Bargaining update 1/10/24

Dear Colleagues,

We need to hear from you!

As you know, we have been in the process of bargaining with the administration over post-tenure review. The administration is implementing a policy that will end tenure as we know it at FSU. Though President McCullough told us in his “State of the University” address on 29 November that, “we’ve worked really hard… at trying to make sure that post-tenure review looks very similar to our 7-year reviews” and that very little will actually change, we see it differently. As the administration is insisting on including termination in the policy, post-tenure review will mean the end of tenure. In fact, the administration’s proposal is giving chairs, deans, and the provost arbitrary authority to decide over whether you can keep your tenure. We need you to respond and tell us what you think (if you’ve got a comment or suggestion, our emails can be found at the end of this message).

The most essential thing you can do is join us. The UFF is alone in defending tenure and the protections it brings with it — most importantly, academic freedom — in the face of enormous political attacks. While the UFF is involved in multiple litigations to protect your rights, the administration does not have your backs. If the union is decertified, tenure most likely will disappear with it.

We are currently within spitting distance of achieving the 60% membership that we need to stay certified. If you join today, you may be the hero who pushes us over the line.

Major disagreements still exist:

The BOT team refuses to accept language that promises any boost to base salary. This is alarming. They have agreed to a “monetary” award, but, under their proposal, that could be a small one-time bonus, and whether the award is a bonus or a boost to base salary could fluctuate from year to year. Though the president said that post-tenure review would be “a reward system for our faculty who are doing a great job,” if they get their way on this you might only get the raise you deserve if you happen to be reviewed in a year when the administration decides magnanimously to allot money for post-tenure raises, regardless of how successful you have been.

The BOT did not accept the language in our proposal that asserts:

·      The dean or Provost shall not assign the faculty member a rating that is inconsistent with the last five years of annual evaluations.

This surprised us. Throughout the process, the BOT team has been assuring us that there would be no surprises. But their resistance to this language suggests that the administration wants more flexibility in order to overturn past annual evaluations conducted by faculty evaluation committees and chairs and possibly terminate you.

The other disagreements that we’ve been having since the start persist: they insist that post-tenure review could lead to termination for not following “applicable regulations and laws” even though we know how confusing, vague, incoherent, and at times contradictory recent legislation on higher education has been, and most of us are not qualified to interpret these laws, particularly on-the-fly in the classroom.

They also insist that discipline should be folded into post-tenure review when investigatory findings have been substantiated, meaning that you could find yourself having to face further consequences for a disciplinary case that has been closed.

They are demanding that SPCI teaching evaluations be included, even though the contract language says that SPCIs alone are not sufficient to evaluate teaching. They tried to justify this by claiming that we have a one-page summary of accomplishments where we can justify anything that looks like a problem in the SPCIs. Those of you who have already prepared and submitted your post-tenure review: had you even considered that you were supposed to include explanations of your teaching evaluations in your list of accomplishments? We certainly hadn’t, and we don’t know of any departments that advised faculty to write about SPCI ratings in their one-page summary. 

Most mind-boggingly, the BOT team is insisting that the 5-year post-tenure review should encompass six years, some of them pre-tenure. On the one hand, they tell us they need to abide by what the BOG regulation tells them, but expanding the window of assessment willy-nilly goes far afield even of the BOG’s overreach.

We believe that post-tenure review is redundant: we are reviewed every year for our accomplishments, and the administration already has plenty of tools for disciplining wrongdoing. All that post-tenure review will do is to allow the administration a second chance to go after you in an evaluation procedure that might not have anything to do with the annual review process, its outcomes, or your accomplishments.

We believe that the materials and process should be as clear as possible to the faculty member and the outcome should not differ from the last five years of annual evaluations. The BOT team’s reason for not accepting our offer is that the Board of Governors regulations do not allow them to. We continue to maintain that the BOG is not party to this negotiation and cannot dictate contract provisions by fiat. That position is being tested in a current case before the Public Employees Relation Commission (PERC).

The next round of negotiations is not scheduled yet, but we are already preparing our next proposal. We would really like some advice from you about how to proceed. Please feel free to respond to this message, and we encourage you to attend bargaining sessions if you can.

In the meantime, if you are not already a UFF member in good standing (paying dues via eDues or by check), we hope you’ll join or rejoin our faculty union and help protect the very existence of our contract. If we don’t reach 60% membership density by January 26, we simply won’t have a contract to defend. Please join now. It only takes a minute. Here’s the link:  

Robin Goodman ([email protected]), UFF-FSU Bargaining Team Member, on behalf of 

Scott Hannahs, Specialized Faculty ([email protected]), and Jennifer Proffitt, Professor ([email protected]), Bargaining Team Co-Chairs 

Statement from FSU Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Advisory Board

This is the statement written by the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) Advisory Board in response to the university’s Remote Work policy and Repopulation plan. Though the university at first told the Board that they had to take their statement down from their own website, it has approved this revised version and now it also appears on their website.

Statement from Members of Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies Advisory Board on Remote Working, Caring and Equity. 

COVID-19 has laid bare existing social, economic and racial inequities and injustices in the United States, and in our institutions of Higher Education. Grave gender disparities in the average distribution of caregiving work have been documented, while job security and the right to work remotely, ensuring safety and convenience, are opportunities afforded only to the most privileged. FSU’s recent announcement that “effective August 7, 2020, the University will return to normal policy and no longer allow employees to care for children while working remotely” presents a threat to the physical, emotional and job security of the university’s employees. This threat is felt most urgently by the lowest-paid members of staff, who are disproportionately female-identifying and/or BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color). 

We acknowledge that an HR Town Hall on Wednesday July 1 and an announcement Thursday July 2 apologized for the timing of the initial announcement, which coincided with an on-going surge in Coronavirus cases locally and state-wide, and for any confusion and distress arising as a result of that. At the Town Hall Kyle Clark clarified that if Leon County schools do not reopen physically or open later than the planned start date of August 10, then the remote working whilst caring for children policy will continue until they do reopen. The July 2 announcement stated that “We want to be clear – our policy does allow employees to work from home while caring for children;” however, the policy itself is problematic and iniquitous. 

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