Bargaining Update, May 1, 2024

Dear colleagues,

On Wednesday, May 1, the UFF-FSU and BOT teams met for our fourth collective bargaining session devoted to our 2024–25 contract. Thanks to all those who attended and offered input and comments!

If you’re looking for salary updates, you’ll be disappointed to hear that we still haven’t received a response from the administration to the proposal we submitted four weeks ago. Further, the BOT has still refused to back down over a draconian post-tenure review (PTR) policy that PERC’s Hearing Officer has said that they are implementing illegally in his Recommended Order. The full PERC has not yet ruled on the recommended order.  This week’s topics were performance evaluations (including post-tenure review) and faculty safety—with a bonus foray into improving faculty parking on campus. Read on for summaries and click the links to see the actual articles with the proposed changes.


Article 10 (Performance Evaluations): The administration team kicked things off by handing us a revised version of Article 10, which included a number of interesting morsels and one regurgitated serving of post-tenure review:

  • The administration suggests reducing the number of annual evaluation rating categories from five to four, eliminating “substantially exceeds” and also eliminating the lofty sounding “FSU’s high expectations” from every category. The proposed new ratings would be:
    • Exceeds expectations;
    • Meets expectations;
    • Official concern; and
    • Does not meet expectations.
  • For faculty eligible for promotion and/or tenure, the administration proposes that annual appraisals of progress may be combined with the narratives that accompany our annual evaluations.
  • For faculty who wish to appeal their annual evaluations, the administration proposes a two-step appeal process rather than the current three-step process. Currently, faculty may appeal their evaluations to (1) the “appropriate higher-level reviewer (dean or equivalent),” then (2) to the Vice President for Faculty Development and Advancement (presently Dr. Janet Kistner), and then we may (3) have that decision reviewed by the Provost (presently Dr. Jim Clark). The BOT proposes that we skip step (2) and appeal college-level decisions directly to the Provost or their designee.
  • And, finally, the BOT reinserted all the BOG-constructed language on Post-Tenure Review into the contract, despite the PERC Hearing Officer’s Recommended Order finding “the FSU-BOT committed an unfair labor practice by making unilateral changes to a mandatory subject of bargaining.” That unilateral change has reared its head again. The University maintains that they must follow whatever the BOG says, despite the fact that the BOG is not a party to our contract. Most egregiously, this language includes both double jeopardy for any faculty who have been subject to discipline (it can re-emerge during post-tenure review and lead to dismissal) and it allows faculty to be fired without due process. It does not allow for faculty input on the evaluation, leaving your fate mostly to your chair and your dean on their own, though the provost weighs in at the end, and it does not mention criteria for review or tie reviews to any prior evaluations, so the process is arbitrary. Your union is challenging this issue all over the state and will continue to fight this clear threat to tenure, both in the bargaining room and in the courts. Maintaining tenure matters to the entire university—its reputation, its ability to recruit good students and faculty, its research agenda, its ability to get grants, and its ability to maintain a climate conducive to academic freedom for all faculty.

Article 21 (Other Faculty Rights): Your faculty union bargaining team proposed the following improvements to our contract:

  • We specified that buildings where radon mitigation systems have been installed should be periodically inspected by a “Radon Mitigation Specialist certified by the Florida Department of Health.”
  • We proposed a joint labor-management committee to study “tangible and practicable measures for protecting faculty, staff, and students in classrooms, labs, libraries, and offices from armed aggressors…” and we specified that the University shall implement the plan no later than June 1, 2025. We acknowledge the need to study the issue before acting, but studies can be endless and we want to enforce a reasonable deadline for making improvements.
  • We tried to alleviate what appears to be an increasingly difficult parking situation by specifying that our faculty and staff parking permits will allow us “parking privileges to any unreserved parking space on campus, whether designated as faculty/staff or student.”

We will meet again to bargain on Wednesday, May 8 from 2:00–5:00 at the Training Center across from the stadium. Will we see the administration’s long-awaited response on salaries? Will we create a post-tenure review system that is less burdensome and perilous to faculty? Will we have more places to park our vehicles? Tune in via Zoom or come join us in person! (There’s actually plenty of parking there!) We’d love to hear your ideas about your contract. And we greatly appreciate your membership. If you haven’t yet joined, please do. Your membership helps us bargain a better contract and it helps us protect members by enforcing that contract vigorously.

In solidarity,

Michael Buchler, Professor of Music Theory, FSU College of Music

On behalf of your UFF-FSU Collective Bargaining Team

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