Bargaining Update – June 17, 2020

The FSU Board of Trustees (BOT) team and the UFF-FSU team met on Wednesday for a discussion that centered on the UFF’s Counterproposal on Article 13 (Layoff and Recall). This Zoom public meeting drew about 25 faculty observers. 

The UFF-FSU Counterproposal begins by stating that layoffs should be a last resort and proceeds to enumerate a finite list of reasons for pursuing them.  We reintroduced the term “layoff unit” and defined it by authority structure rather than by type of unit (e.g, an “area” or “program,” or the like).  We believe it is important to have clearly established units so administrators cannot designate individuals for layoff. Hence, a “layoff unit” must be an established and functionally separate entity that has a separate budget and a director with the authority to evaluate faculty and assign their AORs.  And membership in this unit must be on the faculty member’s employment contract. The teams discussed what such a designation might mean in various organizational units.

We eliminated the BOT-added phrase that allowed a tenured faculty member in a layoff unit to be laid off while non-tenured faculty members remain, as we consider that to be a step towards eliminating tenure.  We also reinserted language requiring the BOT to notify the union in various instances.

The BOT proposal had sought to shift the burden of finding an alternative University job to the faculty member, and we re-added the University’s responsibilities. Our proposal also reverted to original language stipulating two years of such assistance rather than the BOT-proposed one year, and the same for the period of recall.

We spent considerable time discussing the final provision in the article, which concerns whether provisions in the layoff article apply to Specialized Faculty in “soft money” positions (i.e., funded by Contracts and Grants) and to faculty who had been non-renewed.  Like the conversation about layoff unit, this exchange was an open give-and-take, and both teams are going to consider the implications of this provision.

The BOT raised some questions about our Tapered Employment proposal in Article 24 (Benefits).  This proposal allows a faculty member heading towards retirement to reduce work hours (with a corresponding pay cut) without losing the employer contribution to health-insurance. The BOT asked about the possibility of considering adding an end-point to a faculty member’s arrangement and whether a Dean’s okay would be necessary, and perhaps most importantly, whether the State Insurance System would permit the employer’s contribution to continue for half-time employees.  

Bargaining sessions are open to all faculty, and if you would like to attend the next one (date to be determined), please respond to this message and we will send you the link when we receive it.  The UFF is also hosting a forum to answer members’ questions this Friday, June 19, at 5:00. The UFF-FSU President Matthew Lata has sent the link, but members who need a reminder are free to write us.

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.

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

About Scott Hannahs

UFF-FSU Co-Chief Negotiator
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