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UFF Biweekly EXTRA
United Faculty of Florida -- USF Chapter
4 August 2021
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What are unions good for? What do they do? What can they do? What is the faculty union doing? What can the faculty union do - with your help?

The United Faculty of Florida is holding a Town Hall meeting on unions - and in particular, your union, on Thursday, August 12 at 12 noon. The meeting is open to everyone, and in particular, we invite all faculty and professionals in the UFF USF Bargaining Unit to attend. The meeting will be on Zoom; for a Zoom invitation, contact the Chapter Secretary.

COVID 19 and Impact Bargaining

While a union and management usually bargain in a regular cycle, sometimes something comes up, something that affects the terms and conditions of employment. For example, we are now in the midst of a surge of the COVID-19 pandemic which is projected to get worse, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have recently updated their Guidance for Institutions of Higher Education. When something comes up that could or should entail modifying the contract, the union and management engage in impact bargaining to compose a memorandum of understanding to address the crisis. For example, in 2020, UFF and the USF Administration bargained a Memorandum of Understanding - subsequently ratified by the employees of the UFF USF Bargaining Unit and by the USF Board of Trustees, addressing the Covid 19 situation that year.

The United Faculty of Florida has therefore sent a letter to the USF Board of Trustees on initiating impact bargaining to address the Covid 19 situation we face this coming academic year. This is the letter sent to USF Board of Trustees Chair Will Weatherford:

Dear Mr. Weatherford:

On July 28, 2021 the University of South Florida by means of a communication to USF faculty, staff and students which thus included in-unit employees of the University who are represented by the United Faculty of Florida, notified and reminded the in-unit employees of the guidance regarding the following subjects: Vaccines, Masks, Testing, Reporting positive cases or exposures, Isolation of positive cases, Quarantine procedures, In-person classes, In-person meetings and events and Remote Work.

The notification and reminder of the guidance indicated in part as follows:

  • Vaccines: Vaccines continue to be strongly encouraged...
  • Masks: While masks are not required at USF...
  • Isolation of positive cases: ...
  • In-person classes: There are no longer social-distancing requirements in place at USF. Faculty members will continue teaching in their current modality unless directed otherwise by university leadership, with the expectation that individuals will take steps to protect themselves by choosing to get vaccinated and wearing a mask.

COVID-19's impacts will likely continue to be felt in our community for some time. FLORIDA's CORONAVIRUS CASES JUMPED 50% THIS WEEK, THE STATE HEALTH DEPARTMENT REPORTED FRIDAY, CONTINUING A SIX-WEEK SURGE THAT HAS SEEN IT RESPONSIBLE FOR 1 IN 5 NEW INFECTIONS NATIONALLY, BECOMING THE OUTBREAK'S EPICENTER. The UFF intends to engage in a proactive discussion about ways to support our bargaining unit members as they begin the Fall 2021 semester and keep them and the campus community safe during these uncertain times. The UFF wants to work with the administration to guarantee the continued quality of our university's academic instruction, research and service, while honoring the Collective Bargaining Agreement and collective bargaining law.

The UFF has identified the following potential impacts stemming from the University's July 28, 2021, communication which relate to Articles 9, 10, 14, 15, 16. 17 and 21 of the USF/UFF Collective Bargaining Agreement consisting of but not limited to:

  • Potential impacts to assignments, evaluations, promotion, tenure, disciplinary action and job abandonment, leaves and safe conditions.
  • Potential impacts to location, hours of work and required contact with other individuals especially to bargaining unit members in "high risk" groups and those who must perform care work related to the virus.
  • Potential impacts to sick leave utilization for bargaining unit members who must self- quarantine, or care for those under self-quarantine.
Please consider this letter a demand for impact bargaining pursuant to Chapter 447 Part 11, Florida Statutes. The bargaining unit needs assurances that we are working together to ensure that the changes necessitated in response to the Coronavirus pandemic are implemented in a timely and collegial manner. Please contact me at your convenience so we may arrange a time and location to commence negotiations.

Robert F. Welker
Chief Negotiator
United Faculty of Florida

We are looking forward to their response. For more information, come hear the report of the UFF USF Bargaining Committee at the August 13 Chapter Meeting at 12 noon; for a Zoom invite to the meeting, contact the Chapter Secretary.

Join UFF Today!

Download, fill in, and mail or email the membership form. 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. Come and join the movement.

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.


Next Chapter Meeting Friday, August 13, at 12 noon, via Zoom: for an invitation, contact the Chapter Secretary.

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 UFF USF members.

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