The bargaining teams met last Wednesday to entertain two counter-proposals and one new proposal from the UFF team and a verbal proposal for a trade-off on two articles from the BOT team.
The UFF began with a counter-proposal for Article 18 (Inventions and Works). This version removes salary as an element of the definition of “appreciable University support,” which is something the BOT team is seeking to insert. Salaries represent payment for work performed and shouldn’t be a consideration in determining whether the University owns a work or invention. If it were, then what’s the incentive for bothering to apply for a patent or copyright? This version made a concession by giving the University more time to inform the faculty member that it is seeking an interest in the work or to assert its interest in an invention. It also strikes language that defines an “independent effort” (in the case of inventions) as needing to be outside the faculty member’s field of expertise. Finally, it changes the division of proceeds for inventions owned by the University, such that the faculty member splits the proceeds 50/50 with the University, up from 40/60 in favor of the University.
Then the UFF turned to its counter-proposal on Article 19 (Conflict of Interest). The proposal added “reportable outside activity” as a defined category and made changes to the related Appendix the BOT had presented the previous week that itemizes reportable and non-reportable activity. Our proposal also added the word “reportable” before most usages of “outside activity” to increase clarity. The topic turned to consensual sexual relationships with students, and the UFF offered a counter-proposal that categorizes as a conflict of interest sexual relationships that occur when the faculty member and student are in the same department or when a faculty member has supervisory or evaluative authority over a student in a different department. It also allows the Provost to create an exemption and creates a carve-out for pre-existing relationships. The teams engaged in a vigorous back-and-forth about why the UFF is adamant about not forbidding “romantic relationships.” The arguments were not new: the UFF pointed out that defining romance is a fools’ errand and that the BOT’s attempts have fallen short, and moreover, what one party considers indicative of romance—and hence worthy of discipline—the other party may not. The BOT pointed out that it wants to get ahead of any situation before it becomes a problem, and thus declaring romance off limits will reduce the chances of a relationship becoming harassment. The UFF team said that it, too, wants to reduce or eliminate harassment but that the BOT team is conflating consensual relationships—the ones covered in this Article—with ones that are not—and which are already covered in Article 6.
The UFF next presented a proposal for Article 21 (Other Faculty Rights) that calls for the regular inspection of campus buildings, the installation and replacement as needed of high-efficiency filters, radon inspections and remediation, and mold/biological hazard inspections and remediation. It also includes a sentence that permits a faculty member who is given a letter of counsel an opportunity to attach a response.
The BOT team then offered a verbal proposal that the UFF team drop its proposal on Article 12 (Non-reappointment), where the UFF was seeking clearer language and a modified version of just-cause for non-renewal, in exchange for the BOT dropping its proposal on Article 8 (Appointments), where it was seeking to reduce the 4-year contracts for Specialized Faculty in the top rank. The UFF team will consider the deal.
The next bargaining session is scheduled for this Wed., April 20, 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.
Regular 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/
Irene Padavic and Scott Hannahs, Co-Chief Negotiators, UFF-FSU