The BOT and the UFF teams met Monday and are pleased to announce that we have reached agreement on a Memorandum of Understanding on the COVID-19 Health Emergency. It took months of hard work, but both teams support the result. You can read the agreement here.
Some notable elements:
- Straightforward language allows faculty members to work remotely as long as their duties can be accomplished remotely; faculty with high-risk concerns who must report to campus can request a modification that may require medical documentation.
- Faculty may cancel class in the case of safety violations or unclean classrooms.
- The University’s telecommuting policy (at the heart of the kerfuffle about not being allowed to care for children while working remotely) does not apply to faculty whose job duties do not require them to be on campus full time during normal business hours.
- Twelve-month faculty members may roll over an additional 80 hours of annual leave to the next year, effectively saving it for later use.
- Several provisions concerning teaching and research that we agreed to in the spring will continue, including the option of excluding SPCI in evaluation materials; the stipulation that the rules applying to course-content ownership also apply of newly-online courses; the acknowledgement that annual evaluations, progress towards promotion/tenure reviews, and promotion/tenure reviews should take into account the reduction in faculty members’ ability to conduct or present their scholarship; and the continuation of the policy of automatically extending the tenure clock.
We are engaging in regular bargaining this week on Wednesday, September 2, at 2:00, on the remaining open articles: Layoffs, Salaries, Leaves, and Conflict of interest/Outside activity.
Bargaining sessions are open to faculty, and negotiations have benefited from the many faculty members who have been attending. We appreciate having you! If you would like to attend, respond to this message and we will send you the links when we receive them.
We also invite members to come to an online Bargaining Forum happy hour this Friday at 5:00. Members will receive an invitation and zoom link from UFF President Matthew Lata.
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/
Irene Padavic and Scott Hannahs, Co-Chief Negotiators, UFF-FSU
On Wednesday, the BOT and the UFF teams met, and the UFF took the occasion to remind the BOT that our 2019 negotiations called for making last year’s $1,500 bonus a permanent base pay increase if certain budget conditions were met, which they were. We were pleased the next day to see President Thrasher’s email announcing the raise, and are proud of having negotiated the language that made the raise a reality.
During the session, we reviewed the BOT’s proposed revisions to the Covid-19 Memorandum of Understandingand are unhappy to report that negotiations are going backwards. Language both teams had agreed to in the spring MOU and had remained intact in BOT’s early August proposal is gone, replaced with language that removes faculty autonomy. Here’s an example:
BOT’s earlier language: “During the emergency period, faculty members shall be permitted to work remotely, provided that the assigned duties are able to be accomplished remotely.”
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On Thursday, the BOT and FSU bargaining teams met for the second session of the week, this time to discuss the UFF proposal on Article 13 Layoff and Recall. You can read the proposal here.
The key issue is the definition of “layoff unit,” and the UFF has proposed that it be a person’s tenure or administrative home, which is the unit a faculty member was hired into, which appears in the University’s official Bargaining Unit Member List. If a person has transferred into a different unit, the transfer must have been accomplished well before any layoff situation. A layoff unit may also be a subdivision of a tenure or administrative home that comprises an established area or school.
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This is a busy week for bargaining, and on Monday the BOT and the UFF team met for Impact Bargaining regarding the Covid-19 Pandemic. We will meet again this Thursday at 10:00 to discuss Layoffs and possibly Impact Bargaining, as well.
The UFF team had made an initial Impact Bargaining proposal a couple of weeks ago, the BOT responded, and on Monday the UFF presented its response, which you can read here. This version shows the BOT language (blue) and the latest UFF language (red). Yellow highlighting shows wording that the teams had agreed to in the Spring MOU.
Our proposal differs from the BOT’s in two main ways. The first is that we want all faculty members working remotely to have the explicit right to take care of their children and dependents during the emergency. Their language had elided the issue, simply stating that faculty working remotely should establish a schedule so that they may meet their work obligations and their family obligations. The second is that for faculty who must report to work, we want exemptions for those with a health vulnerability or who are caring for or living with someone who has a health vulnerability. Their language had pointed to a series of modifications faculty who have “high-risk concerns” may request, including remote work, options for physical distancing, alternative work locations, reassignment, modified or flexible schedules, and/or the use of personal leave. The problem as we see it is that whereas a faculty member might seek remote work, the administration might instead permit, for example, only physical distancing and personal leave. Their wording also leaves unclear what constitutes a “high-risk concern,” whereas we would like a clear statement that includes living with a person with a health vulnerability.
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We have two bits of news to report from this week’s bargaining. The main topic was the BOT’s counterproposal on Article 13, Layoffs. The teams also agreed to sign a Memorandum of Agreement guaranteeing that Promotion increases and Sustained Performance Increases will go through in early August, regardless of the status of on-going negotiations.
Guaranteed Promotion and SPI raises are great news that will allow many faculty to heave sighs of relief. Unfortunately, the BOT proposal on the Layoffs and Recall article will not have the same effect.
You can find that proposal here. While this document does not show changes from the UFF’s most recent proposal because the BOT did not use traditional legislative markup style (track changes), we will provide that version upon request. It’s clear that the BOT responded to none of our proposals but instead rewrote the article from scratch to include only their desired terms. Below we summarize three key differences between the BOT proposal and the language that has been in place for years.
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