Conclusion of Negotiations-Sept. 18, 2020

The administration and UFF bargaining teams met this week and finalized contract provisions for 2020-2021, subject to approval by the bargaining unit in a secret ballot ratification vote.

Regarding Salaries, we arrived at a one-time bonus of $1,200.  Recall that faculty also received a $1,500 raise that was negotiated last year and went into effect in August. Promotion raises remain at 12% and 15% and Sustained Performance Increases remain at 3%.  Administrative Discretionary Increases, used for increased duties, extraordinary accomplishments, counteroffers, and certain other reasons specified in Sec. 23.9, are allowable up to 0.80% of the faculty salary base. 

A big win for faculty is a Memorandum of Understanding about the Tuition Scholarship for Dependents/Spousesthat extends the existing scholarship program for dependents to include spouses and graduate, not just undergraduate, credit hours.

We agreed on several changes in Article 13, Layoffs, that represent major improvements.  Whereas the original language offered wide latitude, for example by allowing a layoff unit to be any level of organization as the University deems appropriate, the new language is specific:  “A layoff unit is an organizational unit such as a division, college, or department. The unit is defined as the tenure home or, in the case of specialized or non-tenure-track faculty, the administrative home, that the faculty member was hired into or transferred into. In addition, a layoff unit may be defined as an establishedoperational area or a subdivision of a tenure or administrative home, when the area/subdivision is comparable in most regards to a department.”  We believe this specificity represents a major improvement.

As for layoff ordering, no faculty member without tenure who has more than 7 years of service may be laid off if there are faculty in the unit with 7 or fewer years, an increase from the former 5-year demarcation. In cases where faculty members are equally qualified, there is now a finite list of factors that can be considered.  And whereas previously no tenured faculty member could be laid off in order to create a vacancy to be filled by an administrator, now such a move cannot be made regardless of the tenure status of the faculty member.

By mutual agreement no changes were made to the other opened articles, namely, Leaves, Benefits, and Conflict of Interest/Outside Activity.

Finally, we arrived at a Memorandum of Understanding on the COVID-19 Health Emergency that addresses workplace issues; teaching, research, and service assignments; and tenure and promotion.

Faculty need to vote to ratify these agreements, and we’ll send details soon. Ratification voting matters, and we hope you cast your secret ballot.

We also invite members to come to an online Bargaining Forum happy hour this evening at 5:00.  Members have received an invitation and zoom link from UFF President Matthew Lata, but reply to this email if you want it resent.

Our ability to bargain a strong contract depends on YOU! The more members we can point to, the greater our strength at the bargaining table.  Raises and the preservation of faculty rights are not gifts from the administration but are the result of good-faith and persistent bargaining.  Join here: http://uff-fsu.org/wp/join/

All best,

Irene Padavic and Scott Hannahs, Co-Chief Negotiators, UFF-FSU

Bargaining Update-September 4

The BOT and UFF bargaining teams met for regular bargaining on Wednesday to consider several proposals. The meeting was lively with several proposals and counterproposals discussed. 

We began with the UFF proposal on Salaries, which specified a $1,500 bonus with the possibility of its becoming permanent and a 0.5% cap on Administrative Discretionary Increases (ADI) raises. We also proposed that Market Equity distributions (which can occur under ADI) rely on comparative data more recent than 2014 and 2016.

The BOT responded during the meeting with a Salaries counter proposal that offers an $850 bonus with no possibility of becoming permanent, a 0.8% cap on ADI raises, and old Market Equity data source references.

As for Layoffs, the teams had already made substantial progress on the issue of defining a layoff unit, and the UFF was satisfied with new language in the BOT proposal. We also were pleased that the BOT no longer lists having been disciplined as a condition that can be considered and that they accepted wording saying that layoffs should be considered only after other options have been explored. The teams had a back-and forth on the ordering of layoffs, with the BOT proposal having completely removed a stipulation that people with five years of continuous service cannot be laid off if there are faculty in the layoff unit have more and the UFF countering with a proposal specifying six years.


The UFF presented its counterproposal on Conflict of Interest/Outside Activity, and the BOT suggested that the teams revert to status quo on this article (opened by the BOT) and the Leaves article (opened by the UFF).

We have bargaining scheduled for Wednesday, September 9 at 2:00, where we will be returning to these same articles.

Bargaining sessions are open to faculty, and negotiations have benefited from the many faculty who have been coming to sessions. There is definitely strength in numbers, and we appreciate having you! If you would like to attend, please respond to this message and we will send you the link. 

We also invite members to come to an online Bargaining Forum happy hour this evening at 5:00.  Members have received an invitation and zoom link from UFF President Matthew Lata, but reply to this email if you want it resent.

Regular updates can be found at our webpage:  http://uff-fsu.org/

The key to a strong Collective Bargaining Agreement is a strong membership base, so if you are not a member, please join! There has never been a more important time for us to stand together.  http://uff-fsu.org/wp/join/

All best,

Irene Padavic and Scott Hannahs, Co-Chief Negotiators, UFF-FSU

Bargaining Update-September 1

The BOT and the UFF teams met Monday and are pleased to announce that we have reached agreement on a Memorandum of Understanding on the COVID-19 Health Emergency. It took months of hard work, but both teams support the result.  You can read the agreement here.

Some notable elements: 

  • Straightforward language allows faculty members to work remotely as long as their duties can be accomplished remotely; faculty with high-risk concerns who must report to campus can request a modification that may require medical documentation.
  • Faculty may cancel class in the case of safety violations or unclean classrooms.
  • The University’s telecommuting policy (at the heart of the kerfuffle about not being allowed to care for children while working remotely) does not apply to faculty whose job duties do not require them to be on campus full time during normal business hours.
  • Twelve-month faculty members may roll over an additional 80 hours of annual leave to the next year, effectively saving it for later use.
  • Several provisions concerning teaching and research that we agreed to in the spring will continue, including the option of excluding SPCI in evaluation materials; the stipulation that the rules applying to course-content ownership also apply of newly-online courses; the acknowledgement that annual evaluations, progress towards promotion/tenure reviews, and promotion/tenure reviews should take into account the reduction in faculty members’ ability to conduct or present their scholarship; and the continuation of the policy of automatically extending the tenure clock.

We are engaging in regular bargaining this week on Wednesday, September 2, at 2:00, on the remaining open articles:  Layoffs, Salaries, Leaves, and Conflict of interest/Outside activity.

Bargaining sessions are open to faculty, and negotiations have benefited from the many faculty members who have been attending. We appreciate having you! If you would like to attend, respond to this message and we will send you the links when we receive them. 

We also invite members to come to an online Bargaining Forum happy hour this Friday at 5:00.  Members will receive an invitation and zoom link from UFF President Matthew Lata.

Regular updates can be found at our webpage:  http://uff-fsu.org/

The key to a strong Collective Bargaining Agreement is a strong membership base, so if you are not a member, please join! There has never been a more important time for us to stand together.  http://uff-fsu.org/wp/join/

All best,

Irene Padavic and Scott Hannahs, Co-Chief Negotiators, UFF-FSU

Bargaining Update-August 19

The BOT and FSU bargaining teams met on Wednesday to discuss the BOT proposals on Article 23 Salaries and Article 13 Layoff and Recall.

The BOT’s salary proposal offers a $500 bonus, along with Promotion and SPI raises and 0.8 percent in Administrative Discretionary Increases. They proposed no increases to our base salaries, citing financial hard times. Though disappointing, this is hardly surprising given the current crisis.

As for Layoffs, we have made real progress on the key issue of defining “layoff unit,” and the BOT has accepted UFF’s definition of it being a faculty member’s tenure or administrative home, which is the unit they were hired into and that appears in the University’s official Bargaining Unit Member List. (In the case of a transfer out of the original hiring unit, the transfer must have been accomplished well before any layoff situation.) The teams are working on refining language that also allows a layoff unit to be an “established area” and agree that “area” not be interpreted to include the small intellectual-area-based groupings found in virtually all departments.

The discussion became heated around the BOT’s inclusion of having been disciplined as a consideration in choosing among otherwise equally-situated faculty.  Indeed, in the list of acceptable considerations, it falls above teaching, research and service performance.  We explained that discipline is a separate issue, covered by its own article in the CBA, and has no place as a reason to lay someone off.  The implication is that the troublesome people rise to the top of the layoff list. Intentionally or not, including discipline as a reason adds fuel to the always-present speculation during a layoff that somehow the person deserved it. 

Also heated was the discussion around the BOT proposal that the University will help with FSU re-employment only if the new job is “equivalent to the eliminated position.” We are unsure which flummoxed us more:  the illogic or the callousness. Wouldn’t the equivalent job be the one they were laid off from, and wouldn’t that mean the layoff was ill-conceived?  They offered no good reason for restricting the search very narrowly; the idea seems to not have occurred to them that financial exigency might impel someone to accept different employment at reduced wages. Is it too much to hope that HR might seize the opportunity to help faculty in such dire straits rather take the opportunity to put obstacles in their path?

Other issues remain unresolved, including how to factor in seniority, whether the article applies to non-renewed faculty, and whether the University should consider retirement buyouts and furloughs before resorting to layoffs.

We have two bargaining sessions coming up:  Monday, August 24 at 2:00 to discuss Covid-19 Impact Bargaining and Wednesday August 26 at 2:00 to continue regular bargaining.

Bargaining sessions are open to faculty, and negotiations have benefited from the many faculty who have been coming to sessions. There is definitely strength in numbers, and we appreciate having you! If you would like to attend, please respond to this message and we will send you the links when we receive them. 

We also invite members to come to an online Bargaining Forum happy hour this evening at 5:00.  Members (note that this event is only for members) have received an invitation and zoom link from UFF  President Matthew Lata, but reply to this email if you want it resent.

Regular updates can be found at our webpage:  http://uff-fsu.org/

The key to a strong Collective Bargaining Agreement is a strong membership base, so if you are not a member, please join! There has never been a more important time for us to stand together.  http://uff-fsu.org/wp/join/

All best,

Irene Padavic and Scott Hannahs, Co-Chief Negotiators, UFF-FSU