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!

Special Message from Tom Auxter

The Fate of Higher Education Hangs in the Balance:
Florida Legislature 2012

The next legislative session starting in January could decide once and for all whether Florida will have a viable system of higher education in the future. The leadership, with the support of the Governor, is ready to introduce changes so radical that it would take decades to reverse the damage done to public universities and colleges. This is the last chance for right-wing forces (before redistricting possibly shifts the balance of power in the 2012 election) to pass legislation to convert Florida higher education into a “Texas style” business operation, destroy faculty rights, and dramatically cut funding.

If they succeed, we will see an end to academic life as we know it. As a result of huge budget cuts, students will be processed through diploma mills and have little contact with faculty. Without a collective bargaining contract, faculty will lose job security and be subject annually to “at will” decisions by supervisors — depending only on whether the supervisors want to keep them after the State severely cuts their budgets for instruction.

Can we prevent this outcome? Our best hope lies in persuading the Florida Senate to defeat these drastic measures. We need to show the more moderate senators, who constitute a swing vote, that we are ready to support them if they defend the quality of higher education.

We desperately need to raise PAC funds to make this work. We do not use membership dues for campaign contributions. The only way we can raise enough money to do this is if members write checks to “UFF-PAC” now.

Please mail a check for $100 (if possible), or whatever you can afford, by December 1st. Send it to: UFF, 306 East Park Avenue, Tallahassee, Florida 32301.

The fate of higher education in Florida hangs in the balance.

Tom Auxter
UFF President

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.

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Florida Shortchanges Its Universities

From the St. Petersburg Times Tampabay.com

October 28, 2011 By Times Wire

At least credit former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux for being half-right: Tuition at Florida’s public universities is too low. But so is the state’s direct support. The hard fact that no one in Tallahassee’s majority party seems willing to acknowledge is that the state,
not just students, must invest more in higher education if Florida’s universities are ever going to rank among the nation’s best and help diversify the economy.

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FEA Suit on Mandatory Retirement Contribution (Pay Cut)

Below you will see an FEA report, a news media report, and links to other news
reports on the legal battle over cuts to our pay that the legislature and
governor approved this past spring. This is one of the reasons that the UFF is affiliated
with the Florida Education Association (FEA) and other organizations. Most
observers expect the battle over this spring’s legislated 3% pay cut (the newly
mandated contribution to retirement) to end up in the Supreme Court. The
Meyer-Brooks law firm arguing on behalf of state employees (the same firm that
handled our case in the layoffs announced in 2009) does not work cheap, and the
combined resources of all FEA affiliate’s members, including us, will ensure
that Ron Meyer can take the case as far as necessary. There is no certainty of
success, but it is encouraging to know that a good fight is being fought. As
the bumper sticker says, “UFF takes sides, yours.”

Please join UFF if you are not already a member.
Membership forms are available at www.uff-fsu.org

If you are a member, thank you for your support!

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