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UFF Biweekly
United Faculty of Florida -- USF System Chapter
10 August 2023
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Senate Bill 266 - and a tenure alert

Last year, the Legislature passed and the governor signed a "Stop Woke" bill to censor college course content. Florida educators and students responded by filing a lawsuit that led to a federal injunction against the law.

In the spirit of "if, at first, you don't succeed…," the Legislature passed and the governor signed a Really Stop Woke This Time bill, which came into effect on July 1. It affects USF and USF faculty, and we have to deal with it this fall.

  • The Law and the Administration's Response. Senate Bill 266 tells faculty what they cannot teach, but the language is ... adaptable. For what the USF General Counsel says, see below or click here.
  • The Union's Advice. For advice about navigating this minefield, , see below or click here.
Just added as we go to press. Last spring, the Florida State University System Board of Governors instituted a regulation requiring that all universities implement a "Post-Tenure Faculty Review". At yesterday's USF Faculty Senate Executive Committee meeting, the USF Administration presented a Recommended Post-Tenure Review Process that could lead to a tenured faculty member being fired for being "unsatisfactory". There is also a proposed First year of Implementation, in which tenured faculty to be reviewed would be selected this August, with selected faculty submitting their post tenure review packet by November. The packet would go up the hierarchy, and the process would be completed in April. This proposal is not consistent with the current contract, and the United Faculty of Florida's position is that any changes in the contract must be bargained. This proposal will be discussed at tomorrow's chapter meeting (see below).

Meanwhile, the Florida Legislature made university presidents into their institutions' HR directors - as if they didn't have enough to do.

  • Dismissal and Arbitration. According to SB 266, university presidents can dismiss faculty - with no subsequent review. But the contracts say otherwise. For details, see below or click here.
Faculty who have been here for at least a year and have satisfactory evaluations this year (and no performance plan in force) will see a 2% raise in their salary this month, courtesy of your friendly neighborhood faculty union. So how do raises work?
  • Salary. We take a brief peak at raises and the contract. For details, see below or click here.
Reminder. Effective Saturday, July 1, UFF members no longer pay dues by paycheck dues deduction. But in order to remain in the union, you must pay dues - which are 1% of salary. If you are a union member and have shifted to eDues, thank you. If you are a union member and you have not shifted to eDues, please get the "I'm sticking with my union" eDues email and shift today.

The law says that being a union member means being a dues-paying member, so get on eDues today.

For more information, click here. If you are having difficulties, please contact the Chapter Secretary.

If you are not a union member, please join today (the form connects automatically to the eDues form, so you will want to have your banking info or checkbook information handy). We are stronger standing together.

Chapter Meeting Tomorrow Friday at 12 noon on USF Tampa in EDU 161 - and on Zoom

The USF Chapter of the United Faculty of Florida will meet tomorrow Friday at 12 pm on USF Tampa in EDU 161 - and on Zoom. On the agenda: post tenure review, arbitration, the membership campaign, and more. And here are the minutes for the previous meeting.

Any employee in the Bargaining Unit may attend, but to Zoom in 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.

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 (which links to the eDues form, so you will want your banking info or checkbook information handy). Come and join the movement.


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 Grievances Page.

As of July 1, three grievances were scheduled to go to arbitration, and we have been informed that the USF Administration will not contest the union's right to take those cases to arbitration. However, the Administration contends that under the newly passed Senate Bill 266, no more grievances can be taken to arbitration. UFF contends that that is a violation of the contract. For more, come to the chapter meeting tomorrow (see above).

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.

The Law and the Administration's Response

Senate Bill 266 (see 1004.06(2) says that universities may not fund programs that violate a Discrimination statute that bars teaching that "virtues as merit, excellence, hard work, fairness, neutrality, objectivity, and racial colorblindness are racist or sexist," as well as advocating "for diversity, equity, and inclusion, or promote or engage in political or social activism, as defined by … the State Board of Education and … the Board of Governors." Notice that this gives the Board enormous discretion on what "political or social activism" consists of.

A scene from the good old days...
The USF General Counsel broadcast a Faculty Guidance advising that, "Until we have more clarity from the [Board of Governors], faculty should continue to provide instruction consistent with the academic rigor and practices of their respective fields and disciplines with attention to historical and scientific evidence established by scholarly methods and protocols." But they propose a trigger warning for syllabi.

The Union's Advice

The union sent to UFF members a Member Guidance stating that, "Faculty have the right to teach the full range of available viewpoints, with universities and colleges serving as unhindered spaces for inquiry, debate, and knowledge production." UFF intends to fight SB 266 in the courts, but this is a political battle that we all will have to join. Meanwhile, the vague wording of the law can make its implementation arbitrary, capricious, and possibly corrupt. So UFF advises the following defensive measures:

  • Faculty should press administrators for written directives concerning SB 266 and document instructions. Please share these instructions with the UFF.
  • If you are ordered to change your syllabi, cancel classes, censor your speech, or otherwise take actions in response to SB 266 that you believe are discriminatory, unconstitutional, or against the terms of the contract, it is important that you do not refuse that order. Refusal could constitute insubordination, which could lead to termination. Instead, document all conversations with and instructions from your supervisor and tell UFF what is happening.
  • If you are summoned to a meeting that could be disciplinary, you have the right to ask the union for a union representative at that meeting. But you have to tell your supervisor that you are exercising that right. (And the union is obliged to send a representative only if you were a member at the time of the summons, so join today.) For a union representative, contact the Grievance Committee.
  • Get involved. This is a political battle, and numbers matter. To begin with, if you are not a UFF member, join today.
We can win this battle if we stand together.

Dismissal and Arbitration

SB 266 attacks the contract's grievance process. A grievance is a formal complaint that the contract has been violated, and this process protects UFF members from mistreatment and protects the contract from erosion. At the end of the process is arbitration, i.e., UFF and the USF Administration present their case before an outside arbitrator. Arbitration keeps the system honest. SB 266 shuts down arbitration for grievances involving dismissals - i.e., the grievances with the highest stakes.

The Guidance interprets the law to mean that university president has the final word on firing employees, contract or no contract.

Off with her head!
The union disagrees and filed a lawsuit and issued a statement saying "… there is no justice in allowing the same university leaders who violate contractual agreements to serve as the final arbiters of whether they have acted fairly. This is why decades of labor practice have shown that third-party, neutral arbitration is a key component of enforcing contractual rights across Florida’s economy." The lawsuit contends that SB 266 / HB 999 violates both the Florida and U.S. constitutions.

But there is a bitter lesson here. We would not be in this legal battle if SB 266 hadn't passed and been signed. We need to increase our efforts to educate politicians about the consequences of their actions. And the time to start educating legislators is now, when legislators are just beginning their plans for the 2024 session: the time to influence decisions is before they are made. If you are interested in helping out, come to the chapter meeting tomorrow, Friday, at 12 noon, on USF Tampa, in EDU161 - or online (and contact the chapter secretary for a Zoom invitation).


Effective August 7, eligible UFF USF employees shall receive a 2% merit raise. According to Subsection 23.1C of the contract, to be eligible, an employee must have been hired by 7 August 2022, must have been rated at least satisfactory in the spring evaluation, and not have an active Performance Improvement Plan under Subsection 10.3B of the contract as a result of having a below satisfactory Sustained Performance Evaluation. This raise will appear in paychecks approximately three weeks after August 7, depending on the precise pay cycle.

This merit raise is the second one mandated by this contract: last year, the raise was 3.5%. In addition, the contract permits the USF Administration to provide up to 1% of the total payroll (i.e., up to $1,594,888) in discretionary raises. Typically, the Administration far fewer discretionary raises than the contract permits, with middle management pleading poverty or blaming the union or both - but no matter what your dean says, the authority for discretionary raises is there.

But over the life of the current contract, we have a hole. According to the U.S. Department of Labor CPI Inflation Calculator, inflation from June 2021 to June 2023 was 12.3%, while the cumulative merit raise (for UFF USF employees in good standing) was 5.6%, for a net loss of 6.0% in buying power over the last two years. One major challenge facing us is repairing this problem before it more severely affects morale and retention. But Florida State University System Board of Governors Chair Brian Lamb told SUS faculty senate leaders this summer, the Legislature was generous this year, so the resources are there.


The next chapter meeting will be tomorrow Friday, August 11, at 12 noon on USF Tampa campus in EDU 161 and on Zoom; for the Zoom link, contact the Chapter Secretary. All UFF USF employees are welcome.

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 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 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.

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