Bargaining Update 7/20/17

The administration and UFF bargaining teams met on July 17 to resume negotiating the Salaries article (Article 23). While we continue to see progress toward agreement, that progress is extremely slow. We were gratified that approximately 45 of our colleagues across the university elected to join us. Filling the room sent a clear message that your UFF bargaining team represents a large and diverse faculty and that we collectively reject the administration’s claims that we are well compensated compared to faculty at peer universities and that FSU lacks funds to offer more than meager raises. (You can see our written refutation of the Administration’s claims here.)

Our next bargaining session is Wednesday, July 26 from 1:00-5:00 at the Training Center across from the stadium. As always, you are welcome and encouraged to attend.

Progress on the overall salary package was as follows: the Administration increased its performance (nearly across-the-board) raise from 0.25% to 0.35% and the UFF lowered its by 0.1% to 1.9%, matching the May 2016-2017 CPI change. The Administration added 0.1% to the 0.15% performance raise for certain specialized faculty. The two teams’ latest proposals are summarized in this table:

                                             Trustees       UFF-FSU
Promotion raises:                 12%/15%    12/15%
Sustained Performance:       3%               3%
Performance:                        0.35%*       1.9%*
Departmental Merit              1.25%         1.25%
Dean’s Merit:                        0.25%         0.15%
Market Equity:                     $750,000    $1,000,000

* plus 0.15% in lieu of Market Equity for certain Specialized Faculty

In short, we are very close to agreement on virtually every category except Performance, the category designed to keep pace with inflation. The Administration’s latest offer is not even close to reflecting the inflation rate. The Administration refuses to say exactly why they seem to see no relationship between this category and the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ estimate (1.9%), but we will continue to press for an offer that better reflects economic reality. Under the Administration’s current offer, even faculty who receive the average amount of Departmental Merit, Deans’ Merit, and Market Equity will fail to keep up with inflation this year. In past sessions, the Administration team used questionable data to justify its salary position. When the UFF team used the latest OSU survey data to challenge the administration’s justification at the previous session, the Administration spokesperson said they wanted to focus on the contract, not on data. We believe the two go hand-in-hand.

We also continue to push for the Administrative Commensurate Compensation Raises provision that would automatically increase our salaries if the deans and top University administrators receive compensation packages that, as a percentage of salary, are higher than what we negotiate for faculty. Administrators and faculty are mostly compensated from the same state allotment of money. We do not understand why they should receive a proportionately higher amount. The Administration team continues to reject this provision and has not yet explained why they will not entertain our highly egalitarian proposal. It will be easier for us to believe that the Administration has few economic resources if they agree to share in the austerity.

The teams reached accord on two matters: 1) an important Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) that ensures that faculty who have recently been promoted will see their 12% or 15% raise in their first paychecks in August; and 2) a largely pro-forma MOA that FSU will be closed for Winter Break on December 22, 26, 27, 28, and 29 (in addition to December 25 and January 1, which are official holidays).

The key to a strong Collective Bargaining Agreement is a strong membership base, so if you are not a member, please join us! This year, our negotiations have already increased the Administration’s offer enough to pay your dues for life—and, with your support, will continue to make progress.

In solidarity,

Michael Buchler, UFF-FSU Vice President and Bargaining Team Members

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