UFF-UF has defended and improved faculty rights and academic integrity for over forty years. In recent years of (legislative and economic) adversity we have grown even stronger. Since 2010, we have nearly doubled our membership at UF (from 400 to over 700 members in 2012), and UFF membership has increased statewide from 5,000 to 7,500.
UF’s 2010-2013 contract strengthened faculty rights and academic integrity by including paid parental leave, full-year paid sabbaticals, and an academic freedom article so powerful that the AAUP uses it as a model. Current negotiations continue to build on these, and other successes.
We have fought off lay-offs and helped faculty get due process. Since 2008 at UF, we have won all the lay-off cases filed by members, and in the process have saved the jobs of non-tenure track, tenure-track, and tenured faculty. We are proactive in resolving grievances and investigations as quickly as possible, but do not hesitate to defend faculty rights with binding arbitration.
We have organized successful coalitions to protest budget cuts from Tallahassee as well as layoffs and program closures at UF and elsewhere. In 2009, we worked with a state-wide FEA campaign and successfully stopped state legislature from cutting the education budget by 10%. In the spring 2012 our “Save UF: Spend the Reserves” campaign succeeded in getting the UF administration to cover a significant amount of the state budget cuts with the university’s reserves (about $12 million of the $38+ million cut by the state). This helped to stop faculty and staff layoffs, to reduce cuts to graduate assistants, and thus to preserve quality education and research at UF. Statewide, UFF has saved jobs and academic programs, including the departments of Anthropology and Oceanography at Florida State University where we saved the jobs of over 20 tenured and tenure-track faculty.
UFF helped to keep mandatory faculty pension contributions down to 3%. In 2011, when the state legislature was proposing that faculty be required to pay 8% of pension contributions, UFF helped keep it down to 3%.
In 2015, we declared impasse over salary negotiations, and convinced a Special Magistrate that UF faculty we underpaid as compared to our national peers. We brought our case to the Board of Trustees and the media, and changed the conversation on faculty compensation at UF.