UFF’s origins lie in efforts by faculty to protect academic freedom, defend civil liberties, and end racial discrimination at UF.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, UF administrators fired or denied tenure to outspoken advocates of racial integration and faculty rights. Believing that only a binding contract, with strong grievance procedures, could protect faculty from such harassment, UFF pioneers launched the union in 1968. After nearly a decade of struggle, UFF achieved a state-wide collective bargaining agreement in 1976 and since then has remained a vigorous and effective agent in behalf of academic freedom and faculty rights.-Bob Zieger, UF Distinguished Professor of History and UFF-UF member
At the University of Florida
United Faculty of Florida began at UF. UFF was founded in 1968, after several politically active UF faculty were fired or denied tenure. UFF’s founders understood that the union protections of a legally binding contract would help protect against further such violations of academic freedom and due process. In 1976, UFF won its first state-wide collective bargaining agreement.
UFF-UF has strengthened faculty rights and shared governance for over forty years. Our all-faculty bargaining team directly negotiates with the UF administration over the terms of our employment, including salaries, promotion and tenure, leaves, and much more. Our academic freedom article is a model for other faculty unions nationally. In recent years, we have improved salaries and expanded benefits including parental leave and sabbaticals.
We save faculty jobs, both tenure track and non-tenure track. We ensure due process for faculty during investigations and have successfully fought lay-offs. Our 2012 “Save UF: Spend the Reserves” campaign convinced the UF administration to cover state budget cuts with the university’s reserve funds. This helped prevent faculty and staff layoffs and reduce cuts to graduate assistants.
We give faculty a voice in determining their working conditions. In 2015, when negotiations were stalled over our annual raises, we brought our case to the Board of Trustees and the media and changed the conversation on faculty compensation at UF. We convinced a Special Magistrate that UF faculty were underpaid compared to our national peers.
In the State of Florida
We are leaders in the fight to stop “guns on campus” legislation. In 2016 UFF President Jennifer Proffitt was honored by a national gun safety organization for her leadership in stopping legislative efforts to overturn bans of firearms at colleges and universities.
We fight for transparency in university governance. UFF has lobbied to oppose legislation that would have allowed secret searches for university presidents, provosts, and deans.
We give faculty a voice in issues that concern them. For example, UFF worked with governor’s office and house higher education staff to suggest amendments to ensure the textbook affordability bill addressed faculty concerns.
We work for social justice. UFF was part of a coalition to defeat legislation that was discriminatory towards the LGBTQ+ community. Currently, UFF is a partner in the Florida Poor People’s Campaign.
We protect employee benefits. UFF helped prevent changes to the Florida Retirement System and to the State Group Health Insurance (SGHI) plan that would have significantly increased rates.