Bargaining Update: May 10, 2023

FSU Colleagues,

On Wednesday afternoon the UFF-FSU and BOT bargaining teams met for 3 hours.  The session came very close to a final agreement but ended up on a somewhat tense and acrimonious note.

To make a good-faith move to meet the BOT, the UFF-FSU started out proposing a Performance Increase that is somewhat less than the rate of inflation.  In partial compensation for this, we proposed a floor or a minimum amount to help offset the impact of inflation on our lowest paid faculty.  This minimum was ignored and deleted through several rounds of bargaining as we lowered it, trying to come to agreement.  This minimum has an easily calculable effect, and the extra cost is negligible in a year where FSU did so well in the legislature and “got everything we asked for”.  One of the things that the president is required to request each year is adequate funding for hiring and retention of faculty.

Again, we attempted to hold the Deans’ Discretionary Merit category to a small amount or zero it out; however, it became obvious that funding this category was a high priority to the BOT team.  We feel that this is a “waiver,” or a surrender of a mandatory subject of bargaining to total administrative discretion without any faculty input. The UFF-FSU team felt that if the BOT was requesting a significant amount and a significant concession, then it should have some guardrails on its implementation.  The proposed amount of the Deans’ Discretionary Merit increase is reduced from last year’s 0.5% of the faculty salary base to 0.3% this year. The UFF-FSU team proposed that the trigger where a dean would need to write a justification for a Deans’ Discretionary Merit raise be reduced from required for anyone receiving a deans merit raise of 5% or more to required for anyone receiving a 3%-or-more increase.   In addition, our objection to the Deans’ Discretionary Merit category is that it does not accomplish the objective of rewarding merit.  If there is no definition of what merit is, then faculty are left clueless as to what they should do to earn merit.  This is similar to a game of blindperson’s bluff where one is trying to reach a goal but has no idea what or where that goal is.  Thus, the deans responsible for allocating a substantial amount of funds for raises, should at least communicate to the faculty the criteria used for that allocation.  In the past only 15% to 20% of the funds in deans’ discretionary merit have gone to Specialized Faculty and this bias also needs to be justified.

The BOT team did offer an increase to $1 million in the Market Equity category.  Since this category also addresses the impact of inflation on faculty, we gratefully accept this as a partial offset to having Performance Increases be less than inflation.

We presented an offer accepting the BOT’s numbers with the guard ails discussed above.  The BOT team focused on the raw numbers and not the issues.  In their next counteroffer, the BOT team accepted the numbers with all conditions eliminated, suggesting that this was as far as they were willing to bargain.  We countered by reducing the floor such that it met them halfway in cost and reduced the reporting required of deans.  At this, the BOT team berated us for proposing language changes at the last minute and for proposing salary increases that they are unable to calculate.  We do not agree that the calculations are complicated or onerous. As preparation for bargaining, the UFF-FSU team had constructed a simple spreadsheet to calculate costs in real time during negotiations.

We reject both argument that the language is last minute and that the change is difficult to calculate.  Language setting floors on increases has been discussed in the past, as a way to reach agreement and was present for the entire day’s bargaining session.   We believe that the changes in the amounts mandate changes in the language governing how the money is to be distributed in order to ensure transparency and accountability as well as fairness. The BOT team left the meeting with the statement that they were unsure what to do and if they should continue negotiations.

A Summary Table of the final offer and counteroffer for 5/10/2023 is provided below.  As you can see, we have come very close to an agreement, with only about $175,000 difference in total cost (roughly 0.09% of the bargaining unit faculty salary base.

Summary Table
CategoryBOT OfferUFF-FSU Counteroffer
Promotions12% / 15%12% / 15%
SPI (Sustained Performance Increase)3.00%3.00%
With a minimum increase of $2,500
Department Merit0.75%0.75%
Dean’’ Discretionary Merit0.30%Deans’ merit increases that are more than 5% of the faculty member’s base salary shall require written justification from the Dean.0.30%Deans’ merit increases that are more than 53% of the faculty member’s base salary shall require written justification from the Dean. The deans shall inform all faculty in their college/school/unit of the precise criteria to be used for determining distribution of deans’ merit.
Market Equity$1,000,000
Divided $800,000 for tenured and tenure-track faculty, $200,000 for specialized faculty
Divided $800,000 for tenured and tenure-track faculty, $200,000 for specialized faculty
Administrative Discretionary Increase Up to 1.00%Up to 1.00%
Note:  Amounts for Performance, Department Merit, Deans’ Discretionary Merit, and Administrative Discretionary Increase are expressed as a percent of the salary base for in-unit faculty.  Other percentages refer to the increase in individuals’ salaries. 

We do not fully understand the objections expressed by the BOT team and trust that they will move forward and consider our counter proposal.  We look forward to continuing our discussion on Monday.

All the best,

Scott Hannahs, Specialized Faculty, Magnet Lab, and Jennifer Proffitt, Professor, Communication

Co-Chief Negotiators, UFF-FSU

Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.