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 The changes clean up outdated language and clarify that the documents included in promotion folders are “summary forms, narratives, optional responses, and letters of progress towards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: 

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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