On Thursday, the BOT and FSU bargaining teams met for the second session of the week, this time to discuss the UFF proposal on Article 13 Layoff and Recall. You can read the proposal here.
The key issue is the definition of “layoff unit,” and the UFF has proposed that it be a person’s tenure or administrative home, which is the unit a faculty member was hired into, which appears in the University’s official Bargaining Unit Member List. If a person has transferred into a different unit, the transfer must have been accomplished well before any layoff situation. A layoff unit may also be a subdivision of a tenure or administrative home that comprises an established area or school.
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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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Last Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement issued new federal guidelines barring international students from staying in the United States if they attend online-only courses this fall. The guidelines mandate that any international students who are enrolled in online-only courses either transfer to in-person courses or risk “immigration consequences including, but not limited to, the initiation of removal proceedings.”
This policy is not motivated by concern for our students, but rather by political considerations. It is reckless, guileless, and careless. It will endanger the physical safety and well-being of not only our international students but also our domestic students if classes are required to be in-person this fall.
Florida State University has demonstrated throughout this crisis that they are leaders in preserving student, faculty, and staff safety. If this policy is left unchallenged, many of our international students will be forced to discontinue their education at FSU. International students who teach classes, run labs, grade papers, and collaborate with faculty on important research would be eliminated. With the fall schedule already in place, the loss of these students would be an administrative nightmare.
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