and believes that the USF Board of Trustees should seriously consider the effect of this proposed raise on USF's already serious retention problem.

Of course, USF is in financial difficulties, but there has been a certain lack of transparency about those difficulties, which makes it difficult to estimate what a reasonable raise would be this year given USF's financial position.

The two chief negotiators will set a date for the next bargaining session. Stay tuned...


LOGISTICS

Chapter Meeting tomorrow Friday, July 16, 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 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.