Over the years, UFF-FSU has achieved countless victories for individual faculty and for the faculty as a whole. Many of these victories occur informally — for instance, when a faculty member brings the CBA to her chair to get an unjust assignment of responsibility remedied, or when a faculty member uses the leave of absence criteria outlined in the CBA to successfully apply for a sabbatical. Other victories are more dramatic — for instance, when a faculty member wins a grievance against a denial of tenure, when a faculty member successfully grieves against an inappropriate disciplinary procedure, or when a faculty member successfully challenges administration actions that violate his or her intellectual property rights, such as patent rights.
In the history of UFF-FSU, there are a few achievements of which we’re particularly proud:
- 2009-2010: When FSU announced plans to terminate 21 tenured faculty, UFF-FSU, working with the support of its affiliates and outside legal counsel, filed a series of grievances that, after going to binding arbitration, led to an order that reinstated UFF members among those slated for layoff, and led to all 21 faculty being reinstated. In his decision, the arbitrator called the terminations “arbitrary and capricious” and in direct violation of the lay-off procedures specified in the CBA.
- 2009: As the legislature threatened to balance the budget with a series of draconian cuts to education, UFF-FSU formed the “Fate of the State” coalition, which organized the state’s largest protest in support of higher education, as more than 1,000 faculty, students, and supporters marched from Westcott Hall to the steps of the Capitol Building. During the rally, state legislators, impressed (and perhaps overwhelmed) with the commotion outside their building, came out to address the crowd and associate themselves with this growing movement. Over the subsequent weeks, hundreds of phone calls and office visits were organized by UFF-FSU volunteers, and many of the proposed cuts were rescinded.
- 2006: UFF-FSU negotiated a memorandum of agreement granting faculty up to six months of paid parental leave. This memorandum, which was subsequently incorporated into the Collective Bargaining Agreement, went on to serve as a model for other universities in the state as their UFF chapters negotiated parental leave provisions into their CBAs.
- 2005: UFF joined with others around the state to successfully beat back the Florida version of the “Academic Bill of Rights” measures that were being introduced in state legislatures around the country. This bill would have monitored the political content of university classes and stood as a threat to key tenets of academic freedom.
- 1997-2000: UFF took up the case of Kimel et al. v. Florida Board of Regents, a legal action initiated by FSU Physics Professor and UFF-FSU President Dan Kimel. He and a number of colleagues argued that salary compression and inversion constituted de facto age discrimination. The case ultimately was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled 5-4 against UFF (it ruled that state governments were immune from federal employment law lawsuits). Despite the loss, the case demonstrated the power that faculty can achieve when we pool our resources and organize to improve conditions in the work environment. Without the resources of UFF and its state and national affiliates, the arguments raised by Kimel and his fellow faculty could never have been heard.