Bargaining Update – July 1, 2020

The FSU Board of Trustees (BOT) team and the UFF-FSU team, along with 20 faculty visitors, met on Wednesday for a discussion that centered on the BOT’s response to our counterproposal on Layoff and Recall. Because of multiple markups from two teams, it is a bit hard to read, but the yellow highlights identify what the BOT team has newly added.

The BOT introduced their proposal by reiterating their stance that they did not open the Layoff article because they intended to act on it.  We want to believe.

The good news is that the BOT accepted some elements of the UFF’s counterproposal, namely restoring original language that stipulated two years as the recall period and as the period during which a faculty member is eligible for retraining and also restoring original language about notifying the UFF when a layoff involves an Affirmative Action Program.

The bad news is the rest of their proposal.

First, whereas the original language and all previous proposals begin with a list of reasons for layoffs, the BOT’s proposal splits off one reason—adverse financial circumstances—and says that only when this is the reason will the ordering-of-layoffs provision apply. Thus, if a layoff occurs for a different reason, say a reorganization of degree or curriculum offerings or requirements, the abolition of programs, or a simple resource reallocation, the University would be within its rights to lay off anyone in the layoff unit in any order. As we pointed out, this provision takes an axe to the layoff order. Second, they are again seeking to introduce a phrase that allows a tenured faculty member in a layoff unit to be laid off while non-tenured faculty members remain, which we consider a step towards eliminating tenure.  Third, they said they had issues with our proposed definition of layoff unit—arguably key to the whole article–but have not yet devised an alternative although they hope to turn to this soon. They also reintroduced a few other proposals that we had rejected in earlier sessions, including reducing the importance of years of service in one type of layoff decision, removing the HR obligation to help with finding alternative employment, and eliminating the article’s protections for faculty funded by contracts and grants and those who have been non-reappointed.

The teams then turned to the UFF response to the BOT’s counterproposal on Tapered Employment. The differences between our last proposal and our new one is that we no longer seek to retain health-care benefits but instead propose that people who reduce their employment by 50% or more will receive an annual bonus equivalent to 10% of the average salary of in-unit faculty.  According to our calculations, this plan will save the University money over a three-year period.

We ended the meeting by making plans for our next regular bargaining session and also for impact bargaining. One element of impact bargaining will concern FSU’s Remote Work Policy, picked up by the national press (links below), and applicable to 12-month faculty (e.g., librarians, Specialized Faculty in Research, and others):

Tallahassee Democrat
https://www.tallahassee.com/story/news/2020/07/02/covid-19-fsu-backing-off-notice-employees-requiring-outside-child-care-during-remote-work/5363086002/

Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/06/29/coronavirus-live-updates-us/?#link-GVXPXKN475EJRCYXUPO2LMIIZA

The Lily (put out by Washington Post; interviews with FSU faculty and staff)
https://www.thelily.com/florida-state-just-barred-many-employees-from-caring-for-kids-while-working-remotely-moms-ask-what-am-i-supposed-to-do/

Chronicle of Higher Education
https://www.chronicle.com/article/Working-While-Parenting-Is-a/249107?cid=wsinglestory_hp_1a

Inside Higher Ed
https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2020/06/30/florida-state-bars-parenting-during-remote-work

The UFF will also use impact bargaining to address some concerns arising from the Repopulation Guide: The requirement to review productivity levels of faculty working remotely, the contradiction between the goal of remotely working and the plan to have 25%-50% of departmental employees on campus, and the lack of a provision allowing people living with a high-risk individual (as opposed to being their caretaker) to be eligible for temporary modifications.

Both types of bargaining sessions are open to faculty, and if you would like to attend the next regular bargaining session (Wednesday, July 8 at 3:00 PM) or the impact bargaining session (July 10, at 9:00 AM) please email Matthew Lata and we will send you the link when we receive it.  

The UFF is also hosting another forum to answer members’ questions this Friday, July 3, 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.  http://uff-fsu.org/wp/join/

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

About Scott Hannahs

UFF-FSU Co-Chief Negotiator
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