UFF-FSU Update, January 20th, 2012

UFF President Tom Auxter provides an update on legislative developments affecting Florida higher education in a document available at:

http://www.uff-fsu.org/art/WhatWeFaceNow18January2012.pdf

Collective bargaining continues today at 2pm at the FSU Training Center.

This week’s “University Welfare” report to the FSU Faculty Senate, focused on Senate-related NTTF issues, is available at:

http://www.uff-fsu.org/art/fs20120118.pdf

Email Migration Alert!

FSU IT folks have alerted us that as a result of the upcoming Jan. 25th final stage of the email migration process, certain FSU email addresses, possibly including the address by which you are subscribed to UFF-FSU lists, will no longer work.  If in the next few weeks you begin to sense that you have not heard from the UFF-FSU Chapter lately, please email to me with the current address you would like to use for your subscription.

Best regards,

Jack Fiorito (jtfiorito@comcast.net), President

UFF-FSU Chapter

January Update

Happy New Year! Hope you had a refreshing break. Volunteers and UFF staff have continued to work for FSU faculty these past few weeks, as indicated in part in the balance of this update.

1. At the “Ledge.” President Barron has noted that the initial state budget discussions have NOT included plans for large cuts to higher education, and that is an improvement over the last several years. Yes, that is arguably a sad statement about the sorry climate for higher education in Florida, given the underfunding reflected in continuing “brain drain” losses of our colleagues to better-funded institutions, and in many other ways such as growing class sizes. With the Speaker of the House opening this session blasting what he perceives as mediocrity (could that have something to do with funding?), hundreds of bills filed, and our current political leaders’ track records on ideas for improving higher education, it is difficult to be optimistic. Stay tuned.

2. Collective Bargaining: Faculty and Administration/BOT teams met for their first 2012 session on Tuesday and agreed to take up Non-Tenure Track Faculty reclassification project issues and revisions to the Salary Plan for Professors as their first agenda items in upcoming sessions. Other agenda items carried over from 2011 bargaining include faculty performance evaluations, promotion, tenure, and benefits. The teams are scheduled to meet most Fridays for the remainder of the semester. Salary issues will of course be on the agenda once again as well.

3. We’re pleased to announce success in two grievances filed on behalf of Salary Plan for Professor (SPP) applicants who were initially denied SPP raises (9%). Both grievants were represented by the UFF (at no cost — membership has its benefits!) and our Grievance Chair (Dr. Lee Stepina) was able to persuade the Administration that SPP awards were merited in both cases.

4. We are still trying to obtain adequate information on December’s merit bonuses. The initial report from the FSU Administration (see http://www.uff-fsu.org/art/FacultyMeritBonusesDecember2011.xlsx) is problematic in several regards. We are also multiple faculty members’ complaints.

5. DRAFT consultation minutes are available from our Dec. 15th meeting with President Barron, Provost Stokes, and other Administration representatives. The draft minutes appear to have garbled the discussion in a few places, so please keep that in mind if you review those DRAFT minutes (http://www.uff-fsu.org/art/PresidentConsultation12-15-11MinutesDRAFT.pdf).

6. In case you missed it, an interesting editorial referencing FSU faculty salaries appeared in yesterday’s Tallahassee Democrat. See http://www.uff-fsu.org/art/tdedit20120112.pdf.

Best regards,

Jack Fiorito, President

UFF-FSU Chapter

P.S. Support the team that works for you! If you are a UFF member, thank you. If not, join today and help build a stronger voice for FSU faculty. See www.uff-fsu.org for more information.

 

Report on University Welfare for Faculty Senate, December 7th, 2011

Collective Bargaining

We’ve had just one bargaining session since the last Senate meeting.  In contrast to most of our weekly sessions since May, which have focused on the Administration/BOT’s desire to revise performance evaluation procedures, we addressed academic freedom (Article 5), domestic partner benefits, and revisions to the Salary Plan for Professors (Article 25).  At UFF urging, we have a session scheduled for tomorrow at 2pm in UCA 6200 to review issues in the Non-Tenure Track Faculty reclassification project.  All faculty members are welcome to attend that session.

The merit bonus determination process is moving forward.  We are unfortunately hearing of some implementation procedures that appear to be at odds with our Memorandum of Agreement, and we are investigating.

Consultation

UFF representatives will meet with President Barron and Provost Stokes on December 15th.  The merit bonus implementation will probably be on our agenda.

At the Ledge

Recent encouraging words from Governor Scott about education funding may present a case of a silver lining preceding a dark cloud.  We certainly welcome the Governor’s belated realization that education investments are critical to Florida’s future.  How the budget is funded is of course a concern.  I can note, however, that the UFF is paying attention to both sides of the aisle in the Florida Legislature.

Upcoming Events

  • Tomorrow, Thursday, December 8th, 2pm in the “HR Suite” at UCA 6200, faculty and administration bargaining teams will review issues in the draft agreement on Non-Tenure Track Faculty (NTTF) reclassification.
  • Thursday, December 15th, 12:30 pm.  Lunch with Jeff Wright and Pat Dix, FEA, in the Askew Student Life Center (SLC) Rooms 101A-D.  Tentative topic:  “It Could Be Worse (And How Faculty Can Make It Better).”  Lunch is free to UFF members and guests, $12 for others.  RSVP to me (jtfiorito@comcast.net)

Questions?   Thank you for your time, and Happy Holidays to all!

November 16th Update to Faculty Senate

Report on University Welfare for Faculty Senate, November 16th, 2011

By Professor Jack Fiorito, UFF-FSU President

I heard that my report was missed last month!  I will try to make it up to you in a brief
update on UFF and Faculty Welfare since my previous report in September.

Consultation

UFF representatives met with President Barron and Provost Stokes on September 30th.  It was our first consultation with both a President and Provost, and a useful conversation.  We are impressed with our administrative leadership and mindful that our common interests far surpass our differences.

Read More →

UFF Update, Oct. 20th

Hardly a day passes recently without some discouraging word for public higher
education from the Legislature or the Governor.  Most of you have probably
already seen or heard about the Governor’s posting of faculty salaries from
throughout the State University System.  Although announced with reference to
accountability and transparency, several faculty members have suggested more
sinister motives underly this seemingly sudden interest in transparency on the
part of the Gov. who took the 5th Amendment scores of times when asked about massive Medicaid/Medicare fraud by the company he led.

See:   http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/10/19/2461865/motive-for-posting-florida-profs.html

You can find the salary data at via a link to a spreadsheet at this URL:

http://www.floridahasarighttoknow.com/search_state_payroll_info.html

Many of you have also heard of Gov. Scott’s request to President Barron for a
wide range of information on FSU.  Governor Scott’s letter of Oct. 13 to
President Barron is available here:

http://www.uff-fsu.org/art/Scott-Barron20111013.pdf

And of course everyone has heard that Gov. Scott doesn’t seem to like
Anthropology, Psychology … and various other fields that he believes have
little vocational training content or little value to private sector employers
(see above letter and Miami Herald story on related points, and the link just below).

See The Economist‘s response to Gov. Scott’s attacks on anthropology:

http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2011/10/education-policy

Closer to home, the news is more encouraging from collective bargaining and
consultations with the FSU Administration/Board of Trustees.

A UFF faculty team met with President Barron and Provost Stokes for almost
two hours on September 30th.  Useful conversations were held on salaries,
position classifications, and assorted other issues.

Faculty and Administration bargaining teams have continued regular meetings
throughout the summer and into the fall.  Recent discussions have centered on
Administration initiatives to revise the Performance Evaluations article (Art.
10), and the teams feel that they are converging on this issue.  The teams are
also planning to discuss or continue discussions on non-tenure track faculty
reclassifications, academic freedom, tenure, the Salary Plan for Professors, and
benefits.  Bargaining sessions are normally held on Wednesday afternoons at the
FSU Training Center and are open to all faculty members.  The next session is
scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 2nd, at 2pm.