UFF-FSU’s statement on health care for transgender individuals

We would like to state our support for FSU’s transgender employees in their pursuit of healthcare coverage as it pertains to their medical needs. “Transgender” includes people who are transsex and/or gender nonbinary. Currently, health insurance offered to employees, as regulated by the Florida Department of Management Services, discriminates against transgender personnel. The Supreme Court’s recent ruling confirms that the 1964 Civil Rights Act protects gay, lesbian, and transgender employees from discrimination based on sex. The ruling makes it clear that FSU is responsible for mitigating any discrimination against its employees. We urge FSU’s administration to remedy this issue as expediently as possible by providing non-discriminatory health insurance coverage for transgender employees.  

Bargaining Update – July 8, 2020

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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Bargaining Update – July 1, 2020

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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Statement from FSU Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Advisory Board

This is the statement written by the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) Advisory Board in response to the university’s Remote Work policy and Repopulation plan. Though the university at first told the Board that they had to take their statement down from their own website, it has approved this revised version and now it also appears on their website.

Statement from Members of Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies Advisory Board on Remote Working, Caring and Equity. 

COVID-19 has laid bare existing social, economic and racial inequities and injustices in the United States, and in our institutions of Higher Education. Grave gender disparities in the average distribution of caregiving work have been documented, while job security and the right to work remotely, ensuring safety and convenience, are opportunities afforded only to the most privileged. FSU’s recent announcement that “effective August 7, 2020, the University will return to normal policy and no longer allow employees to care for children while working remotely” presents a threat to the physical, emotional and job security of the university’s employees. This threat is felt most urgently by the lowest-paid members of staff, who are disproportionately female-identifying and/or BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color). 

We acknowledge that an HR Town Hall on Wednesday July 1 and an announcement Thursday July 2 apologized for the timing of the initial announcement, which coincided with an on-going surge in Coronavirus cases locally and state-wide, and for any confusion and distress arising as a result of that. At the Town Hall Kyle Clark clarified that if Leon County schools do not reopen physically or open later than the planned start date of August 10, then the remote working whilst caring for children policy will continue until they do reopen. The July 2 announcement stated that “We want to be clear – our policy does allow employees to work from home while caring for children;” however, the policy itself is problematic and iniquitous. 

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Bargaining Update – June 24 2020

The teams met on Wednesday for a discussion we had hoped would include the BOT’s response to our counter-proposal on Layoff and Recall (UFF’s Counter-proposal on Article 13).  Alas, that response was not forthcoming, which disappointed us as well as the 15 faculty visitors.  

Instead, we mostly discussed the BOT’s Counter-proposal on Tapered Employment. The UFF team had proposed the program as a new section in the Benefits article that would allow a faculty member heading towards retirement to reduce work hours (with a corresponding pay cut) without losing the employer contribution to health-insurance. The BOT’s counter-proposal included no wording on health-care benefits, added the requirement of a dean’s annual approval, and specified a maximum of three years. In short, it offers no incentive for faculty uptake.  Indeed, its provisions are hardly different from what is currently in place, as described in Article 8.5(a)4  and in the Department of Management Services guidelines (kindly provided by the BOT team and stipulating that someone working 75% or higher is eligible for the full state contribution).

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