Bargaining Update–July 20, 2022

The teams met Wednesday to present and discuss articles, but the most contentious issue was salaries. The BOT team presented their latest offer on Article 23 (Salaries), and the UFF team countered:

 BOTUFF
Performance (also called across-the-board)2.50%6.25%
Department Merit1.00%1.25%
Dean’s Merit1.00%0.15%
Market Equity$250,000$1.25 Million
Administrative Discretionary Increases (ADI)1.00%0.50%

While we were pleased to see the BOT team finally included some nominal funding for market equity raises, overall, the BOT team only increased their offer by 0.14% of the faculty salary base (they moved 0.25% from Dean’s Merit and added it to Performance; the 0.14% represents the addition of Market Equity).

After the UFF team presented a counteroffer, the BOT team scolded us, declaring that they started with “a robust number” (please see the BOT’s first offer here) and that the two teams were not going to meet in the middle of the UFF team’s original proposal and the BOT team’s original counteroffer. The BOT team also stated that their offer is the most “generous” offer that they have made in recent years. Well, yes, it is better than the zero offered for Performance and other raises for the last two years, which is why faculty expect and deserve a higher salary proposal. The BOT team once again made it clear that their priority is Dean’s Merit, and we made it clear that Performance and Market Equity raises are the faculty’s priorities (as expressed in the spring 2022 UFF-FSU faculty poll). As one of the 30-plus faculty members on the Zoom call stated regarding the BOT’s focus on Dean’s Merit, “The idea is to reward the ‘superstars’ and leave the rest of us scrambling for crumbs.” Another faculty member noted, “EVERYONE experiences increases in cost of living. Picking and choosing is not appropriate.”

As noted in the last bargaining update, President McCullough and the Board of Trustees have stated publicly that retention is important. The focus on Dean’s Merit suggests that only certain faculty members are worth retaining. Some faculty members will benefit from the discretionary nature of Dean’s Merit while others will not as the administration picks winners and (mostly) losers. In the most recent two years in which Department Merit and Dean’s Merit were offered (2017 and 2018), roughly 80% of faculty received Department Merit while only about 26% received Dean’s Merit. Without criteria, we don’t know how your dean determined that one faculty member is more deserving than another. We have warned the administration that we are about to witness the Great Resignation firsthand, as faculty across campus are updating their resumes and CVs to search for other positions. Without meaningful Performance raises, retention becomes much more challenging, and compression and inversion become more difficult to overcome.

The BOT team said that they are nearing their salary limit, so now is the time for faculty to show that they want a more meaningful salary offer by attending the next bargaining session scheduled for Wednesday, July 27, from 2-5 (information regarding location can be found below). If it is at all possible, please attend in person and encourage your colleagues to attend in person as well. Having faculty in the room is an effective and visible way to support the UFF team’s position. Having faculty members attend via Zoom also helps because we do let them know how many faculty attend virtually, but your physical presence sends a powerful message that we are all in this together.

A big thank you to the faculty who have attended in person and virtually these last few weeks. Please continue to do so!

Another way to show the BOT team that a more meaningful salary offer is needed is by signing the petition that will be sent out Monday in a separate email. Please consider signing it and encouraging your colleagues to sign it as well. We are asking the administration to propose meaningful Performance raises that demonstrate that they value all faculty members who meet or exceed “FSU’s High Expectations” (CBA Article 10.3).

As we noted in the last update, because both teams do agree on the continuation of Promotion Increases and of Sustained Performance Increases, the UFF team proposed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to ensure that these increases become effective for those faculty in August. The BOT added a “poison pill”—a provision that would also reinstate the BOT’s now-expired authority to grant discretionary raises to individuals. The ability to withhold this authority from the BOT—and your visible support–are the most significant leverage the UFF faculty team holds in these negotiations.  We offered the MOA once again without the “poison pill” and hope that the BOT team will reconsider so that faculty will receive these raises that they have earned and deserve on time.

The BOT team presented a counteroffer for Article 12 (Non-Reappointment). We appear to be close to an agreement, but the sticking point is the amount of notice a faculty member on “soft money” who is not on a multi-year contract should receive if they are not being reappointed. We presented a counter proposing longer notice, and we eagerly await the BOT’s response.

The UFF team’s counter to Article 19 (Conflict of Interest/Outside Activity) included time limits for reporting and notification and a provision requiring clear and convincing evidence if discipline is beyond a letter of reprimand. The BOT countered without a specific time frame for notifying a faculty member that there will be an investigation and without the clear and convincing evidence provision. The BOT team noted that the just cause provision in Article 16 (Disciplinary Action and Job Abandonment) already provides a procedure for disciplinary action, but that they would consider a time frame for notification that is longer than the one week that we had proposed.

As noted, the next bargaining session is scheduled for Wed., July 27 from 2:00-5:00. Our union’s efforts at the bargaining table are most effective when faculty support is evident, so if you care about salaries, please come! 

Bargaining sessions are open to all faculty. Meetings are face-to-face at the FSU Training Center (493 Stadium Drive).  If you would like to attend remotely, please contact Arash Fahim <arashfahim@gmail.com> to receive the Zoom link. (Alternatively, if you retained a previous bargaining Zoom link, it will still work.)

Regular bargaining updates and the entire CBA can be found under “UFF At Work” 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/

Bargaining Update–May 4, 2022

Dear Colleagues,

The bargaining teams met Wednesday to discuss one new proposal and one counter proposal from the BOT and two UFF counter proposals.  

We first discussed the BOT’s new proposal regarding Article 10 (Performance Evaluations). On first viewing, our team did not see any major changes but rather small clarifications, such as distinguishing between Tenure Review Reports and annual reviews before tenure. However, we plan to look at the language carefully to make sure we are not missing anything before we counter.

We then turned to UFF’s counter proposal on Article 18 (Inventions and Works). UFF proposed clarifying language regarding the definition of “Appreciable University support” to not include negligible use of basic resources (such as email or an office phone). UFF also removed the term “field of expertise” and similar terms in favor of “institutional expertise” to make clear that University ownership claims would be limited to areas in which the faculty member is employed. After reviewing the contracts of other state university system collective bargaining agreements, UFF proposed retaining the status quo language regarding the division of proceeds between the University and the inventor so that it would remain a 60/40 split.

The second UFF counter proposal we discussed was for Article 19 (Conflict of Interest). Because, as noted, “field of expertise” is difficult to determine, UFF proposed instead a definition of “institutional expertise” to mean more specifically “a faculty member’s specialization in teaching, research, clinical, or creative activity at the University.” UFF also replaced the worrisome language regarding the definition of “Conflict of Interest” with language based in statute defining conflict of interest as “a situation in which regard for a private interest leads to disregard of a public duty or interest,” and UFF added unequivocal language stating that such conflict of interest shall not “abridge faculty members’ rights to academic freedom and freedom of expression guaranteed in Article 5.” UFF also proposed revisions to reportable and non-reportable activity in the new Appendix K. UFF deferred its counter proposal to the BOT’s proposed language regarding consensual sexual relationships with students until a later date.

We were pleased to see that the BOT’s counter proposal for Article 21 (Other Faculty Rights) largely accepted UFF’s new proposal that campus buildings be regularly inspected to ensure the safety of students, faculty, and staff. This includes replacing filters for air handling units according to manufacturers’ guidelines, regular radon testing, and inspections for mold and other biological hazards every four years. The BOT also agreed to notify faculty if remediation is needed for radon, mold, and other biological hazards in their buildings. Where the teams differed was in the details regarding the types of filters that will be used, which UFF clarified in its counter proposal. We think that the teams are very close to an agreement, and we are happy and relieved that the BOT agreed to address our proposal and concerns regarding campus building safety.

The next bargaining session is scheduled for Wed., May 11, from 2:30-5:00.  Please note the later-than-usual start time. 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 bargaining 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/

All best,

Jennifer Proffitt, Vice President and Bargaining Team member, UFF-FSU