Report on University Welfare for Faculty Senate, April 18th, 2012

By Professor Jack Fiorito, Senator and UFF-FSU President

“Welcome” to new, continuing, and returning Senators. This is a good time to review the roles of the Senate and of the United Faculty of Florida (UFF). The Faculty Senate is the voice of the faculty on academic matters, and can express its opinion on “any subject of interest to the University.” (And I will come back to that in a minute.) The UFF is the exclusive bargaining agent for salaries and other terms and conditions of employment. These roles sometimes overlap, but I am pleased to say that we generally have collegial and professional working relations between the UFF and Senate.

Collective Bargaining
We have met two or three times since the previous Senate. Our main topics of negotiation were Specialized Faculty reclassification (also known as NTTF), promotion, tenure, and evaluation, and we are making some progress on these. The reclassification project is particularly complex and involves some critical issues. I hope you did your reading assignments as indicated in last month’s Senate minutes! Discussions on these matters are continuing. We also held a consultation with President Barron and Provost Stokes at the end of March. More will be available on that at a later date.

Now, getting back to the Senate expressing its opinion. As we heard earlier today HB5005 cuts the state’s contribution to defined-contribution plan participant accounts by 2.28 percentage points. This will cost most faculty members tens of thousands of dollars in retirement benefits, possibly hundreds of thousands. In view of this and that it is a concern to the faculty and the University, I would like to offer a resolution, as follows:

Whereas HB5005 will cost most FSU faculty members thousands of dollars in retirement benefits, and whereas the task of attracting and retaining top-notch faculty members is already very difficult, therefore The Florida State University Faculty Senate asks President Lewis to convey as soon as possible the Faculty Senate’s opposition to this bill and to urge Governor Scott to veto the bill.
(Following a second, discussion, and a friendly amendment, the resolution passed.  Governor Scott signed HB5005 on April 20th)

Take the Poll!
As I think someone mentioned earlier, this is a very busy time of year. We used to conduct our annual or almost-annual faculty poll in April, but we found that last year moving it to May made life a bit easier and did not seem to have an adverse effect on response rates. So, we will be conducting our poll in May once again. When the call goes out, please take the poll!

Questions? Thank you for your time.

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