Bargaining Update, July 27, 2022

Wednesday’s bargaining session was a flurry of activity as the two sides tentatively agreed to three articles and an appendix, and we are hopeful that we can soon agree to three more. But the main event was salaries, which was discussed right after President McCullough’s email promised investment in faculty and staff through increased salaries. The BOT team presented their latest offer on Article 23 (Salaries), and the UFF team countered:

 BOTUFF
Performance (also called across-the-board)3%5.75%
Department Merit1.25%1.25%
Dean’s Merit0.75%0.25%
Market Equity$500,000$750,000
Administrative Discretionary Increases (ADI)1.00%0.50%

We were pleased to see the BOT team increase their Performance and Market Equity proposals and reduce the amount they allocated to Dean’s Merit, although Dean’s Merit still remains unprecedentedly high. The BOT team said they heard our concerns. Their movement on salaries is in the right direction, but we are still not quite “there,” as expressed by the faculty in the bargaining room and the 43 faculty members on Zoom who stated that they were hopeful after seeing the president’s email but disappointed with the BOT’s proposal.

We’d also like to thank the more than 560 faculty members who already signed the UFF-FSU petition asking the BOT to provide fair salaries for faculty members who worked incredibly hard in dangerous circumstances to ensure that intellectual and educational life at the University continued uninterrupted. Your voices made a difference! And there is still time to sign the petition if you haven’t already.

With no raises for most faculty in two of the last three years, faculty members have fallen further and further behind. And while the BOT and President McCullough argue that the current salary offer is the most generous in at least a decade, they fail to acknowledge the two years with no raises and the 14% plus rate of inflation since the last raise that is eating up our paychecks. As we have noted, FSU bragged about how “All of FSU’s priorities were funded.” But the offer they call generous does not demonstrate that faculty are a priority. In addition, this year, FSU received an increase of $66 million or almost 11% in unrestricted state funding in lottery, tuition/fees, and state General Revenue. As a faculty member noted in the Zoom chat, “The fact that [the BOT’s offer is] the largest in 10 years does not actually help their cause; that data shows how poorly we’ve been compensated.” And another faculty member asked after hearing the BOT’s salary offer, “That is supposed to make up for other years?”

The BOT team once again said that they are very close to their salary limit, so now really is the time for faculty to show that they want a more meaningful salary offer by attending the next bargaining session scheduled for Wednesday, August 3, from 2-5 (information regarding location can be found below). If it is at all possible, please attend in person and encourage your colleagues to attend in person as well. Having faculty in the room is an effective and visible way to support the UFF team’s position. Having faculty members attend via Zoom also helps because we do let them know how many faculty attend virtually, but your physical presence sends a powerful message that we are all in this together.

A big thank you to the faculty who have attended in person and virtually these last few weeks. Please continue to do so!

The two teams did Tentatively Agree (TA) to Article 19 (Conflict of Interest/Outside Activity), with most of the protections for faculty we asked for, and Appendix K and agreed to status quo language (no changes) in Article 8 (Appointment) and Article 12 (Non-Reappointment). The BOT proposed that the teams agree to the changes the UFF team proposed in Article 18 (Inventions & Works), Article 24 (Benefits), which would codify the tuition scholarships for faculty member’s dependent children and spouses, and Article 17 (Leaves), which would remain status quo—that is, only one paid parental leave (UFF’s last proposal was two paid parental leaves). The UFF team proposed a counteroffer to Article 17 changing paid parental leave to paid family leave, which would allow faculty to use the leave for the birth or adoption of a child or to take care of sick family members, including spouses, biological or adoptive parents, biological or adoptive children, step-children, and biological or adoptive siblings. We noted that this change would recognize the lives of faculty members as sometimes-caregivers and would offer a more family-friendly and age-friendly campus.

We are still waiting for a response to UFF’s proposed Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to ensure that Promotion and Sustained Performance raises become effective for those faculty in August and to Article 22 (Sabbatical & Professional Development Leave).

As noted, the next bargaining session is scheduled for Wed., August 3, from 2:00-5:00. Our union’s efforts at the bargaining table are most effective when faculty support is evident, so if you care about salaries, please come! It really does make a difference. 

Bargaining sessions are open to all faculty. Meetings are face-to-face at the FSU Training Center (493 Stadium Drive).  If you would like to attend remotely, please contact Chandler Blount chandler.mblount@gmail.com to receive the Zoom link. (Alternatively, if you retained a previous bargaining Zoom link, it will still work.)

Regular bargaining updates and the entire CBA can be found under “UFF At Work” 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 the best,

Scott Hannahs and Jennifer Proffitt, Co-Chief Negotiators, UFF-FSU

Bargaining Update – August 3, 2022

Dear Colleagues,

At Wednesday’s bargaining session, the BOT team proposed what was presented as a final package deal that included all remaining articles, including salary. The BOT’s offer included the $750,000 in Market Equity that the UFF proposed last week, but it did not increase Performance Funding. The UFF team countered, and then the BOT presented a ‘best and final’ offer that was only good until the end of the bargaining session. UFF countered that offer, and the BOT team agreed, thus ending negotiations that saw a couple dozen salary proposals passed back and forth and compromises on both sides. The two teams Tentatively Agreed (TA) to the salary proposal found here that includes implementation dates.  

 BOTUFFBOTUFF
Performance (also called across-the-board)3%4%3.5%4%
Department Merit1.50%1.25%1.25%0.75%
Dean’s Merit0.50%0.25%0.50%0.50%
Market Equity$750,000$750,000$750,000$750,000
Administrative Discretionary Increases (ADI)1.00%0.8%1.00%0.80%

Both the UFF and the administration believe that merit is an important part of any compensation package. Thus, the Performance and Merit components of the UFF-BOT agreement, plus Market Equity increases, should be considered as part of the total salary package. While the initial BOT offer was 2.75% + Promotions + Sustained Performance Increases, the accepted offer is 5.7% + Promotions + Sustained Performance Increases, for an overall faculty compensation package of about 6.7%, not counting ADI. While the UFF believes that faculty merit is best determined by departments and their bylaws, as per President McCullough’s direction, the BOT demanded that a significant amount of faculty raises be determined by the deans. We do hope that our concerns regarding merit allocated based on the whims of deans have been heard and that deans will allocate the money based on fair and transparent criteria.

We’d like to once again thank the nearly 700 faculty members who signed the UFF-FSU petition asking the BOT to provide fair salaries and the dozens of faculty members who attended bargaining in person and via Zoom. Your voices definitely made a difference!


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On another note, we were pleased to see President McCullough’s 8/4/22 email announcing staff raises of 5% because our hardworking staff have gone many years without across-the-board raises and are generally lower paid than faculty, as evidenced by the announced increase of annual base pay for full-time, salaried staff employees to $31,320. We hope that the administration will continue to work on providing fair compensation for FSU staff as well.

The two teams also Tentatively Agreed to the other articles in the package deal, including Article 18 (Inventions & Works)Article 22 (Sabbatical and Professional Development Leave), which increases the number of paid one-semester sabbaticals from 1 out of every 30 eligible tenured faculty members to 1 out of every 20 eligible tenured faculty members, a 50% increase, Article 24 (Benefits), which codifies the tuition scholarships for faculty members’ dependent children and spouses, and Article 17 (Leaves), which remains status quo (that is, one paid parental leave). We hope to address the need for paid family leave in future years’ negotiations as such a change would offer a more family-friendly and age-friendly campus.

The next step in the process is ratification of the contract, so please be on the lookout for ratification voting dates, times, and locations. In all, the UFF is proud of the gains we made for faculty during this bargaining session, which you’ll be hearing more about as we near ratification. For example, we significantly increased our sabbatical program, held tight to the four-year contracts for the third rank of Specialized Faculty that the BOT wanted to curtail, mandated safety inspections of FSU buildings at regular intervals, and tightened protections for faculty members to engage in political speech outside of FSU. Even as we made a lot of progress in improving the working lives of faculty, we would still like to hear our members’ ideas about how we might improve things further in future negotiations!

Bargaining updates and the entire CBA can be found under “UFF At Work” 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! As the negotiations have demonstrated, we can accomplish more when we all stand together.  http://uff-fsu.org/wp/join/

All the best,

Scott Hannahs, Research Faculty III, and

Jennifer Proffitt, Professor,

Co-Chief Negotiators, UFF-FSU

Bargaining Update–July 20, 2022

The teams met Wednesday to present and discuss articles, but the most contentious issue was salaries. The BOT team presented their latest offer on Article 23 (Salaries), and the UFF team countered:

 BOTUFF
Performance (also called across-the-board)2.50%6.25%
Department Merit1.00%1.25%
Dean’s Merit1.00%0.15%
Market Equity$250,000$1.25 Million
Administrative Discretionary Increases (ADI)1.00%0.50%

While we were pleased to see the BOT team finally included some nominal funding for market equity raises, overall, the BOT team only increased their offer by 0.14% of the faculty salary base (they moved 0.25% from Dean’s Merit and added it to Performance; the 0.14% represents the addition of Market Equity).

After the UFF team presented a counteroffer, the BOT team scolded us, declaring that they started with “a robust number” (please see the BOT’s first offer here) and that the two teams were not going to meet in the middle of the UFF team’s original proposal and the BOT team’s original counteroffer. The BOT team also stated that their offer is the most “generous” offer that they have made in recent years. Well, yes, it is better than the zero offered for Performance and other raises for the last two years, which is why faculty expect and deserve a higher salary proposal. The BOT team once again made it clear that their priority is Dean’s Merit, and we made it clear that Performance and Market Equity raises are the faculty’s priorities (as expressed in the spring 2022 UFF-FSU faculty poll). As one of the 30-plus faculty members on the Zoom call stated regarding the BOT’s focus on Dean’s Merit, “The idea is to reward the ‘superstars’ and leave the rest of us scrambling for crumbs.” Another faculty member noted, “EVERYONE experiences increases in cost of living. Picking and choosing is not appropriate.”

As noted in the last bargaining update, President McCullough and the Board of Trustees have stated publicly that retention is important. The focus on Dean’s Merit suggests that only certain faculty members are worth retaining. Some faculty members will benefit from the discretionary nature of Dean’s Merit while others will not as the administration picks winners and (mostly) losers. In the most recent two years in which Department Merit and Dean’s Merit were offered (2017 and 2018), roughly 80% of faculty received Department Merit while only about 26% received Dean’s Merit. Without criteria, we don’t know how your dean determined that one faculty member is more deserving than another. We have warned the administration that we are about to witness the Great Resignation firsthand, as faculty across campus are updating their resumes and CVs to search for other positions. Without meaningful Performance raises, retention becomes much more challenging, and compression and inversion become more difficult to overcome.

The BOT team said that they are nearing their salary limit, so now is the time for faculty to show that they want a more meaningful salary offer by attending the next bargaining session scheduled for Wednesday, July 27, from 2-5 (information regarding location can be found below). If it is at all possible, please attend in person and encourage your colleagues to attend in person as well. Having faculty in the room is an effective and visible way to support the UFF team’s position. Having faculty members attend via Zoom also helps because we do let them know how many faculty attend virtually, but your physical presence sends a powerful message that we are all in this together.

A big thank you to the faculty who have attended in person and virtually these last few weeks. Please continue to do so!

Another way to show the BOT team that a more meaningful salary offer is needed is by signing the petition that will be sent out Monday in a separate email. Please consider signing it and encouraging your colleagues to sign it as well. We are asking the administration to propose meaningful Performance raises that demonstrate that they value all faculty members who meet or exceed “FSU’s High Expectations” (CBA Article 10.3).

As we noted in the last update, because both teams do agree on the continuation of Promotion Increases and of Sustained Performance Increases, the UFF team proposed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to ensure that these increases become effective for those faculty in August. The BOT added a “poison pill”—a provision that would also reinstate the BOT’s now-expired authority to grant discretionary raises to individuals. The ability to withhold this authority from the BOT—and your visible support–are the most significant leverage the UFF faculty team holds in these negotiations.  We offered the MOA once again without the “poison pill” and hope that the BOT team will reconsider so that faculty will receive these raises that they have earned and deserve on time.

The BOT team presented a counteroffer for Article 12 (Non-Reappointment). We appear to be close to an agreement, but the sticking point is the amount of notice a faculty member on “soft money” who is not on a multi-year contract should receive if they are not being reappointed. We presented a counter proposing longer notice, and we eagerly await the BOT’s response.

The UFF team’s counter to Article 19 (Conflict of Interest/Outside Activity) included time limits for reporting and notification and a provision requiring clear and convincing evidence if discipline is beyond a letter of reprimand. The BOT countered without a specific time frame for notifying a faculty member that there will be an investigation and without the clear and convincing evidence provision. The BOT team noted that the just cause provision in Article 16 (Disciplinary Action and Job Abandonment) already provides a procedure for disciplinary action, but that they would consider a time frame for notification that is longer than the one week that we had proposed.

As noted, the next bargaining session is scheduled for Wed., July 27 from 2:00-5:00. Our union’s efforts at the bargaining table are most effective when faculty support is evident, so if you care about salaries, please come! 

Bargaining sessions are open to all faculty. Meetings are face-to-face at the FSU Training Center (493 Stadium Drive).  If you would like to attend remotely, please contact Arash Fahim <arashfahim@gmail.com> to receive the Zoom link. (Alternatively, if you retained a previous bargaining Zoom link, it will still work.)

Regular bargaining updates and the entire CBA can be found under “UFF At Work” 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/

Bargaining Update: July 13, 2022

The teams met Wednesday to present and discuss articles, including salaries. The BOT presented their latest offer on Article 23 (Salaries), and the UFF team countered:

 BOTUFF
Performance (also called across-the-board)2.25%6.50%
Department Merit1.00%1.5%
Dean’s Merit1.25%0.15%
Market Equity0$1.5 Million
Administrative Discretionary Increases (ADI)1.25%0.25%

The BOT team once again only increased their offer by 0.25% (added to Department Merit), and they made it clear that their priority is Dean’s Merit, which, as we noted in previous updates, is allocated at the discretion of the Dean rather than through departmental procedures voted on by faculty and outlined in department bylaws. The UFF team countered that the dramatic increase in Dean’s Merit is a radical departure from previous years; what the BOT team is proposing is nearly 4 to 8 times larger than Dean’s Merit in previous years (since 2015, Dean’s Merit has been no more than 0.15-0.35%, not 1.25%). The ability for Deans to dispense increases already exists in the Administrative Discretionary Increases category, and we see little need to increase that amount when there is so much need in the Performance and Market Equity categories.

If a goal of the University is faculty retention, as noted by the Board of Trustees in the last Trustee meeting and by President McCullough in various contexts, the focus should be on Performance raises and Market Equity, not a discretionary fund for Deans to reward some faculty and not others. We explained once again that faculty spent the last two plus years working through a deadly pandemic, spending countless hours pivoting their classes to multiple platforms to keep the University functioning, without a raise. And with a 14% plus increase in inflation since our last raise, Performance raises are the foremost priority for faculty. Further, without raises for several years, compression and inversion have continued to increase, which is why Market Equity–based on the formula outlined in the contract–is also a much bigger priority than discretionary increases. As a faculty member attending the bargaining session via Zoom noted in the chat during the discussion of raises, “Every other faculty member I know is incensed. And polishing their resumes. Short-sighted.” Another member noted that the 0.25% increase in each week’s offer from the BOT is “almost hostile.” Other terms we’ve heard from faculty regarding the BOT salary offer include “insulting” and “offensive.” We are awaiting the BOT’s next offer and hope that we see greater progress than we have seen so far to show that they value the hard work and dedication of the faculty.

Faculty participation in-person and on Zoom really does matter, so please see the information below regarding how to participate.

As we noted in the last update, because both teams do agree on the continuation of Promotion Increases and of Sustained Performance Increases, the UFF team was proactive and proposed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to ensure that these increases become effective for those faculty in August. The BOT’s proposal unfortunately added a “poison pill”—a provision that would also reinstate the BOT’s now-expired authority to grant discretionary raises to individuals. This would undermine what little bargaining power faculty have under Florida law. It appears as though the BOT team is more interested in holding faculty raises hostage to gain an advantage at the bargaining table than to award faculty the promotion raises that they have rightfully earned.

The UFF team also presented a counter to Article 19 (Conflict of Interest/Outside Activity). We explained why safeguards are needed to protect faculty from investigations and potential discipline due to unintentional violations and unfounded claims of consensual sexual activity with students. We also clarified that we want to be sure that the BOT’s language regarding ‘verbal discussions of a sexual nature’ does not violate academic freedom or pedagogical choices. The BOT team heard our concerns, and we were very pleased to see that they countered with a proposal that includes protections. We are carefully reviewing their proposal, but we are optimistic that we are very close to an agreement.  

The next bargaining session is scheduled for Wed., July 20 from 2:00-5:00. Our union’s efforts at the bargaining table are most effective when faculty attendance is high, so 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 contact Chandler Blount <chandler.mblount@gmail.com> to receive 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 the best,

Scott Hannahs and Jennifer Proffitt, Co-Chief Negotiators, UFF-FSU

Bargaining Update – July 8, 2022

The teams met Friday to discuss and present articles.  The UFF was grateful to the BOT team for accommodating our scheduling conflict by shifting the meeting date.  We were also happy to have faculty attend in person and online.  Remember these sessions are open to faculty; your presence matters, and it’s nice to meet you when you’re there!

The UFF team opened by voicing our concerns over last week’s BOT counter on Article 19 (Conflict of Interest/Outside Activity), wherein they proposed some new language and struck our proposed language protecting faculty. We have heard from faculty, and we share their concerns that the language to prohibit consensual “verbal, non-verbal, or physical contact” (what does that NOT cover?) with any student over whom the faculty member exercises “academic authority” (what is that?) is so broad and vague that a faculty member could be accused, investigated, and disciplined for consensual, legal, and ethical behavior with someone they didn’t even know was a student.  Additionally, an outside party could weaponize an anonymous complaint against a faculty member, and the BOT’s proposed language may not even require a sexual encounter to bring on career-damaging accusations.  We believe (and we stated) that the BOT’s language poses a particular danger for LGBTQ faculty and that there needs to be a serious discussion about safeguards for faculty.

The BOT team listened and stated that they are open to continuing the discussion.  They said they share the concern that everyone involved needs to be protected, and they look forward to our language changes that address protections for faculty.  The BOT did stress that they see this matter as an ethical obligation and not as something “to be bought” from the UFF, for example, with higher performance increases.  (This seems counter to their calling these several articles “a package” when they presented them before.)

The session continued with Article 12 (Non-Reappointment).  Last session, we proposed to treat C&G-funded and E&G-funded faculty the same: faculty with 2 or fewer years’ service would get 19.5 weeks’ notice, and those with more than 2 years’ service would receive a year’s notice.  The BOT’s counter lowered the notice periods for C&G-funded faculty back down to 30 and 90 days.  They also again struck the UFF language that would safeguard the length of continuous service for a successful grievant, arguing that it pre-fashions a remedy that is usually up to an arbitrator to determine.

We think that the notice for those faculty on “soft-money” is too short to find other employment.  After all, PIs should know well in advance that funding is ending.  Our team countered with notice as soon as practicable but no less than 90 or 180 days.  We also clarified the language regarding the service time of a successful grievant.  We await their reply.

Lastly, the BOT presented their latest low offer on Article 23 (Salaries) and our team countered again:

 BOTUFF
Performance (also called across-the-board)2.25%6.50%
Department Merit0.75%2.00%
Dean’s Merit1.25%0
Market Equity0$1.5 Million
Administrative Discretionary Increases (ADI)1.25%0.25%

The BOT proposed language requiring a written explanation for a Dean’s Merit increase but only if it is “more than 10% of the faculty member’s base salary.” We noted that the threshold for any explanation was so high as to be useless, and they replied that 10% is consistent with other processes requiring review, but they were open to negotiating it.

The UFF team believes that the movement up or down of 0.25% here and there is still disappointingly slow progress toward an agreement that addresses all the salary problems we detailed last week.  We still object to their over-reliance on Dean’s Merit over Departmental Merit and their lack of attention to Market Equity.  It’s progress, though, and we will continue to press the faculty’s case for bigger increases.

Both teams do still 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.  Accordingly, the UFF team proposed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to ensure that these increases become effective for those faculty in August.  We await the BOT response to this and our counteroffer on salaries.

The next bargaining session is scheduled for Wed., July 13 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 contact Chandler Blount <chandler.mblount@gmail.com> to receive 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/