The administration and UFF bargaining teams met August 1 and finalized contract provisions for the three-year contract covering 2019-2022, subject to approval by the bargaining unit in a secret ballot ratification vote. Since it was a “full book” contract—which means that all articles and appendices were open, although the teams limited their bargaining to only 24—the negotiations were extensive.
These contract revisions include several advances for faculty. In particular, we are pleased to have replaced second- and fourth-year tenure-track reviews with a single third-year review, fended off attempts to cut University-sponsored retiree benefits, maintained last year’s novel tuition scholarships for dependents, included first-time language about summer research and service appointments, clarified that filling out a conflict of interest/outside activity form is necessary only if a faculty member anticipates such activities, and removed the Severability article and thereby protected the CBA if political decisions at the state or federal levels were to seek to diminish the faculty rights it upholds.
Below is a summary of all the changes. In the near future, we will send links to the articles described below along with details on the ratification vote.
Regarding Article 23, Salaries, the tentative agreement specifies a one-time bonus for 2019-2020 of $1,500 for all faculty with an overall annual evaluation of at least “meets FSU’s high expectations” on their latest annual performance evaluation. The language includes a “trigger” stipulating that if FSU’s legislative appropriation for several categories of E&G funding is higher than a specified amount, the bonus will become permanent. We’ll keep our eye on Legislative activity, which beings in January this year. Promotion raises will remain at 12% for promotion to the second-level rank and 15% for promotion to the top rank, and Sustained Performance Increases will remain at 3%. Administrative Discretionary Increases, used for increased duties, extraordinary accomplishments, counteroffers, and certain other reasons specified in Sec. 23.9, are allowable up to 0.80% of the faculty salary base.
Several other articles were negotiated and tentatively agreed to as follows.
Article 8, Appointments. Agreed-upon language describes the procedure for granting funding for Summer Research and Service, which had previously not been in the CBA.
Article 9, Assignment of Responsibilities. This article now ensures that faculty with concurrent appointments should have all supervisors agree on their AORs, and also it addresses a couple of instructional technology issues: Faculty developing distance-learning courses may receive course-equivalent development time, depending on the effort of development and the resources available, and a course offered with both conventional classroom and distance delivery will be counted as separate sections (unless the distance mode is only streaming classroom sessions).
Article 10, Performance Evaluations. This article underwent several changes. Three small changes involve removing a date specifying a 2013 deadline, removing a redundancy in the reporting procedures, and clarifying the procedure for an appeal. Other changes were more substantive. Faculty members who do not turn in an Evidence of Performance Report (after the lapse has been pointed out to them) may receive a “Does not Meet FSU’s High Expectations” evaluation. The options a supervisor has for assisting faculty members improve performance are now clearly laid out (ranging from informal coaching to creating a formal Performance Improvement Plan [PIP]). In the case of a PIP for a tenured faculty member, the trigger is now three or more “Does not Meet” evaluations over the course of six, rather than seven, years. Language also now clarifies that merit evaluations may include multiple years of performance, depending on a department/unit’s bylaws. Finally, the teams struck the Sustained Performance Evaluation, since it is unnecessary in distributing Sustained Performance Increases and had no other function.
Article 14, Promotion. Language was changed to reflect the switch from a second- and fourth-year review to a third-year review for tenure-track faculty (see Article 15, below), and the word “annual” was placed before “progress for promotion letters” to clarify documents used in making promotion decisions for all faculty. New language specifies that faculty on promotion committees may not cast a vote on behalf of someone else (although casting an email vote on one’s own behalf is acceptable unless prohibited by a department/unit’s bylaws).
Article 15, Tenure. The teams agreed to move from a second- and fourth-year review to a third-year review (with provisions for faculty who already have had a second-year review), to allow exceptions for credit for prior service to be approved by the Provost, to allow faculty to rescind an extension of the tenure clock, and to prohibit a faculty member from casting a ballot on behalf of an absent faculty member.
Article 17, Leaves. The Parental Leave policy now specifies that the leave may begin as early as the start of the semester of the birth or adoption (for instructional faculty) or up to three months beforehand (for non-instructional faculty), although it may not begin more than six months after the event. Language now stipulates that the leave will not be extended to Visiting or Provisional faculty and that it may not be used directly before or after sabbaticals, professional development leave, or leave without pay (whereas before it had simply said “other leaves,” which was ambiguous). The section on Compulsory Leave now includes disability among the reasons that the President, Provost, or delegate (previously just the “President or representative”) may require an examination by a medical provider in cases where a faculty member is unable to perform assigned duties.
Article 19, Conflict of Interest. The teams agreed to two changes. Language now clarifies that faculty have to sign a form only if they anticipate having a conflict of interest or compensated outside activity, and a new section stipulates that faculty cannot serve in direct teaching or supervisory roles for students who are relatives (defined in the article), unless approved by the Provost.
Article 20, Grievances. The teams agreed to broaden the scope of grievances by allowing the UFF chapter to file grievances and to extend the period of retroactivity in an arbitrator’s award from 30 to 60 days.
Article 21, Other Faculty Rights. The article now states that faculty members’ safety is important and that the University will provide emergency safety training on request and will take reasonable precautions to ensure safety from armed aggressors.
Article 24, Benefits. The teams agreed to delete a section on phased retirement that had been made obsolete by changes in state retirement regulations.
Article 29, Severability. The teams agreed to delete this article, which had included provisions specifying that any CBA provision could be rendered invalid if legislation contradicted it or if it would cause the University to lose federal funding. With this change, if the federal government were to seek changes by threatening to withhold federal funds, CBA protections would nevertheless still be in force.
Article 30, Amendment and Duration. New language clarifies when the current contract ends and the new one begins.
Article 32, Definitions. Several changes were made to bring this article up to date, including adding a definition of Specialized Faculty.
Appendix H, Assignment Dispute Resolution. New language clarifies language and timelines.
Appendix I, Criteria and Procedures for Promotion and Tenure. The teams agreed to language stating that the criteria for early tenure will be the same as for tenure, that members of tenure and promotion committees may not cast a vote on behalf of another faculty member, and that “tenure review reports,” rather than “second- and fourth-year reports” are the required documents.
Memorandum of Understanding on Tuition Scholarships for Dependents. The teams agreed to allocate $60,000 to continue last year’s pilot program that provides undergraduate tuition for up to six credit hours per semester to faculty children who are enrolled in at least 15 hours at FSU. Children are eligible even if they are enrolled in Florida Prepaid Tuition or are recipients of Bright Futures scholarships.
By mutual agreement no changes were made to some opened articles, namely Articles 2 (Consultation), 12 (Non-Reappointment), 18 (Inventions and Works), 22 (Sabbaticals), Appendix G (Salary Notification), and Appendix J (Criteria and Procedures for Promotion of Specialized Faculty).
Both the BOT and the UFF-FSU teams worked hard this year, with 20 meetings, each lasting 3 hours, over the course of the spring and summer. Many hours of preparation in the fall term also went into these negotiations. The UFF-FSU bargaining team comprised Scott Hannahs and Irene Padavic, co-chief negotiators, and Michael Buchler, Joe Clark, Jack Fiorito, Robin Goodman, Nancy Kellett, and Tom Wazlavek.
Our ability to bargain a strong contract depends on YOU! The more members we can point to, the greater our strength at the bargaining table. Raises and the preservation of faculty rights are not gifts from the administration but rather are the result of good-faith and persistent bargaining. Join here: https://uff-fsu.org/wp/join/
Irene Padavic and Scott Hannahs, Co-Chief Negotiators, UFF-FSU