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UFF Biweekly
United Faculty of Florida -- USF System Chapter
29 July 2021
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Bargaining and Safety

What is a union for? What does it do and how does it do it? And what's in this contract that the union bargains and enforces? For answers to these and other questions, come to our Town Hall on Unions and Contracts on Thursday, August 12, at 12 noon. The meeting will be on Zoom, so for a Zoom invite, contact the Chapter Secretary to get one.

Speaking of contracts, we are bargaining one right now.

  • Our Proposals. UFF started off with proposals on academic freedom, summer appointments, multi-year contracts, and more. For details, see below or click here.
Meanwhile, despite the happy talk emanating from the state capitol, the pandemic is still very much with us.
  • Safe Working Conditions. One of the most important ways to get administrators to do something about a hazardous situation is to make them officially cognizant of the problem - in writing. For details, see below or click here.
We were all surprised by USF President Currall's sudden resignation, and many in the USF community shared the Tampa Bay Time's concerns. We are also concerned about the selection of the next president because of the lack of transparency in the recent handling of the new Strategic Plan and the budgetary crunch.

So we were pleased to read the column by the new chair of the USF Board of Trustees, Will Weatherford, calling on the community to participate in the search for a new president, for "After all, USF belongs to all of us." We encourage everyone to take Mr. Weatherford up on his call, and we can start by attending the 2 August 2021 USF Board of Trustees Meeting, as the nomination of Rhea Law as interim president is on the agenda.

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: reopening in fall, salary equity across campuses, collective 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 30 and August 13.

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

Memorial for Roy Weatherford

As announced in the July 15 Biweekly, there will be a memorial for USF Philosophy Professor and former UFF USF Chapter President Roy Weatherford 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.


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.

Our Proposals

The United Faculty of Florida and the USF Administration are bargaining a successor contract to the 2016 - 2019 Collective Bargaining Agreement (extended by the 2019 - 2020 Memorandum of Understanding) On July 9, the two teams presented their first proposals. Some highlights to the USF Administration proposal were outlined in the 15 July 2021 Biweekly, along with a link to their entire proposal.

UFF also put a proposal on the table, although there wasn't enough time at the meeting to go through it thoroughly. UFF's proposals are listed on our Bargaining a New Contract Page; there are a lot of them, but here are a few high points.

  • Academic Freedom in the Classroom. UFF proposes to add to the definition of academic freedom the authority to determine grading criteria and grading scales, and assign grades (subject to the academic grievance process applied to student grades.)
  • Summer Appointments. The current contract says that employees shall be offered summer appointments first (before adjuncts); UFF proposes to remove the "if practicable". In addition, UFF proposes that independent study, directed reading, and directed research courses be available during summer for students who need them to graduate on time.
  • Multi-Year Appointments for Non-Tenure-Track Faculty. The current contract lists seven categories of employees who may be offered fixed multi-year contracts (see 8.4I on pp. 13 - 14 of the current contract); UFF proposes to add an eighth category of employee eligible for these contracts: all other non-tenure-track employees. Then UFF proposes a process for assigning continuing multi-year contracts to non-tenured employees; Instructors II and III and Associate and Full University Librarians are currently eligible for these contracts.
  • Annual evaluations. One of the items discussed on July 9 were annual evaluations. One problem is that some annual evaluators have evaluated employee performance prior to the year being evaluated; UFF proposes that each employee be evaluated on their performance of their assigned duties during that year.
    Another problem has been the evaluation of teaching. The contract already says that the evaluation "must take into account any relevant materials submitted by the employee ... and may not be based solely on student evaluations when this additional information has been made available to the evaluator." Notice the use of the word "must." Nevertheless, some evaluators over-rely on student evaluations, and occasionally they ... interpret ... the results to mean something other than what students thought they meant (e.g. interpreting "good" as "weak"). Notice that UFF proposes that evaluators interpret the student evaluations using the words in the evaluation (Excellent, Very Good, Good, etc.) and fixes a scale for interpreting the averages.
  • Layoffs. Many institutions across the country have resorted to laying off faculty, sometimes even senior tenured faculty. Layoffs at USF must be done in conformity with Article 13 of the current contract. UFF proposes replacing the statement that "Employees should be informed of layoff as soon as practicable and where circumstances permit" with the requirement that employees who have been here at least three years will get a year's notice; those who have been here less time get six months.
As mentioned in the previous Biweekly, UFF made no salary proposal as the USF Administration had not provided requested information on the university's financial standing. Hopefully, this problem will be resolved so that UFF can make a reasonable proposal.

Safe Working Conditions

At the beginning of this summer, the Biweekly noted that fall is not that far away and looked at several aspects of teaching in the midst of COVID-19 this coming fall. Fall semester is nearly here, the Delta Variant is surging in Florida while the state cuts back on its reports. Florida politics being what they are, the USF Administration will be under enormous pressure to hold classes in classrooms.

We know from our survey that about 75% of faculty want required vaccinations and air quality improvements and masks. One tool faculty can use to protect themselves, their loved ones, and their students, is to report hazardous job conditions - which includes classrooms with inadequate ventilation, or with space restrictions making adequate (6 feet) social distancing impossible, or other problems that would enable the contagion. According to Section 21.3 of the contract, "Whenever an employee reports a condition which the employee feels represents a violation of safety or health rules and regulations or which is an unreasonable hazard to persons or property, such conditions shall be promptly investigated. The appropriate administrator shall reply to the concern, in writing, if the employee's concern is communicated in writing." Here is a template for making a report to one's supervisor, and notice that the university also has an online form for reporting safety issues to USF Environmental Health & Safety.


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.