The BOT and UFF teams met on Wednesday to exchange counter-proposals.
The UFF opened the session by presenting a counter-proposal on Article 8 (Appointment). While we are unwilling to reduce the 4-year contracts for Specialized Faculty in the top rank or make it easier to curtail their employment, we made a counter-proposal on limiting the summer-teaching compensation for highly-paid faculty. In our counter, if a College imposes a cap, it must apply to all departments in the College and would not be below 125% of the average compensation rate for all faculty members with teaching responsibilities in each department. This language is an improvement on the BOT’s original proposal by setting the cap at 125% rather than 100% and by not allowing deans to cherry-pick which departments must implement caps and which will be spared. The vast majority of faculty would see no diminution in their summer pay.
The UFF then presented a counter-proposal on Article 19 (Conflict of Interest). Whereas the BOT proposal prohibits all sexual or “romantic” relationships between faculty and students anywhere in the University, we proposed restricting sexual relationships when both parties are in the same department, even if the faculty member has no supervisory or evaluative role. The logic is that the respect and trust accorded faculty members by students, as well as the power exercised by the faculty members in their department role, render consent suspect. Existing provisions restricting cross-department relationships in cases where a faculty member has supervisory or evaluative authority over a student would remain in place. We also said that we cannot agree to prohibiting romantic relationships in the absence of a definition, and we looked forward to hearing about examples from case precedent of such language, which the BOT team had said they would bring to this meeting.
For their part, the BOT had no such language to present, nor did they have responses to our proposals seeking better paid parental leave, a new paid family leave, and the instantiation of the Spousal and Dependent Scholarship Program into the contract. Ditto on a counter-proposal on our “tapered employment” proposal.
The BOT team had, however, created a chart depicting their estimate of the cost of implementing the UFF’s proposed tapered employment program. The UFF questioned the assumptions underlying the chart and created an alternative one that depicted a far lower cost. We also presented data from UWF, where the University is picking up the health care costs of faculty who moved into phased retirement. The BOT team said they would duly consider the alternative chart and noted that, as of yet, the UWF program has gotten few takers.
The session concluded with the UFF team stating that the counter-proposals we offered are contingent on seeing some corresponding positive movement on the proposals we put forward.
The next bargaining session is scheduled for Wed., May 19, 2:00-5:00.
For as long as faculty have bargaining rights, we will continue to press for faculty interests.
Bargaining sessions are open to faculty, and negotiations in the past have benefited from faculty attendance. There is definitely strength in numbers, and we appreciate having you! If you would like to attend, please respond to this message and we will send you the Zoom link.
Regular updates can be found at our webpage: https://uff-fsu.org/
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Irene Padavic and Scott Hannahs, Co-Chief Negotiators, UFF-FSU