Bargaining Update-August 19

The BOT and FSU bargaining teams met on Wednesday to discuss the BOT proposals on Article 23 Salaries and Article 13 Layoff and Recall.

The BOT’s salary proposal offers a $500 bonus, along with Promotion and SPI raises and 0.8 percent in Administrative Discretionary Increases. They proposed no increases to our base salaries, citing financial hard times. Though disappointing, this is hardly surprising given the current crisis.

As for Layoffs, we have made real progress on the key issue of defining “layoff unit,” and the BOT has accepted UFF’s definition of it being a faculty member’s tenure or administrative home, which is the unit they were hired into and that appears in the University’s official Bargaining Unit Member List. (In the case of a transfer out of the original hiring unit, the transfer must have been accomplished well before any layoff situation.) The teams are working on refining language that also allows a layoff unit to be an “established area” and agree that “area” not be interpreted to include the small intellectual-area-based groupings found in virtually all departments.

The discussion became heated around the BOT’s inclusion of having been disciplined as a consideration in choosing among otherwise equally-situated faculty.  Indeed, in the list of acceptable considerations, it falls above teaching, research and service performance.  We explained that discipline is a separate issue, covered by its own article in the CBA, and has no place as a reason to lay someone off.  The implication is that the troublesome people rise to the top of the layoff list. Intentionally or not, including discipline as a reason adds fuel to the always-present speculation during a layoff that somehow the person deserved it. 

Also heated was the discussion around the BOT proposal that the University will help with FSU re-employment only if the new job is “equivalent to the eliminated position.” We are unsure which flummoxed us more:  the illogic or the callousness. Wouldn’t the equivalent job be the one they were laid off from, and wouldn’t that mean the layoff was ill-conceived?  They offered no good reason for restricting the search very narrowly; the idea seems to not have occurred to them that financial exigency might impel someone to accept different employment at reduced wages. Is it too much to hope that HR might seize the opportunity to help faculty in such dire straits rather take the opportunity to put obstacles in their path?

Other issues remain unresolved, including how to factor in seniority, whether the article applies to non-renewed faculty, and whether the University should consider retirement buyouts and furloughs before resorting to layoffs.

We have two bargaining sessions coming up:  Monday, August 24 at 2:00 to discuss Covid-19 Impact Bargaining and Wednesday August 26 at 2:00 to continue regular bargaining.

Bargaining sessions are open to faculty, and negotiations have benefited from the many faculty who have been coming to sessions. There is definitely strength in numbers, and we appreciate having you! If you would like to attend, please respond to this message and we will send you the links when we receive them. 

We also invite members to come to an online Bargaining Forum happy hour this evening at 5:00.  Members (note that this event is only for members) have received an invitation and zoom link from UFF  President Matthew Lata, but reply to this email if you want it resent.

Regular updates can be found at our webpage:  http://uff-fsu.org/

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

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