Bargaining Update – August 14, 2021

Dear Colleagues,

This week’s Wednesday meeting between the UFF and Board of Trustees (BOT) teams was an “Impact Bargaining” session around the University’s Covid-related policies. To its credit, the FSU BOT is the only SUS institution willing to engage in Impact Bargaining so far.  The good news stops there, unfortunately.

The UFF had sent its proposal for an MOU earlier in the week, and we went over it at the beginning of the meeting.  Here’s the crux of it:

Individual faculty members teaching face-to-face may require a Covid-19 risk mitigation plan, which may include masks, social distancing, or vaccinations for students in their classes or office hours.  If a student chooses to not honor this request, the faculty member may elect to teach the course remotely. 

It also refers to an existing section of the CBA (5.4 d) specifying that faculty can cancel a class if a disruptive student poses a risk to personal safety or the safety of others.

The BOT’s response boils down to proposing no mitigation other than already-announced policy informing students they are expected to mask. It offers no help to the majority of instructional faculty who face real danger in packed classrooms and even office hours, which the BOT team breezily advised us can be offered in alternative locations, including outdoors.  As for classrooms, they offer no relief from worry. When pressed about their nonchalant orientation to faculty safety, the BOT team explained that they were following through on the Board of Governors’ months’-old policy of returning to pre-pandemic normal, with full classrooms meeting in face-to-face settings. Our pointing out the absurdity of acting as though the Delta variant hadn’t made earlier plans obsolete gained no traction.  

The University clearly has discretion over some policies—namely, the treatment of faculty with high-risk concerns.  One possible response is compassion, since it is within their power to permit remote work for faculty caring for high-risk family members, as the University permitted last year, or even to expand the options to include co-residence with an at-risk person. That is not how they see it.  Instead, the BOT team—made up mostly of HR employees—points to chairs and deans as the group to turn to, as though it is they, not HR, who decides who does and does not merit accommodations. Such deflection of responsibility is disingenuous. The BOT’s only other acknowledgment that high-risk faculty might need a hand is to point to the Americans with Disabilities Act, which merely provides a framework for accommodating employee health conditions but does not cover concerns related to caregiving.

Their offer adds no options that aren’t already available without a Memorandum of Understanding.

We spent a few minutes going over the UFF’s latest Salaries offer, which (along with raises), proposes a $5,000 bonus, as the BOT can use non-recurring funding for this purpose.

Next week we will meet remotely for Impact Bargaining on Tuesday, August17, at 3:00—note the atypical day and atypical start time.  We will turn to regular bargaining later in the session.  Forty-nine faculty members attended the last session, and we hope for a strong turnout the next time around, as well.

Bargaining Link (Tues, Aug. 17, 3:00):    https://fsu.zoom.us/j/93387209867

If you are a member of UFF, you are also welcome to our caucuses, which typically occur once or twice during bargaining and at its conclusion.

Caucus link (Tues., Aug 17, 3:00):  https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87805365154

We encourage you to show up. It makes a difference.   

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 – August 9, 2021

Dear Colleagues,

The UFF and Board of Trustees (BOT) teams met last Friday, August 6, to discuss Article 23 (Salaries).

The BOT offered to increase their bonus offer from $1,500 to $1,800.  We pointed out—again—the many reasons a raise would be in order, including that the University of Florida’s BOT team began negotiations by offering a 3% raise. No dice.  They went into detail about FSU’s budget simply not allowing us a raise. We asked if faculty salaries were even a priority to them.  The verbal answer was yes.  The facts indicate otherwise.

The good news is that the BOT team is willing to sign the MOU we proposed that allows Promotion raises and Sustained Performance Increases to go into effect next week.  So that’s a relief.

Next week we will meet remotely on Wednesday, August11, at 2:30—note the slightly later start time.  This session will be unusual in that the main substance will be Impact Bargaining about Covid-19 this fall (click here for the UFF proposal).  We will turn to regular bargaining later in the session. 

Bargaining Link:    https://fsu.zoom.us/j/97472039042

If you are a member of UFF, you are also welcome to our caucuses, which typically occur once or twice during bargaining and at its conclusion.

Caucus link:  https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84593356253

We encourage you to show up! We had a good number of people at this last session, and we believe it made a difference.    

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 – July 30, 2021

Dear Colleagues,

The UFF and Board of Trustees (BOT) teams met this past Wednesday, July 28, to discuss salaries and other outstanding articles. 

Over 50 faculty were there to see what “no shame” looks like when the BOT announced its salary offer:  a $1,500 bonus, representing an increase of $300 over their previous offer.  So we can afford yet another macchiato per week!  Not much there to help with the things we really care about, like student debt, mortgages, and putting food on the table for our families.

The UFF presented a Salaries counterproposal that left all our raise proposals in place but proposed $1,700 for bonus rather than $2,000.  Mind you, that bonus amount is contingent on the BOT accepting our other proposals for raises in Across-the Board, Merit, and Market Equity. 

We asked the BOT whether they were willing to take action on the MOU we proposed at our last session that would allow Promotion Raises and Sustained Performance Increases to go through without a delay, but they were not yet ready to answer. 

Seeing as how we have gotten no traction in trying to increase child or family leave provisions (in Article 17, Leaves) or to enable tapered employment as faculty approach retirement (Article 24, Benefits) or to get an actual raise (Article 23, Salaries), we proposed “status quo” on Conflict of Interest/Outside Activity, Article 19).  That means the article would remain as it was when bargaining began.

Next week we will meet remotely on Friday, August 6, at 2:00.  Here is the Zoom link: 

https://fsu.zoom.us/j/97353687538  We encourage you to show up!  Your presence makes a real difference.

If you are a member of UFF, you are also welcome to our caucuses, which typically occur once or twice during bargaining and at its conclusion.  Here is that link:  https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86158995086

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 – July 16, 2021

Dear Colleagues,

The UFF and Board of Trustees (BOT) teams met on Wednesday, July 14, to discuss salaries and other outstanding articles. 

We saw a tremendous turnout—45 faculty.  This perhaps flummoxed the BOT team, which sought to cancel the meeting.  The ostensible reason was the UFF’s announcement that we planned to record the public meeting.  We don’t understand the BOT’s reluctance to comply with Sunshine Laws—an excuse to cancel in the face of irritated faculty? An attack of shyness?—but the meeting continued nonetheless after two lengthy interruptions for BOT caucuses and after we offered to suspend our recording plan.

The UFF presented a counterproposal on Article 23 (Salaries) with somewhat lower across-the-board Increases (from 5% in our last offer to 4.5%, which is the latest inflation figure) and Merit Increases (from 2.5% to 2.25%).  We also proposed a Memorandum of Agreement to allow Promotion and Sustained Performance Increases to be implemented even if negotiations about other categories are on-going.

The teams then discussed the BOT’s counter-proposal on Article 19 (Conflict of Interest and Outside Activity). We continue to work together to hammer out a definition of “outside activity” but still don’t see eye-to-eye on consensual sexual relationships with students. 

The meeting ended on a positive note when the teams agreed to sign a Memorandum of Understanding to implement the Tuition Scholarship for Spouses and Dependents with a 25% increase in funding.

Although next week’s bargaining session had been planned for some time, the BOT team cancelled it.  Could it have something to do with the faculty turnout this time around? 

We will meet on Wednesday, July 28, from 2:00-4:00, and will send a link.  We encourage you to show up!  The ball is the BOT court to propose a salary counter-offer, so you should find it interesting!

Regular updates can be found at our webpage: https://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. https://uff-fsu.org/wp/join/

All best,

Irene Padavic and Scott Hannahs

Co-Chief Negotiators, UFF-FSU

Bargaining Update – July 9, 2021

Dear Colleagues,

The UFF and Board of Trustees (BOT) teams met on Wednesday, July 7, to hear the BOT’s counter-proposal on Article 23 (Salaries) and to discuss other outstanding articles. 

Did the pandemic upend your professional life and increase your workload?  Perhaps you were heartened by the Administration’s appreciative comments. And perhaps you expected some financial follow-through.  We know we did.  Silly us!  The BOT is offering almost no raises this year.  Virtually none.  Here’s a comparison of proposals.

 UFF-FSU proposalBOT proposalDescriptionNo. faculty receiving 2018Pct. of faculty receiving 2018
Promotions12%/15%12%/15%12% to associate or specialized II; 15% to full or specialized III1036.0%
SPI (Sustained Performance Increase)3%3%Septennial raise for faculty at the highest rank291.7%
Across-the-board raises5%0%   
Merit raises2.5%0%   
Market equity raises$3,000,000$0Supplement to faculty earning less than national averages for their position  
Bonus$2,000$1,200   

The BOT proposal offers raises to approximately 7.7% of faculty.  The rest get a $1,200 bonus, enough to buy a large Vanilla Macchiato every weekday to kick start our flagging motivation.

We are astounded and insulted.  Astounded because FSU’s April 24 “Legisletter” highlighted the $15 million funded request, partially for faculty salaries, following CBA requirements.  Insulted because this is the second year in a row of no across-the-board raises, a situation particularly galling because of the stupendous effort we put into meeting our students’ needs during the pandemic, keeping our departments and units afloat, and doing it without complaint.

It’s time to complain. The next bargaining session is scheduled for Wednesday, July 14, from 2:00–4:00We need you to show up to make it clear that faculty believe a fair day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay.  Coincidentally, that’s Bastille Day.  Show up and let your presence register your concern about the direction the BOT team is taking. .Here is the Zoom link:  https://fsu.zoom.us/j/96161024932

We also invite you to attend the UFF happy hour this Friday at 5:00 at World of Beer on Apalachee Parkway (the former Genghis Grill restaurant).  Bargaining team members will be present.

The bargaining session also entailed presenting the UFF’s latest proposal on Article 19 (Conflict of Interest) and the BOT’s proposal for an MOU on the Tuition Scholarship for Spouses and Dependents, which they continue to refuse to put in the CBA. 

Regular updates can be found at our webpage: https://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. https://uff-fsu.org/wp/join/

All best,

Irene Padavic and Scott Hannahs

Co-Chief Negotiators, UFF-FSU