Bargaining Update: May 10, 2023

FSU Colleagues,

On Wednesday afternoon the UFF-FSU and BOT bargaining teams met for 3 hours.  The session came very close to a final agreement but ended up on a somewhat tense and acrimonious note.

To make a good-faith move to meet the BOT, the UFF-FSU started out proposing a Performance Increase that is somewhat less than the rate of inflation.  In partial compensation for this, we proposed a floor or a minimum amount to help offset the impact of inflation on our lowest paid faculty.  This minimum was ignored and deleted through several rounds of bargaining as we lowered it, trying to come to agreement.  This minimum has an easily calculable effect, and the extra cost is negligible in a year where FSU did so well in the legislature and “got everything we asked for”.  One of the things that the president is required to request each year is adequate funding for hiring and retention of faculty.

Again, we attempted to hold the Deans’ Discretionary Merit category to a small amount or zero it out; however, it became obvious that funding this category was a high priority to the BOT team.  We feel that this is a “waiver,” or a surrender of a mandatory subject of bargaining to total administrative discretion without any faculty input. The UFF-FSU team felt that if the BOT was requesting a significant amount and a significant concession, then it should have some guardrails on its implementation.  The proposed amount of the Deans’ Discretionary Merit increase is reduced from last year’s 0.5% of the faculty salary base to 0.3% this year. The UFF-FSU team proposed that the trigger where a dean would need to write a justification for a Deans’ Discretionary Merit raise be reduced from required for anyone receiving a deans merit raise of 5% or more to required for anyone receiving a 3%-or-more increase.   In addition, our objection to the Deans’ Discretionary Merit category is that it does not accomplish the objective of rewarding merit.  If there is no definition of what merit is, then faculty are left clueless as to what they should do to earn merit.  This is similar to a game of blindperson’s bluff where one is trying to reach a goal but has no idea what or where that goal is.  Thus, the deans responsible for allocating a substantial amount of funds for raises, should at least communicate to the faculty the criteria used for that allocation.  In the past only 15% to 20% of the funds in deans’ discretionary merit have gone to Specialized Faculty and this bias also needs to be justified.

The BOT team did offer an increase to $1 million in the Market Equity category.  Since this category also addresses the impact of inflation on faculty, we gratefully accept this as a partial offset to having Performance Increases be less than inflation.

We presented an offer accepting the BOT’s numbers with the guard ails discussed above.  The BOT team focused on the raw numbers and not the issues.  In their next counteroffer, the BOT team accepted the numbers with all conditions eliminated, suggesting that this was as far as they were willing to bargain.  We countered by reducing the floor such that it met them halfway in cost and reduced the reporting required of deans.  At this, the BOT team berated us for proposing language changes at the last minute and for proposing salary increases that they are unable to calculate.  We do not agree that the calculations are complicated or onerous. As preparation for bargaining, the UFF-FSU team had constructed a simple spreadsheet to calculate costs in real time during negotiations.

We reject both argument that the language is last minute and that the change is difficult to calculate.  Language setting floors on increases has been discussed in the past, as a way to reach agreement and was present for the entire day’s bargaining session.   We believe that the changes in the amounts mandate changes in the language governing how the money is to be distributed in order to ensure transparency and accountability as well as fairness. The BOT team left the meeting with the statement that they were unsure what to do and if they should continue negotiations.

A Summary Table of the final offer and counteroffer for 5/10/2023 is provided below.  As you can see, we have come very close to an agreement, with only about $175,000 difference in total cost (roughly 0.09% of the bargaining unit faculty salary base.

Summary Table
CategoryBOT OfferUFF-FSU Counteroffer
Promotions12% / 15%12% / 15%
SPI (Sustained Performance Increase)3.00%3.00%
With a minimum increase of $2,500
Department Merit0.75%0.75%
Dean’’ Discretionary Merit0.30%Deans’ merit increases that are more than 5% of the faculty member’s base salary shall require written justification from the Dean.0.30%Deans’ merit increases that are more than 53% of the faculty member’s base salary shall require written justification from the Dean. The deans shall inform all faculty in their college/school/unit of the precise criteria to be used for determining distribution of deans’ merit.
Market Equity$1,000,000
Divided $800,000 for tenured and tenure-track faculty, $200,000 for specialized faculty
Divided $800,000 for tenured and tenure-track faculty, $200,000 for specialized faculty
Administrative Discretionary Increase Up to 1.00%Up to 1.00%
Note:  Amounts for Performance, Department Merit, Deans’ Discretionary Merit, and Administrative Discretionary Increase are expressed as a percent of the salary base for in-unit faculty.  Other percentages refer to the increase in individuals’ salaries. 

We do not fully understand the objections expressed by the BOT team and trust that they will move forward and consider our counter proposal.  We look forward to continuing our discussion on Monday.

All the best,

Scott Hannahs, Specialized Faculty, Magnet Lab, and Jennifer Proffitt, Professor, Communication

Co-Chief Negotiators, UFF-FSU

Bargaining Update: May 8, 2023

Dear FSU Colleagues,

The bargaining teams met for the second time on Monday to discuss the Salaries article.  The BOT team began with a counteroffer to the UFF-FSU offer from last Wednesday.  This is where we left off last week and picked up on Monday:

 UFF #3 (from May 3)BOT #3 (presented May 8)
Sustained Performance3% every 5 years3% every 7 years
Performance (also called across-the-board)4.98%3.5%
Departmental Merit2.00%0.50%
Deans’ Merit0%0.75%
Market Equity$750,000$650,000
Administrative Discretionary Increases (ADI)1.00%1.00%

There were many things on which the two teams still agreed.  We both agree on 3% Sustained Performance Increases (SPI) every 7 years. (Originally, we felt this should be a 5-year cycle to be in line with the upcoming 5-year cycle of post-tenure review, but we have agreed to wait until the regulations and policies regarding that are finalized.)  Both teams also agree on the continuation of Promotion Increases of 12% for the second rank and 15% for the top rank.

The BOT team, however, continued to focus on Deans’ Merit, even raising it to 0.75% from their own last offer of 0.50% from last Wednesday.  They told us that they had done some research and found that about 99% of faculty get Performance raises, so they didn’t see that as an award for merit.  They stated that about 80% of faculty get Departmental Merit, so they liked that more than Performance, but Deans’ Merit only goes to about 45% of the faculty, so there must be “more scrutiny in Deans’ Merit,” because, they reasoned, fewer people get it.    

We pointed out that 99% of the faculty meeting or exceeding FSU’s High Expectations, and some of them substantially exceeding those expectations, is a good thing and should be rewarded, especially as we are concerned that retaining quality faculty will be an increasing problem in coming months.  We continue to ask for the cost of inflation from March 2022 to March 2023, which is 4.98%, because all faculty are affected by the cost of living and shouldn’t continue to lose ground in real dollars due to inflation.

We also do believe that faculty should be rewarded with merit increases, but we disagree that deans are best positioned to distribute those increases both knowledgeably and transparently.  In the latest annual faculty poll, you told us that you prefer that merit increases be based mainly on peer recommendations (i.e., Departmental Merit) over deans’ discretion by a ratio of 4 to 1.  When deans are scrutinizing which faculty should receive Deans’ Discretionary Merit increases, what criteria do they use?  Any guesses?  Give up?  Well, there aren’t any criteria.  With Departmental Merit, there are standards as required by the Collective Bargaining Agreement and outlined in departmental bylaws.  Also, it appears that Deans’ Merit is 4 to 5 times more likely to go to general faculty rather than specialized faculty even though specialized faculty make up about 45% of the bargaining unit.  We find that alarming.

By the way, if you’d like to conduct your own research on how merit money is awarded in your department, remember that according to our Collective Bargaining Agreement, a printed report detailing the amount received in each salary increase category by faculty members in a department is available on request to any faculty member of that department.  See Article 23.12 for more information about what must be contained in the report.

We presented a couple of proposals, as did they, and we ended the session with the following positions:

 UFF (offer #5)BOT (offer #5)
Sustained Performance3% every 7 years3% every 7 years
Performance (also called across-the-board)4.98%4.00%
Departmental Merit1.25%0.75%
Deans’ Merit0.10%0.50%
Market Equity$750,000$750,000
Administrative Discretionary Increases (ADI)1.00%1.00%

We are getting closer!  We will present our next counteroffer when we bargain on Wednesday, May 10, from 2-5pm.  Please note that the Wednesday session will be held in Westcott 211A and 214D instead of our usual venue.

Remember that our union’s efforts at the bargaining table are most effective when faculty participate and attendance is high, especially face-to-face in the room.  If you care about Salaries, please make every effort to attend!  If you need to attend remotely, please contact Brian Arsenault <mailto:[email protected]> for the Zoom link. (Alternatively, if you retained the previous bargaining Zoom link, it will still work.) 

Regular bargaining updates can be found at our webpage:  

The key to a strong Collective Bargaining Agreement is a strong membership base, so if you are not a member, please join! It is more important than ever for us to stand together. 

All the best,

Brian Arsenault, Assistant University Librarian

UFF-FSU Bargaining Team Membe

Bargaining Update: May 3, 2023 (Part 2)

Dear FSU Colleagues,

The bargaining teams met Wednesday to discuss Article 23-Salaries (and we also agreed to ground rules for our bargaining sessions). The UFF team sent our first proposal on May 1. That proposal and the BOT’s first counteroffer included the following:

 UFF (offer #1)BOT (offer #1)
Sustained Performance3% every 5 years3% every 7 years
Performance (also called across-the-board)4.98%3%
Departmental Merit3.00%.50%
Deans’ Merit0%.50%
Market Equity$1 Million$500,000
Administrative Discretionary Increases (ADI)1.00%1.00%

Both teams agree on the continuation of Promotion Increases of 12% for the second rank and 15% for the top rank.

We would like to acknowledge that the BOT’s first counteroffer was the highest we have seen in some time (as a reminder, last year the first offer the BOT made was 1% Performance, 0.25% for Departmental Merit, 1.50% Deans’ Merit, no Market Equity, and 1.25% Administrative Discretionary Increases, or ADI), which is certainly appreciated. However, as shown above, each team’s priorities remain quite different.

As we noted during the bargaining session, the UFF offer takes into consideration the need to retain faculty; as we are hearing and seeing, faculty members are leaving or planning to leave Florida for several reasons, including pay and attacks on higher education and DEI.

We explained that faculty have been losing ground in real dollars due to inflation, which amounts to a pay cut. We are asking for the cost of inflation from March 2022-March 2023, which is 4.98%. In our annual poll, more than half of the faculty who responded stated that they would not ratify if the offer didn’t at least offset the cost of inflation. We hear you, and we will try our best to advocate for your priorities.

We also explained once again that faculty tell us that when it comes to merit: Departmental Merit is essential because it is based on criteria agreed upon by the faculty as well as the Deans and Provost, while Deans’ Merit is completely discretionary without any stated criteria. That is, faculty never know what they need to do to receive Deans’ Merit because the process is not transparent. We also pointed out that Deans and the Provost approve Departmental Merit plans, so they do in fact have a say in Departmental Merit decisions, precluding any need for Deans’ Merit. Furthermore, Deans have Administrative Discretionary Increases available to them to reward especially productive faculty and/or those who have offers from other schools, as outlined in Article 23.

We also reminded the BOT team that Market Equity is critical for faculty retention. University data show that Market Equity is an $18 million problem. So that we don’t keep falling behind, Performance and Market Equity adjustments are necessary.

After both sides made two counteroffers, we ended the session with:

 UFF (offer #3)BOT (offer #2)
Sustained Performance3% every 5 years3% every 7 years
Performance (also called across-the-board)4.98%3.5%
Departmental Merit2.00%.50%
Deans’ Merit0%.50%
Market Equity$750,000$600,000
Administrative Discretionary Increases (ADI)1.00%1.00%

We look forward to receiving the BOT’s next counter when we bargain again on Monday, May 8, from 2-5pm.

Our union’s efforts at the bargaining table are most effective when faculty attendance is high: if you care about Salaries, please come! Bargaining sessions are open to faculty, and we appreciate having you! Meetings are face-to-face at the FSU Training Center (493 Stadium Drive). If you would like to attend remotely, please contact Brian Arsenault <mailto:[email protected]> for the Zoom link. (Alternatively, if you retained the previous bargaining Zoom link, it will still work.) 

Regular bargaining updates can be found at our webpage: 

The key to a strong Collective Bargaining Agreement is a strong membership base, so if you are not a member, please join! It is more important than ever for us to stand together. 

All the best,

Scott Hannahs, Specialized Faculty, Magnet Lab, and Jennifer Proffitt, Professor, Communication

Co-Chief Negotiators, UFF-FSU

Bargaining Update: May 3, 2023

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.

  1. 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%.
  2. 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.
  3. Merit increases retain the same eligibility requirements that are in the current contract and in two sections.
    1. 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.
    2. Departmental merit for the next fiscal year is set at 3% with the same eligibility and criteria as in the current contract.
    3. Deans’ merit is removed for the usual reason and past experience of the criteria for most deans is unstated, unclear, and arbitrary.
  4. 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.
  5. 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

Summary of Contract Changes, 2022-2025

Summary of Contract Changes, 2022-2025                                            August 16, 2022

The UFF-FSU and Administration/Board of Trustees teams have concluded negotiations for the 2022-2025 contract. We reached Tentative Agreements and a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), subject to ratification, on numerous issues.

The previous (2019-2022) Collective Bargaining Agreement, as amended, can be found here.

Below are summaries of the Tentatively Agreed language and the MOA. You can click on each article to compare the new and old language.

Art. 5-Academic Freedom and Responsibility. Adds “protected free speech” to the list of freedoms faculty have the right to enjoy without fear of institutional censorship or discipline.

Art. 10-Performance Evaluations. New language specifies which documents need to be included in annual evaluations and considered for promotion and appointment and non-reappointment. Eliminates language that is no longer relevant, such as second- and fourth-year reviews for Assistant Professors.

Art. 14-Promotion. Adds language stating that departments may now convene different promotion committees for tenured/tenure-earning and specialized faculty and specifies that all departmental promotion committees must be elected.

Art. 15-Tenure. New language extends and clarifies circumstances under which tenure-earning faculty can request a one-year extension of the tenure-earning period.

Art. 18-Inventions and Works. Changes the term “Appreciable University Support” to “Appreciable University Resources,” which removes the possibility that salary could fall in the category. Eliminates language that independent efforts need to fall outside a faculty member’s institutional expertise in order for the University to not claim a financial interest.

Art. 19-Conflict of Interest/Outside Activity. Defines outside activity, conflict of interest. and conflict of commitment. Clarifies the disclosure process for reporting conflicts of interest and commitment. Disallows consensual sexual relationships with FSU undergraduate students. Disallows consensual sexual relationships with FSU graduate students in a faculty member’s department and graduate students a faculty member supervises or evaluates. Adds language regarding investigations of consensual sexual relationships.

Art. 20-Grievances. Clarifies language about selecting an arbitration panel.

Art. 21-Other Faculty Rights. New language adds procedures, reporting, and timelines for regular campus building safety inspections.

Art. 22-Sabbatical and Professional Development Leaves. Increases the number of paid one-semester sabbaticals from 1 per every 30 eligible tenured faculty members to 1 per every 20.

Art. 23-Salaries.

Performance-based increases: 4% permanent increase to all faculty with an overall 2021 annual evaluation of meets expectations or better, effective Sept. 16.

Departmental merit: 0.75% of the faculty salary base (roughly $1.3 million) to be distributed according to departmental evaluation criteria and procedures as permanent increases, effective Oct. 14.

Deans’ merit: 0.50% of the faculty salary base to be distributed by deans as permanent increases, effective Oct. 14.

Market equity: $750,000 to be distributed as outlined in Article 23.6, effective Jan. 20, 2023.

Administrative Discretionary Increases: up to 0.80% of the faculty salary base.

Sustained Performance Increases (SPI): Continues 3% permanent increase to full professors and eminent scholars who have seven years of continuous University Service after their promotion to top rank or after their previous SPI, effective Aug. 8.

Promotions: Continues promotion raises at the same levels as last year (12% and 15%), effective August 8.

Art. 24-Benefits. Adds the tuition scholarship program for faculty members’ dependent children and spouses.

Art. 29-Amendment and Duration. Specifies that negotiations for the next three-year contract (“full book negotiations”) begin in the spring of 2025 and that negotiations for the two intermediate contracts (“limited re-openers” where only a small number of issues, including salaries, are negotiated) begin on April 1 of each year.

Appendix IFlorida State University Criteria and Procedures for Promotion and Tenure. Removes the “early promotion” designation and the stipulation that time in rank as an Associate is “normally five years.”

Appendix J-Criteria and Procedures for Promotion of Specialized Faculty. Adds new honorific titles for specialized faculty: Assistant Clinical Professor, Associate Clinical Professor, and Clinical Professor and clarifies the process of determining who is eligible for promotion.

Appendix K-Examples of Reportable and Non-Reportable Activities. Provides examples of inside and outside activities that are potentially a conflict of interest and need to be disclosed as per Article 19-Conflict of Interest/Outside Activity.

MOA-2022 Additional Leave. Stipulates an extra day of leave (8 hours) for 12-month faculty that would need to be used by June 30, 2023.

Help us create a stronger voice for faculty at FSU and statewide. Join the team that works for you! UFF membership forms are available at