Bargaining Update: June 1, 2017

Dear Colleagues:

The BOT and UFF bargaining teams have continued to meet weekly since our last Update of May 21, although recent progress has been slow.

Discussions of Salary have been ongoing for several sessions, although the teams remain far apart. On the upside, both agree that Promotion Raises and SPI raises should remain at last year’s levels. It is in regard to the absolute amount of funding and the proportions allocated to the various categories that the teams are divided.

Total amount of money allocated to Faculty Increases. The most recent BOT proposal offers a roughly 2.5% total package (including Promotion and SPI raises), and the most recent UFF proposal asks for 5.7%. By way of comparison, last year the CBA specified increases totaling 3.6%. Thus, the BOT offer is 71% of what the teams settled on last year, despite a far better funding scenario from the Legislature this year.

The BOT team rejected our characterization of their offer as “meager,” saying that it put all the University’s Performance Funding into faculty increases and that these are tough times. The UFF team pointed out that upbeat emails from FSU’s top administrators have indicated anything but tough times, and that there is no reason to not use funds from the “World Class Scholars” category (which includes $11 million and language about retaining faculty) and from other designated pots of money.

Performance Increases. These are raises designed to keep pace with the cost of living and were ranked faculty’s #1 priority in the Spring 2017 poll. The BOT team offers 0% in this category, and the UFF’s most recent request is 2.2%, the amount of the April Consumer Price Index. Last year’s CBA specified 0.7%, which approached the CPI of 1.1% at that time.

Departmental Merit Increases. The BOT offer is 1%, and the UFF request is 1.5%. Last year the teams agreed on 1.25%.

Deans’ Merit Increases. The BOT proposal is for 0.4% to be distributed by deans as they see fit, subject to the Provost’s approval. The UFF proposal is for 0.1% and the restriction that these dollars be allotted to each Department/Unit within a College proportionally to that Department/Unit’s salary base.

Market Equity Increases. The BOT lowered their initial $625,000 offer to arrive at $500,000; the UFF is currently requesting $1.25 million. When asked why they lowered their offer, the BOT team said that the Market Equity problem has been resolved, although they later clarified that they believe their proposal is sufficient to address the problem, that funding for this category was never intended to be long term, and that their preference is for merit allocations. The UFF’s position is that Market Equity is faculty’s #2 priority, that the problem is many millions of dollars away from being sufficiently addressed, and that the only way to rectify the problems of compression and inversion is through Market Equity Increases and Performance Increases.

Administrative Discretionary Increases. The BOT proposal is for 1%, which is the amount agreed to last year, and the FSU proposal is for 0.5%.

The teams have four other open articles, one of which, Tenure, is in a state that pleases both parties because it switches Assistant Professors to a third-year review while improving the quality of their annual reviews. Nevertheless, the latest BOT proposal is to close out all four articles by making no changes to the existing CBA language. The reason for this dramatic proposal is that the UFF team had pointed out that the two teams had made substantial progress on the articles opened by the BOT (Tenure and Discipline/Job Abandonment), but had made virtually none in the two UFF-opened ones (Other Faculty Rights and Benefits). The BOT team rejected the comparison, saying that they didn’t see bargaining as a win/lose proposition but rather as a way to improve the Collective Bargaining Agreement, and therefore they were proposing we not institute any of the changes we had been discussing but instead leave the original language. The UFF team is a bit taken aback by this logic but is considering their proposal.

Bargaining will resume on Monday, June 5, at 1:30 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/

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

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