Dear FSU Colleagues,
This is the first bargaining update of the year, and we plan to continue to keep you updated on the status and progress of bargaining. Both the Board of Trustees (BOT) team and the UFF-FSU team hope that we can quickly come to an agreement this year. This will depend on the fairness of the offer and the financial resources of the University.
The BOT team asked that the UFF-FSU team make the first offer and that bargaining would start on Monday May 1, with meetings every Monday and Wednesday following that. The BOT team cancelled the first meeting, and so we will meet this Wednesday, May 3, from 2-5pm, at the FSU Training Center (493 Stadium Drive). These meetings are open to the public, and your physical presence at bargaining is appreciated and helpful. If you cannot make it to the Training Center, we will provide a live stream to faculty. Please email Brian Arsenault for a Zoom link.
This year we proposed to the BOT team that both parties waive their right to open articles other than salary. This keeps the contract stable for another year and allows us to concentrate on a single article. The full contract was open last year, and many changes were made, so time is needed to see how they work in practice. Thus, we will only be bargaining the salary article this year.
Since the bargaining session was cancelled, the UFF-FSU team emailed our first offer to the BOT team to help keep negotiations on schedule. In summary, this offer consisted of 5 parts.
- Promotion increases have been left at the level they have been for the last 10 years or so. Promotion to Associate Professor, or second rank at 12%, and promotion to Professor or top rank at 15%.
- Sustained performance increases have been changed from a 7 year cycle to a 5 year cycle to accommodate changes requested by the BOG for post tenure review. The first cycle shall include those who are in their 6th and 7th year of the cycle to accommodate this change.
- Merit increases retain the same eligibility requirements that are in the current contract and in two sections.
- Performance Increases are tied to the Consumer Price index increase from March 2022 to March 2023, which is currently established by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as 4.98%. This increment shall be effective on the start of the fiscal year for 12 month faculty and at the start of the semester for 9 month faculty.
- Departmental merit for the next fiscal year is set at 3% with the same eligibility and criteria as in the current contract.
- Deans’ merit is removed for the usual reason and past experience of the criteria for most deans is unstated, unclear, and arbitrary.
- Market Equity is changed to be implemented in September instead of late in the academic year. The amount of a total of $1 million for Market Equity is divided as $800,000 for tenure track faculty and $200,000 for specialized faculty in the 4:1 ratio that we have used in the past. The total market equity deficit as shown by the distribution from last year is approximately $18 million, so even this amount is way too small to eliminate our Market Equity issue in a reasonable time. A slight increase from last year may help us get close to having our faculty pay scale match the national average. The cap and floor on Market equity increases are left as in the current language.
- The cap on Administrative Discretionary Increases is set to 1%.
The full article with markup for changes is available on our website. We are stronger and able to negotiate because of our members. Please consider joining so that we may negotiate more effectively (or at all).
-Scott Hannahs – Specialized Faculty, Magnet Lab
-Jennifer Proffitt – Professor, Communication
The administration and UFF bargaining teams met this week and finalized contract provisions for 2020-2021, subject to approval by the bargaining unit in a secret ballot ratification vote.
Regarding Salaries, we arrived at a one-time bonus of $1,200. Recall that faculty also received a $1,500 raise that was negotiated last year and went into effect in August. Promotion raises remain at 12% and 15% and Sustained Performance Increases 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.
A big win for faculty is a Memorandum of Understanding about the Tuition Scholarship for Dependents/Spousesthat extends the existing scholarship program for dependents to include spouses and graduate, not just undergraduate, credit hours.
We agreed on several changes in Article 13, Layoffs, that represent major improvements. Whereas the original language offered wide latitude, for example by allowing a layoff unit to be any level of organization as the University deems appropriate, the new language is specific: “A layoff unit is an organizational unit such as a division, college, or department. The unit is defined as the tenure home or, in the case of specialized or non-tenure-track faculty, the administrative home, that the faculty member was hired into or transferred into. In addition, a layoff unit may be defined as an establishedoperational area or a subdivision of a tenure or administrative home, when the area/subdivision is comparable in most regards to a department.” We believe this specificity represents a major improvement.
As for layoff ordering, no faculty member without tenure who has more than 7 years of service may be laid off if there are faculty in the unit with 7 or fewer years, an increase from the former 5-year demarcation. In cases where faculty members are equally qualified, there is now a finite list of factors that can be considered. And whereas previously no tenured faculty member could be laid off in order to create a vacancy to be filled by an administrator, now such a move cannot be made regardless of the tenure status of the faculty member.
By mutual agreement no changes were made to the other opened articles, namely, Leaves, Benefits, and Conflict of Interest/Outside Activity.
Finally, we arrived at a Memorandum of Understanding on the COVID-19 Health Emergency that addresses workplace issues; teaching, research, and service assignments; and tenure and promotion.
Faculty need to vote to ratify these agreements, and we’ll send details soon. Ratification voting matters, and we hope you cast your secret ballot.
We also invite members to come to an online Bargaining Forum happy hour this evening at 5:00. Members have received an invitation and zoom link from UFF President Matthew Lata, but reply to this email if you want it resent.
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 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
The BOT’s salary proposal offers a $500 bonus, along with Promotion and SPI raises and 0.8 percent in Administrative Discretionary Increases. They proposed no increases to our base salaries, citing financial hard times. Though disappointing, this is hardly surprising given the current crisis.
As for Layoffs, we have made real progress on the key issue of defining “layoff unit,” and the BOT has accepted UFF’s definition of it being a faculty member’s tenure or administrative home, which is the unit they were hired into and that appears in the University’s official Bargaining Unit Member List. (In the case of a transfer out of the original hiring unit, the transfer must have been accomplished well before any layoff situation.) The teams are working on refining language that also allows a layoff unit to be an “established area” and agree that “area” not be interpreted to include the small intellectual-area-based groupings found in virtually all departments.
The discussion became heated around the BOT’s inclusion of having been disciplined as a consideration in choosing among otherwise equally-situated faculty. Indeed, in the list of acceptable considerations, it falls above teaching, research and service performance. We explained that discipline is a separate issue, covered by its own article in the CBA, and has no place as a reason to lay someone off. The implication is that the troublesome people rise to the top of the layoff list. Intentionally or not, including discipline as a reason adds fuel to the always-present speculation during a layoff that somehow the person deserved it.
Also heated was the discussion around the BOT proposal that the University will help with FSU re-employment only if the new job is “equivalent to the eliminated position.” We are unsure which flummoxed us more: the illogic or the callousness. Wouldn’t the equivalent job be the one they were laid off from, and wouldn’t that mean the layoff was ill-conceived? They offered no good reason for restricting the search very narrowly; the idea seems to not have occurred to them that financial exigency might impel someone to accept different employment at reduced wages. Is it too much to hope that HR might seize the opportunity to help faculty in such dire straits rather take the opportunity to put obstacles in their path?
Other issues remain unresolved, including how to factor in seniority, whether the article applies to non-renewed faculty, and whether the University should consider retirement buyouts and furloughs before resorting to layoffs.
We have two bargaining sessions coming up: Monday, August 24 at 2:00 to discuss Covid-19 Impact Bargaining and Wednesday August 26 at 2:00 to continue regular bargaining.
Bargaining sessions are open to faculty, and negotiations have benefited from the many faculty who have been coming to sessions. There is definitely strength in numbers, and we appreciate having you! If you would like to attend, please 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 evening at 5:00. Members (note that this event is only for members) have received an invitation and zoom link from UFF President Matthew Lata, but reply to this email if you want it resent.
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 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.Read More →