Bargaining Update – June 24, 2022

Dear Colleagues,

The teams met Wednesday for a busy session that brought in almost 70 faculty attendees via
Zoom, along with a handful in the room. It was a great turnout, which we made a point of
announcing to the BOT team.

We began with the UFF’s counter-offer on Article 23, Salaries, where we proposed 7% in
Performance Raises, 2.5% in Department Merit, $2 million in Market Equity, 0% Deans Merit,
and 0.5% ADI. The BOT countered:

Performance (also called across-the-
board)
1.5%
Department Merit0.50%
Dean’s Merit1.5%
Administrative Discretionary
Increases (ADI)
1.25%

(Both teams agree on the continuation of Promotion Increases of 12% for the second rank and
15% for the top rank and on the continuation of Sustained Performance Increases of 3% for
eligible full professors, eminent scholars, and the top rank of Specialized Faculty every seven
years after their promotion to the top rank.)

The UFF team pointed out that this offer is destructive to faculty morale and that it means faculty
are taking a pay cut: Since our last raise, in 2019, inflation has increased 14%. The BOT’s
response? “Are you saying that inflation is the University’s fault?” Talk about disingenuous.

We had quite a to-do about how the BOT proposes allocating three times more money to Dean’s
merit than to Departmental merit, with the UFF arguing that faculty have created departmental
merit criteria, while deans are held to no criteria. They can award it to whomever they believe
deserves it. They can consider the department’s merit evaluation—or not. They can consider
chairs’ recommendations—or not. They can consult their own internal biases—or not. No! No!,
the BOT team demurred, suggesting deans always make reasonable determinations that best
serve the College by using their own criteria. We suggested that if deans are held to actual
criteria in awarding merit the way departments are, it would behoove them to publicize that fact
to reassure faculty about the possibility of capriciousness. In any event, said the BOT team, this
is money going into faculty members’ pockets. We asked for the number of faculty given these
awards the last time it was awarded and will keep you posted.

They didn’t even bother to create a row for Market Equity increases, the raises designed to slow
compression and inversion. The year 2017-18 is the last time we saw funding in this category,
which is a problem because it needs continual infusions to be effective.

But a different plan for pleasing faculty is afoot. The BOT Team noted that the President was
behind a Memorandum of Agreement that grants 12-month faculty an extra vacation day
during the next calendar year. We signed: An extra day for some faculty is a gain.

We now turn to other articles. The UFF presented Article 17 (Leaves), where we modified our
proposal from two paid family leaves to one. The BOT was uninterested, but they didn’t blow us
off when we asked if it was worth our while to instead propose two paid parental leaves. Stay
tuned.

The teams tentatively agreed to a new Article 20 (Grievances) that made small changes to the
language about selecting an arbitration panel.

The UFF presented Article 8 (Appointment), where we struck the sections seeking to reduce the
length of employment contracts of Specialized Faculty from four years to three and made other
small changes. The BOT countered with just a small word change. Since then, we also see the
need for another small word change that we’ll fix next time. It seems that the teams are close to
agreement.

Next up was UFF’s counter on Article 12 (Non-Reappointment), where we continued to try to
change the length of notice for faculty on “soft money” and where we also continued to push for
language saying that a non-renewal must be for “good and sufficient reason.” No dice. The
BOT’s counter
indicated that they wanted to continue the present system (which can be called
modified employment-at-will).

The day’s final article was the UFF’s proposal on Article 19 (Conflict of Interest/Outside
Activity)
, where we struck the notion of faculty being subject to discipline for “pursuing” a
consensual sexual relationship with an undergraduate. The “pursuing” language makes this
worryingly vague. We also reinserted language that allows consensual sexual relationships
between consenting graduate students and faculty in the same department as long as no
supervisory or evaluative relationship exists. We also seek language protecting faculty by
limiting reports of violations to six months after the most recent sexual encounter and by
requiring that evidence meet the “clear and convincing” burden of proof.

The next bargaining session is scheduled for Wed., June 29 from 2:00-5:00. Our union’s
efforts at the bargaining table are most effective when faculty attendance is high: if you
care about Salaries, please come!
Bargaining sessions are open to faculty, and we appreciate
having you! Meetings are face-to-face at the FSU Training Center (493 Stadium Drive). If you
would like to attend remotely, we welcome that, as well! Please respond to this message and
we’ll send you the Zoom link. (Alternatively, if you retained a previous bargaining Zoom link, it
will still work.)

Regular bargaining updates can be found at our webpage: http://uff-fsu.org/

The key to a strong Collective Bargaining Agreement is a strong membership base, so if you are
not a member, please join! There has never been a more important time for us to stand together.
 http://uff-fsu.org/wp/join/

All best,
Irene Padavic and Scott Hannahs, Co-Chief Negotiators, UFF-FSU

Bargaining Update – June 8, 2022

The bargaining teams met Wednesday, and we discussed two articles and an Appendix.

The UFF presented its counter-proposal to Article 20 (Grievance Procedure and Arbitration), and the BOT responded. The teams are on the same page about some technical issues regarding arbitration procedures, but we are still discussing implementation matters.

We continue to make good progress on Appendix K based on the BOT’s latest proposal and UFF’s response, including narrowing the disclosure of financial interests from various relatives to immediate family members.

Although not a formal proposal, we then presented our thoughts regarding Article 19 (Conflict of Interest/Outside Activity) in which we would concede to the BOT’s ban on consensual sexual relationships with undergraduates but with backstops to protect faculty from accusations that are unfounded. Key for us is due process and safeguarding faculty from surveillance and unwarranted discipline. We also continue to question the BOT’s use of the terms “romantic” and “amorous” without definitions and remain concerned about the conflation of consensual relationships and harassment. Now, as always, we stand firmly behind the prohibition of harassment, found in Article 6 (Nondiscrimination).

We are eagerly awaiting the BOT’s responses to UFF’s earlier proposals regarding Salaries, Sabbatical and Professional Development Leave, Benefits, and Leaves.

The next bargaining session is scheduled for Wed., June 15, from 2:00-5:00.  Bargaining sessions are open to faculty, and we appreciate having you!  Meetings are face-to-face at the FSU Training Center (493 Stadium Drive). If you would like to attend remotely, please respond to this message, and we’ll send you the Zoom link. (Alternatively, if you retained a previous bargaining Zoom link, it will still work.)

Regular bargaining updates can be found at our webpage:  http://uff-fsu.org/

The key to a strong Collective Bargaining Agreement is a strong membership base, so if you are not a member, please join! There has never been a more important time for us to stand together.  http://uff-fsu.org/wp/join/

All best,

Jennifer Proffitt, Vice President and Bargaining Team member, UFF-FSU

Bargaining Update – June 1, 2022

Dear Colleagues,  

The bargaining teams continue to move full-steam ahead, having met for our sixth straight meeting on Wednesday.  Even though nothing was formally signed, we nevertheless made progress.   

The UFF presented its final article, Article 20 (Grievance Procedure and Arbitration), where we are seeking to streamline two procedures.  Our first proposal was that, instead of meeting with one arbitrator to determine whether the issue is subject to arbitration and then with a different arbitrator to address the substantive issue, those meetings be combined and only one arbitrator used.  The second was about the need to align language with current practice in the selection of an arbitrator.  The BOT’s response was supportive of the second proposal, with modifications, but not the first.   

The discussion of Appendix K continued, based on UFF’s latest proposal, which seeks to remove the notion that in order to avoid a possible conflict of interest faculty must disclose the financial interests of non-immediate family members.  This is a particular problem when it comes to their relatively small investments–$5,000–in large publicly-traded entities related to the faculty member’s institutional expertise.  

The final topic was the BOT’s counter-proposal on Article 19 (Conflict of Interest/Outside Activity). They proposed new language about conflicts of commitment, which are outside activities “interfering with the full performance of the faculty member’s professional or institutional responsibilities or obligations.” Are you wasting time walking the dog that you could be spending at work?  They insisted that curtailing such activities was not their intention, and they didn’t balk at UFF’s informally proposed alternative wording, which we’ll formalize for the next session. Regarding consensual sexual relationships with undergraduates, they reiterated their strong opposition to such relationships and again proposed banning them, this time including not just “sexual and romantic relationships,” as in their previous proposal, but “amorous” ones as well.   

No response yet to the UFF’s Salaries proposal of the previous week.  

The next bargaining session is scheduled for Wed., June 8, from 2:00-5:00.  Bargaining sessions are open to faculty, and we appreciate having you!  Meetings are face-to-face at the FSU Training Center (493 Stadium Drive). We are pleased that faculty are showing up in person and via Zoom.  If you would like to attend remotely, please respond to this message and we’ll send you the Zoom link. (Alternatively, if you retained a previous bargaining Zoom link, it will still work.) 

Regular bargaining updates can be found at our webpage:  http://uff-fsu.org/ 

The key to a strong Collective Bargaining Agreement is a strong membership base, so if you are not a member, please join! There has never been a more important time for us to stand together.  http://uff-fsu.org/wp/join/ 

All best, 

Irene Padavic and Scott Hannahs, Co-Chief Negotiators, UFF-FSU 

Bargaining Update – May 25, 2022

The bargaining teams met Wednesday and made great progress on one article, discussed an appendix that still needs a bit of work, heard the first Salaries proposal, and tentatively agreed to another article.   

In what the UFF team considers great news, the teams are close to agreement regarding Article 18 (Inventions and Works).  The BOT’s proposal changes the term “Appreciable University Support” to “Appreciable University Resources,” which has the crucial effect of removing the possibility that salary could fall in the category.  It also drops the notion that independent efforts need to fall outside a faculty member’s institutional expertise in order for the University to not claim a financial interest, which is a major gain over existing language.   

Despite having resolved differences on this article, the BOT wants to postpone a tentative agreement until after the teams have carefully reviewed the latest BOT proposal and considered related provisions such as Article 19 (Conflict of Interest/Outside Activity).  We look forward to seeing their next Article 19 proposal and continuing the conversation. 

There is still a bit of disagreement about Appendix K, particularly the notion that faculty must disclose as a Reportable Activity the financial interest of a relative who has at least a $5,000 interest in a publicly-traded company related to the faculty member’s institutional expertise.  If you’re a chemist, do you know if your nieces and nephews have stock in Pfizer?  You’d better!  We plan on presenting a counter-proposal at our next session.

The UFF presented a proposal for Article 23 (Salaries) that specifies the following:  

  • Performance Increases of 8.3% to all faculty employed since fall 2021 who achieved at least “meets FSU’s high expectations” in their recent evaluation 
  • Departmental merit (with the same eligibility as above) of 2.5% of the faculty salary base 
  • Zero “Deans’ merit” 
  • Market Equity increases of 2% of the faculty salary base (with a cap of $5,000 for tenured or tenure-track faculty and $2,500 for specialized faculty) 
  • Administrative Discretionary Increase pool amount of 0.5% of the faculty salary base 
  • Promotion increases continued at the current rates of 12% for promotion to the second rank and 15% to the highest rank 
  • Sustained Performance Increases of 3% at the seventh year in the top rank and every seven years thereafter (as long as they consistently have “met FSU’s high expectations”) 

The session concluded with signing a tentative agreement on Article 29 (Amendment and Duration), which specifies that negotiations for the next 3-year contract begin in the spring of 2025 and that negotiations for the two intermediate contracts begin on April 1 of each year.   

The next bargaining session is scheduled for Wed., June 1, from 2:00-5:00.  Bargaining sessions are open to faculty, and we appreciate having you!  Meetings are face-to-face at the FSU Training Center (493 Stadium Drive). We are pleased that faculty are showing up in person and via Zoom.  If you would like to attend remotely, please respond to this message and we’ll send you the Zoom link. (Alternatively, if you retained a previous bargaining Zoom link, it will still work.) 

Regular bargaining updates can be found at our webpage:  http://uff-fsu.org/ 

The key to a strong Collective Bargaining Agreement is a strong membership base, so if you are not a member, please join! There has never been a more important time for us to stand together.  http://uff-fsu.org/wp/join/ 

All best, 

Irene Padavic and Scott Hannahs 

Bargaining Update – May 18, 2022

The bargaining teams met Wednesday and tentatively agreed to four articles or appendices about tenure and promotion and another about Performance Evaluations (Article 10), and we presented the UFF’s team’s latest offer on Article 19 (Conflict of Interest/Outside Activity).

The BOT came to the table with two articles and two appendices that modestly change procedures for promotion and tenure, and after a bit of word-smithing, the teams signed tentative agreements on Article 14 (Promotion), Article 15 (Tenure), Appendix I (the retitled Criteria and Procedures for Promotion and Tenure for Tenured and Tenure-Earning Faculty), and Appendix J (Criteria and Procedures for Promotion of Specialized Faculty).  

In general, these changes incorporate current practices into the CBA.  Hence, departments may now convene different promotion committees for tenured/tenure-earning and specialized faculty, and all departmental promotion committees must now be elected. The teams added new honorific titles for specialized faculty:  Assistant Clinical Professor, Associate Clinical Professor, and Clinical Professor.  Regarding tenured faculty, the teams removed both the stipulation that time in rank as an Associate is “normally five years” and the “early promotion” designation. Regarding faculty not yet tenured, new language expands the list of reasons (which had centered on family) for extending the tenure clock to include the following: “lack of access to necessary facilities, equipment or other resources for an extended period of time due to natural disasters, health epidemics/pandemics, environmental issues, or other factors.”  


We also signed a tentative agreement on Article 10 (Performance Evaluations). The changes clean up outdated language and clarify that the documents included in promotion folders are “summary forms, narratives, optional responses, and letters of progress towards promotion.”  

Both teams were pleased with these changes and with the collaborative spirit we embodied as we tinkered with word-choice.   

The UFF then presented its latest proposal on Article 19 (Conflict of Interest/Outside Activity). We had already presented the first part of the article on May 4 and left that portion largely unchanged.  For the section on consensual sexual relationships with students, we agreed to the BOT’s introductory language highlighting how such relationships can lead to accusations of sexual misconduct, but we again struck their language forbidding “romantic relationships” as being ill-conceived and undefined, and we continue to allow consensual relationships as long as the student and faculty member are in different departments and as long as the faculty member has no supervisory or evaluative role. While we do not countenance sexual misconduct and strongly support the CBA provisions that prohibit it and that sanction faculty who engage in it, the relationships described in Article 19 are consensual and are between people in different departments who have no supervisory or evaluative connection.  The BOT’s proposed language would mean that in the event that an undergraduate student and a faculty member met at a community meeting and began a relationship—either a romantic one (at least according to one party!) or a sexual one—the faculty member would be subject to discipline, even though the FSU connection was peripheral. Such a situation is not far-fetched in an institution comprising more than 32,000 undergraduates and about 2,000 faculty.  That’s the size of a small city and means the odds are high that some faculty will face discipline for relationships that are mutual and non-exploitative.  

At the end of the meeting, the BOT team posed some questions about the UFF’s proposal of last week regarding Article 22 (Sabbaticals and Professional Development leave), which led us to clarify our intent. 

The next bargaining session is scheduled for Wed., May 25, from 2:00-5:00.  Bargaining sessions are open to faculty, and we appreciate having you!  Meetings are face-to-face at the FSU Training Center (493 Stadium Drive). We are pleased that faculty are showing up in person and via Zoom.  If you would like to attend remotely, please respond to this message and we’ll send you the Zoom link. (Alternatively, if you retained a previous bargaining Zoom link, it will still work.) 

Regular bargaining updates can be found at our webpage:  http://uff-fsu.org/ 

The key to a strong Collective Bargaining Agreement is a strong membership base, so if you are not a member, please join! There has never been a more important time for us to stand together.  http://uff-fsu.org/wp/join/ 

All best, 

Irene Padavic and Scott Hannahs, Co-Chief Negotiators, UFF-FSU