The BOT and UFF bargaining teams met on June 14 to continue negotiation of the Salaries article. The unresolved categories are Performance Increases, Departmental Merit Increases, Deans’ Merit Increases, Market Equity Increases, Administrative Discretionary Increases, and the UFF’s proposed Administrative Commensurate Compensation Increases. (The teams are not proposing changes to Promotion Increases or to Sustained Performance Increases.)
The session began with a BOT presentation purportedly showing that funding for faculty salaries is limited by legislatively-imposed criteria and that FSU faculty are already well-compensated compared to other public institutions. As a result of these restrictions and comparisons, the BOT team explained that their goals and priorities are not faculty compensation but instead are hiring, student retention and graduation, student support, and graduate student funding. The BOT concluded that FSU salaries were “competitive” and that they were “comfortable with faculty salaries.”
The BOT proposal confirmed their sense of contentment:
Departmental Merit: 1.1%
Deans’ Merit: 0.25%
Market Equity: $750, 000
* plus 0.10% in lieu of Market Equity for certain Specialized Faculty
The only movement this offer showed from the previous one was the addition of funds in the “Performance” categories (0.25% and 0.10%).
This offer means that a faculty member not in line for a promotion increase or a sustained performance increase could easily experience an effective pay cut. The May 2016-2017 CPI change is 1.9%, and the category designed to keep pace with inflation is Performance, as those funds go to all faculty who have met or exceeded “FSU’s High Expectations.” A Performance raise of 0.25% represents a drop in the bucket, given cost-of-living increases of almost 8 times that amount. Many faculty members will also receive Departmental Merit, some will receive Market Equity, and a handful will receive Deans’ merit, but it is questionable whether even someone receiving all these components will break even. In other words, accounting for inflation, many faculty members would see their real earnings reduced if the BOT proposal were to go into effect.
The UFF countered by coming down slightly on Performance Increases (in light of a decrease in the CPI from the April figure) from 2.2% to 2.0% (and maintained 0.25% for certain Specialized Faculty) and on Market Equity from $1.2 million to $1 million, but it made no changes in Departmental merit, Deans’ merit or Administrative Discretionary raises. The UFF also retained its “Administrative Commensurate Compensation” proposal that ties faculty raise percentages to Administrators’ if Administrator raises exceed those negotiated for faculty. Since the BOT is claiming that salary dollars are limited, we believe that administrator salaries should not increase disproportionately relative to faculty salaries.
Despite the UFF team’s request to continue bargaining weekly until we reach resolution, the BOT team has been unwilling to schedule future bargaining meetings, claiming that the UFF team needs time to digest the report presented that day. We explained that the UFF team digests quickly and wants to continue meeting on our regular schedule, but to no avail. Bargaining will resume as soon as the BOT team is willing to meet. A UFF team concern is that the BOT team will postpone bargaining until the point at which raises cannot be included in August paychecks. In years past, such delaying tactics have resulted in Promotion raises being withheld until later in the fall semester. Even though the funds were distributed retroactively, people who had earned their promotions and were counting on timely payment did not appreciate the delay. We will continue to pressure the BOT to return to the table.
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