Bargaining Update – May 11, 2022

The bargaining teams met last Wednesday to entertain two counter-proposals from the BOT and one proposal and one counter-proposal from the UFF. 

The big news is that we reached a Tentative Agreement on Article 21 (Other Faculty Rights). This is a big win for faculty, as it puts in place procedures to establish baselines for building safety.  The language guarantees regular inspections, regular filter replacement, radon inspections (and remediation, if needed), and mold inspections (and remediation, if needed).  We also agreed to language on another faculty right:  faculty who receive a letter of counsel may now attach a response. We have every hope that our tentative agreements will become part of our next CBA, but wanted to point out that they are, in fact, tentative. 

The UFF responded to the BOT proposal on Article 10 (Performance Evaluations), where we generally agreed with the BOT’s suggested changes, which were mostly about clearing up outdated language.  We also proposed language that clarifies which evaluation documents are to be included in promotion folders, such that instead of “history of annual evaluation” we spell out “summary forms, narratives, optional responses, and letters of progress towards promotion.”   

The two teams have significant disagreements about the BOT’s counter-proposal for Article 18 (Inventions and Works).  The first problem is defining “appreciable University support.” In a prior proposal, the BOT had added “salary for research assignment” as constituting such support, which we found unacceptable because it means that an invention worked on during weekends and evenings with no University support would be owned by the University. It was also completely new language, and a big grab.  Thus, our prior counterproposal had explicitly named “salaries” as an example of what is not appreciable University support.  Advance to Wednesday’s session, and we see the University struck our “salaries” exclusion, which means that salaries could or could not be considered appreciable support.  When questioned, the BOT team was clear that since some faculty are paid a salary to conduct research, the University would have an interest in that research, an interest it could choose to pursue or not, at its discretion.  We countered with a sentence that explicitly precludes this possibility: “Salary, unless paid specifically to support the development of a work or invention, shall not be considered appreciable University support for purposes of this Article.”   

The other point of contention in the BOT proposal is the BOT’s continued insistence on including language specifying that inventions falling within the faculty member’s “institutional expertise” are a University-supported effort, and thus any proceeds from them must be shared with the University.  Yet again, our counter strikes the “institutional expertise” stipulation as being unduly restrictive and hard to define. 

The day’s final article was the UFF’s proposal on Article 22 (Sabbatical and Professional Development Leave), where we proposed a non-competitive sabbatical-accrual system similar to the one the California University system has used for years, in which faculty’s qualifying service earns them a certain amount of pay for a semester or year, to be used at their discretion (see table in the linked article).  We also added a provision for Professional Development Leave that allows non-instructional faculty to take the leave in smaller increments over the course of two years, since many librarians and research faculty find it difficult to take a full semester away from their duties and thus don’t apply.   

At the conclusion of the session, the BOT team informed us that they would not consider our proposal of last week on Article 19 (Conflict of Interest) regarding reportable and non-reportable activity until it was part of a complete proposal that also addresses their language forbidding consensual romantic and sexual relationships between faculty and undergraduate students.   

The next bargaining session is scheduled for Wed., May18, 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: 

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. 

All best, 

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

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