This is a busy week for bargaining, and on Monday the BOT and the UFF team met for Impact Bargaining regarding the Covid-19 Pandemic. We will meet again this Thursday at 10:00 to discuss Layoffs and possibly Impact Bargaining, as well.
The UFF team had made an initial Impact Bargaining proposal a couple of weeks ago, the BOT responded, and on Monday the UFF presented its response, which you can read here. This version shows the BOT language (blue) and the latest UFF language (red). Yellow highlighting shows wording that the teams had agreed to in the Spring MOU.
Our proposal differs from the BOT’s in two main ways. The first is that we want all faculty members working remotely to have the explicit right to take care of their children and dependents during the emergency. Their language had elided the issue, simply stating that faculty working remotely should establish a schedule so that they may meet their work obligations and their family obligations. The second is that for faculty who must report to work, we want exemptions for those with a health vulnerability or who are caring for or living with someone who has a health vulnerability. Their language had pointed to a series of modifications faculty who have “high-risk concerns” may request, including remote work, options for physical distancing, alternative work locations, reassignment, modified or flexible schedules, and/or the use of personal leave. The problem as we see it is that whereas a faculty member might seek remote work, the administration might instead permit, for example, only physical distancing and personal leave. Their wording also leaves unclear what constitutes a “high-risk concern,” whereas we would like a clear statement that includes living with a person with a health vulnerability.
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We have two bits of news to report from this week’s bargaining. The main topic was the BOT’s counterproposal on Article 13, Layoffs. The teams also agreed to sign a Memorandum of Agreement guaranteeing that Promotion increases and Sustained Performance Increases will go through in early August, regardless of the status of on-going negotiations.
Guaranteed Promotion and SPI raises are great news that will allow many faculty to heave sighs of relief. Unfortunately, the BOT proposal on the Layoffs and Recall article will not have the same effect.
You can find that proposal here. While this document does not show changes from the UFF’s most recent proposal because the BOT did not use traditional legislative markup style (track changes), we will provide that version upon request. It’s clear that the BOT responded to none of our proposals but instead rewrote the article from scratch to include only their desired terms. Below we summarize three key differences between the BOT proposal and the language that has been in place for years.
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The FSU-BOT team and the UFF-FSU teams met on Wednesday to continue regular bargaining. The main topic was the MOU on the Pilot Tuition Scholarship Program for Dependents and Spouses. Both sides are pleased to announce that we reached agreement!
This MOU offers major improvements over the version we had agreed to for the past two years. Now, instead of applying only to children of a faculty member, it covers a spouse, as well, and instead of paying only for undergraduate tuition, it also pays for graduate tuition. You can read the agreement here.
This revised program is a boon to many current faculty members and also will be a selling point to job candidates considering our job offers.
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The FSU Board of Trustees (BOT) team and the UFF-FSU team, along with 21 faculty visitors, met on Wednesday for a discussion of Layoff and Recall, Tapered Employment, and the Tuition Scholarship for Dependents/Spouses.
Before the meeting, the BOT team let us know they were pulling their last Layoffs proposal to work on it more, so the UFF took that opportunity to submit a newer version of ours for them to respond to. We are trying to hasten bargaining, as we know faculty are worried about layoffs and would like to see a resolution. Our new Layoff proposal offers a definition of “Layoff unit” similar to the existing contract language, and the teams engaged in a thoughtful discussion of “areas” and “programs” and will work together to clarify this crucial language.
The BOT put the kibosh on the UFF’s Tapered Employment proposal that had sought to enhance the financial position of faculty over 60 working less than full-time. They stood by their counter proposal, which offers no advantages over what is already available.
We have good news to report! The BOT countered a UFF Benefits proposal with a Memorandum of Understanding about the Tuition Scholarship for Dependents/Spouses. This counter accepted our proposal to allow the scholarship to extend to spouses (before it had only been children) and to include graduate credit hours (before it had been only undergraduate). This is an important family-friendly benefit, and we are eager to sign (with small alterations). We’re withholding flat-out enthusiasm, however, just in case the BOT seeks to link implementation to unpalatable changes in other articles on the table.
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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.
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