Bargaining Update – April 13, 2022

Dear Colleagues,  

The bargaining teams met last Wednesday to entertain two counter-proposals and one new proposal from the UFF team and a verbal proposal for a trade-off on two articles from the BOT team.  

The UFF began with a counter-proposal for Article 18 (Inventions and Works). This version removes salary as an element of the definition of “appreciable University support,” which is something the BOT team is seeking to insert. Salaries represent payment for work performed and shouldn’t be a consideration in determining whether the University owns a work or invention.  If it were, then what’s the incentive for bothering to apply for a patent or copyright?  This version made a concession by giving the University more time to inform the faculty member that it is seeking an interest in the work or to assert its interest in an invention. It also strikes language that defines an “independent effort” (in the case of inventions) as needing to be outside the faculty member’s field of expertise.  Finally, it changes the division of proceeds for  inventions owned by the University, such that the faculty member splits the proceeds 50/50 with the University, up from 40/60 in favor of the University. 

Then the UFF turned to its counter-proposal on Article 19 (Conflict of Interest).  The proposal added “reportable outside activity” as a defined category and made changes to the related Appendix the BOT had presented the previous week that itemizes reportable and non-reportable activity.  Our proposal also added the word “reportable” before most usages of “outside activity” to increase clarity. The topic turned to consensual sexual relationships with students, and the UFF offered a counter-proposal that categorizes as a conflict of interest sexual relationships that occur when the faculty member and student are in the same department or when a faculty member has supervisory or evaluative authority over a student in a different department.  It also allows the Provost to create an exemption and creates a carve-out for pre-existing relationships.  The teams engaged in a vigorous back-and-forth about why the UFF is adamant about not forbidding “romantic relationships.” The arguments were not new:  the UFF pointed out that defining romance is a fools’ errand and that the BOT’s attempts have fallen short, and moreover, what one party considers indicative of romance—and hence worthy of discipline—the other party may not.  The BOT pointed out that it wants to get ahead of any situation before it becomes a problem, and thus declaring romance off limits will reduce the chances of a relationship becoming harassment. The UFF team said that it, too, wants to reduce or eliminate harassment but that the BOT team is conflating consensual relationships—the ones covered in this Article—with ones that are not—and which are already covered in Article 6.   

The UFF next presented a proposal for Article 21 (Other Faculty Rights) that calls for the regular inspection of campus buildings, the installation and replacement as needed of high-efficiency filters, radon inspections and remediation, and mold/biological hazard inspections and remediation.  It also includes a sentence that permits a faculty member who is given a letter of counsel an opportunity to attach a response. 

The BOT team then offered a verbal proposal that the UFF team drop its proposal on Article 12 (Non-reappointment), where the UFF was seeking clearer language and a modified version of just-cause for non-renewal, in exchange for the BOT dropping its proposal on Article 8 (Appointments), where it was seeking to reduce the 4-year contracts for Specialized Faculty in the top rank. The UFF team will consider the deal.  

The next bargaining session is scheduled for this Wed., April 20, 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.  

Regular 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, 

Irene Padavic and Scott Hannahs, Co-Chief Negotiators, UFF-FSU 

Bargaining Update – April 6, 2022

Bargaining last Wednesday was a flurry of activity, with six proposals passed back and forth.  If you open the links below, be aware that the BOT team puts their counter-proposal changes in yellow.  

 The teams reached their first tentative agreement, on Article 5 (Academic Freedom), which now specifies that academic freedom pertains not only to matters outside faculty members’ area of scholarly interest but to those within it, as well.  It also adds “protected free speech” as one of the freedoms faculty members enjoy.  

The BOT presented a revised proposal of Article 19 (Conflict of Interest) which was the same as their previous one except that it includes an appendix itemizing reportable and non-reportable activity.  The UFF likes the specificity of an appendix and its counter-proposal will include one.  

The BOT also presented a counter-proposal on Article 18 (Inventions and Works) that accepts some of the UFF’s proposals but made changes that strike the UFF as unworkable in their present form, such as seeming to define “appreciable University support” to include salary, past and present.  

The UFF presented a counter-proposal on Article 8 (Appointments) that rejected the BOT’s proposal to reducethe 4-year contracts for Specialized Faculty in the top rank to 3 years and to provide for annual contract renewal.  Contract length is a bright-line issue for us.  When we originally negotiated the provisions covering specialized faculty appointments, the teams had made a deal:  the UFF would agree to a much more rigorous promotion process in exchange for lengthier contracts.  The rigorous promotion process ensures that faculty who reach the top have earned it, and thus it stands to reason that they should have more secure contracts.  It’s unclear why this state of affairs should change.   

The UFF also presented its Article 17 (Leaves) proposal, which turns the existing “paid parental leave” into “paid family leave” and specifies that a faculty member can use it twice in a career instead of just once.  The UFF believes that family-friendliness spans the life course; while some faculty will use paid family leave for birth or adoption, as they do now, others will find it useful for caring for a different relative, perhaps a parent.  And we believe that having the option twice over the course of a career is reasonable. 

The UFF also opened Article 12 (Non-reappointment) to improve clarity and to propose a modified version of just-cause for non-renewal. What that means is that for faculty without tenure, instead of the current practice of offering a vague reason, such as “the best interests of the University” or “the University is moving in a different direction,” the University would have to “provide enough specificity to allow a neutral reader to determine whether the faculty member was non-reappointed for good and sufficient reason.” Our goal in including such language is that it will reduce non-reappointments for arbitrary reasons.  

The next bargaining session is scheduled for this Wed., April 13, from 12:45-2:45.  Please note the earlier-than-usual 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 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, 

Irene Padavic and Scott Hannahs, Co-Chief Negotiators, UFF-FSU 

Spring 2022 Faculty Poll Results

In Spring 2022, 581 faculty members completed the UFF-FSU Faculty Poll.

  • 88% felt that across-the board raises for cost of living should be a high priority.
  • 45% said that the minimum across the board salary increase that would allow them to ratify the contract was what was needed to keep up with the current rate of inflation [7.9%, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics]
  • 44% felt that UFF should work towards advocating for retirement benefits (25% a lot, 19% all it can).
  • 78% opposed or strongly opposed legislation that would allow university presidential searches to be in secret.
  • 84% opposed or strongly opposed legislation that prohibits any speech in the classroom that “might make students uncomfortable” because of racial, LGBTQ+, or other issues that speech might engender.
  • 89% opposed or strongly opposed legislation that legislation to allow concealed carry permit holders to carry guns on campus.
  • 64% opposed or strongly opposed legislation that would require union members to annually reauthorize payroll dues deduction.
  • 68% agree or strongly agree that participation in faculty governance as an ethical obligation and engage accordingly.
  • 51% agree or strongly agree that assignments to teach online should be given only to faculty who volunteer to teach online.
  • 74% fell somewhat or very positive towards the UFF-FSU Chapter.

In the Comments:

  • Salary inversion and inflation are the largest two issues currently.
  • The growing inflation rate makes it imperative that the administration come through with funding raises to the base salary this year–not one-time bonuses
  • FSU should be part of the tuition exchange program, as is UF, https://www.tuitionexchange.org/ a great benefit for their employees.
  • We need safe working conditions.
  • Non-renewal without just cause should not be allowed.
  • Morale is at an all time low, I suspect there will be a brain drain given state government priorities, so its important for UFF to do what it can to prevent talented faculty from leaving the state.
  • To allow two faculty members to take leave for the same birth. Currently, spouses who work at FSU cannot both take parental leave at the same time. This is truly an inequity for spouses who both work at FSU.
  • Requiring public sector unions to have 50% in a right to work state is not desirable and needs to be defeated.
  • I hope that UFF-FSU is taking a strong stand on these legislative issues regarding academic freedom and speech.
  • We need to advocate for better pay and HR policies as relates to our staff colleagues.
  • SALARY IS ALL THAT MATTERS AT THIS POINT.

Survey Responses With Comments:

https://uff-fsu.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/UFF-FSU-Spring-2022-Faculty-Poll-Results-Post.pdf

Survey Responses Without Comments:

https://uff-fsu.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/UFF-FSU-Spring-2022-Faculty-Poll-Results-PostNoComments.pdf