The BOT and UFF bargaining teams have been meeting regularly since late March and have made progress on several articles.
Discussions of Salary have been ongoing for the last two bargaining sessions. Because University employees are excluded for the first time in memory from raises targeted to other state employees, negotiations are particularly important this year. Also new this year is the UFF’s proposal to link the total percentage increase in faculty salaries to the total percentage increase in administrators’ salaries. The UFF is surprised by how meager the BOT’s initial proposals are in light of the budget increases the Legislature allocated. In general, the teams are far apart, although there have been small moves toward convergence.
Our discussion of the Tenure Article revolves around the BOT’s proposal to switch from a set of second-and-fourth-year reviews for Assistant Professors to a single third-year review. The UFF-FSU poll revealed that most faculty prefer the switch, more so among Tenured Faculty (who prefer it by a 2-to-1 margin) than among Assistant Professors (whose responses are evenly divided). It seems likely that Assistant Professors who prefer the two-review system are seeking more frequent and thorough feedback, and so the teams are working collaboratively to enhance the quality of the annual “progress towards tenure” reviews, in which case the switch to third-year reviews seems warranted.
We also have made progress in our discussion of the Disciplinary Action and Job Abandonment Article. Regarding Discipline, the teams are clarifying the Peer Panel review process in cases of suspension, demotion, or termination. A sticking point is the BOT’s proposal that the standard of proof should be “a preponderance of the evidence” rather than the “clear and convincing” standard the UFF believes is appropriate in such cases. We also blocked the BOT’s unworkable attempts to specify what constitutes missing an assigned duty and to define emergencies, although we did agree to shorten from 12 to 10 the number of days a faculty member may be absent without leave.
We have made little progress on the two articles the UFF reopened. The UFF reopened the Benefits Article to provide an increase in paid life insurance, a floor under insurance and retirement benefits, and tuition reimbursement for dependents. The BOT’s counterproposal consisted of crossing out these additions.
The UFF’s Other Faculty Rights proposal centered on the UFF’s desire to include basic protections in the event of guns on campus, but the BOT is reluctant to agree to much more than a statement that faculty safety is of paramount importance.
Bargaining will resume on Wednesday, May 24, at 2:00 in the FSU Training Center. Faculty members are welcome.
The key to a strong Collective Bargaining Agreement is a strong membership base, so if you are not a member, please join! http://uff-fsu.org/wp/join/
Irene Padavic and Scott Hannahs, Co-Chief Negotiators, UFF-FSU