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.
Jack Fiorito, President
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.