Bargaining Session Two: 2 April 2019
The Bargaining Team of the United Faculty of Florida (University of Florida chapter) met for the second time with representatives of the UF Board of Trustees (BOT) on Tuesday, April 2. Both parties had previously agreed to discuss modest, uncontroversial changes to the Collective Bargaining Agreement during the April 2 session.
Some of the BOT’s proposed changes did, in fact, represent modest changes to the CBA. In addition of updating university terminology and correcting stray typos, the BOT team proposed welcome language outlining the university’s commitment to hiring faculty from historically marginalized groups [proposed change to Article 12.1 (a)]. They also offered a proposal to prevent the university from stringing along visiting professors on an endless series of one-year appointments [proposed change to Article 12.4 (i) (1)-(3)].
Nevertheless, the bulk of their proposals represented a subtle but dramatic assault on the principle of shared governance as well as the union’s institutional independence.
An Assault on Shared Governance
The most threatening of the BOT’s proposals took aim at departments’ ability to choose their own faculty. Ostensibly intended to lighten the load of UF’s overtaxed search committees, the BOT’s proposal would require that only one-half of a search committee’s members come from the college conducting the search [proposed change to Article 12.2 (c)].
This proposal departs dramatically from the current requirement that three-fourth of a search committee’s members comes from the department conducting the search. If this proposal were to take effect, members of the department conducting the search could be wholly absent from their own department’s search committee; and administrators from outside the department could play an even larger role in job searches than they already do.
While the UFF Bargaining Team recognizes that many of our colleagues are currently overtaxed, we’re unconvinced that the current situation demands fundamental changes to the structure of job searches. After all, most of the current searches are connected to the 500 one-time job openings UF announced last year. The current rush of job searches, in other words, will likely return to a slow trickle in the near future. Faculty members, therefore, would be foolish to abandon a foundational principle of academic governance to solve a problem that will probably disappear before the new CBA takes effect.
In addition to the BOT’s proposed changes to search committee composition, they also introduced tentative contract language that would require departments to vacate their existing departmental bylaws, develop new ones by the end of the upcoming contract period (2022), and revise their bylaws every three years thereafter [proposed change to Article 9.1 (d)].
Here too, the UFF Bargaining Team recognizes that the BOT’s proposal respond to a real problem: many departments’ bylaws are, indeed, out-of-date, ill-suited to faculty members’ needs, or fail to comply with provisions of the CBA. But the UFF Bargaining Team believes that the current proposal is too inflexible and fails to respect departments’ right to self-government. The UFF Bargaining Team therefore rejects the BOT’s proposed changes. Instead, we argue that departments should have the ability to reauthorize their existing bylaws; and that any changes to departmental bylaws should be specifically aimed at bringing these regulations into compliance with the CBA.
An Attack on the Union’s Independence
In addition to their attempts to erode norms of shared governance, the BOT also proposed changes with negative implications for UFF’s institutional independence. Specifically, the BOT team proposed contract changes that would strip the faculty union of its ability to finance its own release time [proposed change to Article 4.4]. Currently, the small number of union release time units that faculty members receive are paid for by the university itself. UF pays for these units because, historically, it has recognized union activity as part of a faculty member’s rightful responsibilities. As such, the university provided release time to enable select members to devote their full attention to shared governance and collective bargaining.
In addition to this university-financed release time, however, the union has also retained the right to finance it own faculty release time. Retaining this union-financed release time is essential to the well-being of the United Faculty of Florida. Should the state or federal government pass legislation or enact regulations prohibiting university-financed release time, the union must have an alternative means of doing so. Retaining this right, therefore, is a matter of both principle and pragmatism: if administrators can get paid for their role in shared governance, representatives or labor must be able to do the same.
Finally, the BOT team proposed changes that would strip UFF of its right to deduct voluntary union dues from members’ paychecks if such an activity were banned by state or federal law [proposed change to Article 5.8]. At first glance, this proposal looks uncontroversial. But, in fact, it’s quite insidious. Under the terms of this proposal, UFF would be directly subject to state and federal law rather than Florida’s Public Employees Relations Commission (PERC). This distinction matters because PERC has historically functioned as a buffer between anti-labor politicians and labor unions themselves – protecting the latter from the punitive or unconstitutional efforts of the former.
Practically speaking, then, the BOT’s proposed language means that, were the state or federal government to enact legislation stripping unions of their right to deduce dues (an approach the state legislature attempted with teachers’ unions in 2011), UFF would immediately lose access to members’ dues – even if PERC or another judicial authority ultimately found the law unconstitutional. Intentionally or unintentionally, the BOT’s proposal thus puts the faculty union in a position where state or federal legislators could instantaneously deprive our institution of its financial lifeblood.
By contrast, the UFF Bargaining Team wants contract language ensuring that UFF’s right to automatically deduct members’ voluntary dues remains intact until the end of the new CBA – regardless of the whims of state or federal law. Such an approach accords with accepted legal principles, which hold that new laws or regulations cannot retroactively invalidate the provisions of a collective bargaining contract.
The UFF Bargaining Team arrived at the negotiating table with its own set of proposed changes. Most of these changes were – in accordance with the UFF and BOT teams’ informal agreement – largely routine. The UFF Bargaining Team, for instance, proposed several changes that would ensure faculty members or departmental administrators with uncommon titles are covered by contract language that refers to deans or department heads. The UFF team also offered up some modest changes that would make it easier for retired or emeritus faculty to access health or recreational facilities [proposed changes to 25.9 (a) (5)]. And lastly the team proposed contract language that would define the term “just cause” according to the terms of a frequently-cited court decision [proposed change to Article 27.1 (a)].
Far more consequentially, the UFF team told BOT representative that it plans to allow various contract “waivers” to expire at the end of the current CBA. The term “waivers” refers to contract passages in which the union has voluntarily “waived,” or ceded to management, one or more of its legal rights.
Jettisoning these waivers serves two purposes. First, many of these waivers are bad in their own right. But, just as important, waivers are valuable bargaining chips. Several of these waivers, for instances, pertain to activities the UF administration regards as indispensable — including the ability to determine discretionary salary adjustments for administrators. By threatening to pull them, the faculty union gains useful leverage.
Allowing these waivers to expire therefore represents a win-win for the faculty union. If we succeed in eliminating them from the contract, we win a superior CBA. If not, we can at the very least make the administration “buy” these waivers back: trading contract changes favorable to UFF in exchange for retaining one or more of the existing waivers.
Bargaining Session One: 26 March 2019
On Tuesday, March 26, the Bargaining Team of United Faculty of Florida (University of Florida chapter) met with representatives of the UF Board of Trustees to open negotiations on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. The current three-year agreement will expire on December 31, 2019.
The UFF Bargaining Team began the session with a prepared statement. Co-Chief Negotiator William Keegan introduced the Bargaining Team’s plan to fight for a CBA that helps make UF a more just, secure, and productive workplace. More specifically, Dr. Keegan announced the Bargaining Team’s goals. These goals include:
- Job security and a streamlined promotion process for non-tenure track faculty
- Higher pay and better working conditions for P.K. Yonge faculty
- Paid family leave
- Pay equity and cost-of-living raises, and
- Stronger tenure protections for tenure-line faculty.
Dr. Keegan concluded his statement by announcing the Bargaining Team’s intention to modify the following articles of the CBA: 3, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 23, 24, 25, 28, 30, 32, 33, and 35, as well as Appendices A, B, E, and F. The BOT team then offered their own list of articles to negotiate, which includes articles: 4, 5, 8, 9, 13, 14, 17, 18, 19, 20, and 21.
The BOT team announced, moreover, that it could not discuss salary or pay until the state legislative session concludes in May. And, more distressingly, the team revealed that it would not be prepared to discuss family leave until the fall. Despite signing a Memorandum of Understanding in December 2016 agreeing to “establish a task force to develop a comprehensive leave policy for the campus,” the Board of Trustees team still has no meaningful policy proposal in hand.
The session closed with the UFF and BOT teams tentatively scheduling future bargaining sessions on April 2 (2:00 -3:30pm / 210 Pugh Hall); April 16 (2:30-4pm / 150 Pugh Hall); April 23 (2:30-4pm / 112 Library West); and April 30 (2:30-4pm / P.K. Yonge). Both teams agreed to introduce modest changes to the CBA during the April 2 session.
April Bargaining Dates (posted 3/28/2019)
– April 2, 2:00 -3:30 pm in Pugh 210.
– April 16, 2:30-4:00pm in Pugh 150.
– April 23, 2:30-4:00pm in room 212 (Nygren Studio) of Library West.
– April 30, 2:30-4:00pm at PKY (room TBD).
Results of Faculty Survey on Bargaining Priorities Released (posted 3/18, 2019)
All faculty are encouraged to attend our first bargaining session on Tues., 26 March, from 2:30-4pm in 150 Pugh Hall.
Bargaining Team surveys faculty on bargaining priorities (posted 2/11, 2019)
The team asks bargaining unit faculty to take a 5 minute survey, available here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/SV5TYPY
Survey closes February 22.
Tentative Agreement on 2018-19 salary negotiations ratified by bargaining unit (posted 11/28, 2018)
The agreement calls for a one-time lump sum bonus to all members of the bargaining unit. The money available for this bonus is equal to 4% of all in-unit faculty members’ salaries.
This bonus will be awarded as a 1% across-the-board bonus to all eligible faculty, with faculty whose salary is below $50,000 receiving a lump sum payment of $1,000, prorated to their FTE; and 3% merit payment allocated according to department by-laws. P.K. Yonge faculty will receive a comparable one-time lump sum payment.
The text of the tentative agreement is available here (pdf): Article 24 11.01.2018 Tentative Agreement
This agreement was ratified by the bargaining unit and the Board of Trustees. It went into effect Dec. 21, 2018.
Tentative Agreement on 2018-2019 Salary Negotiations: Goals, Outcomes, and Next Steps (posted 11/5, 2018)
On Thursday, November 1, the United Faculty of Florida (UFF-UF) bargaining team reached a tentative agreement with representatives of the University of Florida’s Board of Trustees (UF-BOT) on salary increases for the 2018-2019 academic year. The agreement is a modest victory for members of the UFF-UF bargaining unit and represents a positive first step toward the upcoming full contract negotiations which will begin in Spring 2019.
The following is a brief report on the bargaining team’s goals, the progress and outcome of negotiations, and the next steps for both UFF-UF and the larger bargaining unit.
Our Goals and Proposal
During the negotiations that led to this agreement, the UFF-UF Bargaining Team could only negotiate Articles 24.4 (General Salary Increases) and 24.7 (Salary Increases for P.K. Yonge Faculty Members) of the 2017-2019 Collective Bargaining Agreement. (Link to Article 24).
Our ability, therefore, to improve our colleagues’ working conditions was limited, as we could only negotiate faculty members’ salaries.
Moreover, we entered bargaining in an unfavorable position. The UFF-UF negotiating team has undergone considerable turnover in recent months. Because of this turnover, we had little time to seek faculty input on bargaining goals and found ourselves up against a BOT-imposed bargaining deadline of November 1.
Despite these obstacles, however, we were determined to reach the most favorable agreement possible. We therefore entered negotiations with two ambitious goals:
- First, we wanted to reward UF’s hard-working long-term faculty for their role in making UF both a preeminent and a top-ten public university.
- Second, we wanted to ensure that UF’s lowest-paid faculty received a generous portion of the $6.5 million UF had put on the table for pay increases.
To support these goals, we opened negotiations with a proposal to distribute the available $6.5 million equally amongst all member of the bargaining unit. This proposal would have resulted in a $3,500 across-the-board raise to all in-unit employees’ base pay, with an extra 1% merit raise available for those faculty members who met their departments’ merit criteria. Additionally, we proposed increasing promotion raises from 9% to 15%, bringing UF’s standards into line with those of other Florida public universities.
Given Florida’s strong economy, UF’s recent successes, and President Fuchs’ commitment to “market and merit” raises, we entered negotiations with high hopes. Unfortunately, the BOT team chose to retrench and offer only a one-time bonus, initially demanding that the funds be allocated entirely to merit pay.
Despite this disappointing counteroffer, however, the negotiating team was able to wrest a 1% across-the-board, one-time bonus for all faculty, with a $1,000 minimum for our lowest-paid colleagues. The remainder of payout will be allocated as a one-time, 3% merit bonus, with these funds distributed according to individual departmental guidelines.
Thus, while the current agreement falls far short of our opening offer, it nevertheless provides a short-term boost to long-time faculty members’ compensation for 2018-2019 and delivers a disproportionate share of the allocated funds to faculty members who make less than $50,000.
The Path Ahead
Moving forward, UFF is committed to:
- raising base salaries
- rewarding meritorious performance, and
- addressing UF’s poor diversity and gender equity rating
With the bargaining unit’s collective support, we can enter negotiations for the full Collective Bargaining Agreement on a stronger footing than we entered this recent round of negotiations.
If we stand together and build a bold vision that reflects our shared goals, we can help redress some of UF’s persistent inequalities, ensure we have the resources to deliver world-class education and research, and advance UF further toward its top-five goal.
October 25, 2018: Negotiations begin over 2018-19 Raises
The bargaining team met with the team negotiating on behalf of the Board of Trustees to discuss the annual re-opener of Article 24, Salaries. The teams presented their respective proposals:
UFF-UF Article 24 Proposal1
BOT Article 24 proposal1
UFF-UF Collective Bargaining Team members
Candi Churchill, Chief Negotiator
Bill Keegan (FL Museum of Natural History)
Martin Sorbille (Spanish and Portuguese)
Hélène Huet (Library West)
Sean Trainor (Management Communication Center)
Rosana Resende (Latin American Studies & Anthropology)
John Bourn (PK Yonge)
Macy Geiger (PK Yonge)
UF Board of Trustees Bargaining Team members
Bill Connellan, Chief Bargainer
Chris Hass, Associate Provost
Maureen de Armond, Assistant VP, HR
Kevin Clarke, Associate Director of Employee Relations, HR
September 10, 2018: UFF and UF Bargaining Meeting – requesting reschedule until after 9/13 Council Meeting
Notes will be posted here prior and after the meeting. The meeting is scheduled from 2-4pm in 2002 Farrior Hall. There will be no livestreaming of the bargaining meetings for now. Notes will be posted before and after each meeting.
August 17, 2018: Bargaining Team and UFF-UF President Meeting
Laurie Taylor and Hélène Huet from the Bargaining Team met with UFF-UF President Raúl Sanchez from 10-11am in Library West 212 to review work to date, discuss concerns, and ensure strong communication is in place for moving forward. The Bargaining Team requested units of release time to be assigned to a member (and noted a recommended candidate not currently on the official team, if the person is available) to do data analysis for salaries specific to UF designated peer institutions, normalized for the region and cost of living, and normalize for specific fields/areas, for spring 2019, fall 2019, and summer 2019, if possible. The Bargaining Team members also requested release time to have someone work specifically on diversity, for supporting peer to peer work in cultural change to improve working conditions in regards to diversity, equity, and inclusion. The meeting affirmed UFF-UF’s commitment to strong, open communication on bargaining and to procedural justice as a core concern for processes.
August 7, 2018: UFF and UF Bargaining Meeting
Notes will be posted here prior and after the meeting. The meeting is scheduled from 10am-12pm in Pugh 210, and we are confirming the link for livestreaming. Notes following the meeting:
The UF and UFF Bargaining Teams met from 10-11am in Pugh 210, with full teams in attendance. Zoom was not an option with the equipment in place, so for the next meeting, the team will ensure equipment is brought in to support viewing the meeting via Zoom. The meeting covered introduction and reviewed the process, including noting that this reopener is only for the salary (Article 24) and is on what UF has already planned and announced with the one time bonus. We are in the process of scheduling the next meeting, where UF will present the offer in the language of Article 24 and with the prior announcement. This meeting is likely to be the week of September 10. Once the meeting is scheduled, this page will be updated with the date and location.
July 26, 2018: UFF-UF and FEA Call on Bargaining
UFF-UF and FEA held a conference call meeting on 7/26/2018 from 3-3:30pm. We used a free conference call number (712-775-7031, meeting ID: 831-773-884). The agenda was: 1. Introductions of all who can make it, experience in bargaining, role on this call; 2) Overview of the process when requesting to bargain when a changed working condition arises, as applied for this example 3) Presumed next steps and planning. In attendance: Laurie Taylor, Oscar Crisalle, Candi Churchill, and Emily McCann.
July 20, 2018: UFF Members Asking on New Parking Charges
Faculty members have been discussing concerns on the planned increase in costs for parking decals, as explained in this news article. UFF is discussing preparing the request to UF to negotiate on this.
July 11, 2018: UFF and UF Bargaining meeting scheduled
UFF and UF Bargaining meeting on salaries, scheduled for Tuesday, August 7, from 10am-12pm. Data: The Bargaining Team is currently compiling data from prior reports. These will be shared to inform on the process. Several members have expressed interest in having FEOs available for in-unit faculty. Informing the discussion on that are reports on sabbaticals and professional development leaves, along with other sources to inform the full process:
- Sabbatical and Professional Development Leave Reports, 2015-2019
- Parental leave survey, October 2015
- Two items now supported: UF has 8 lactation rooms and a 12 month pay plan for 9 month faculty
- FEO Update to Faculty Senate, April 2013
- NTT 2012 Survey Report
- UF salaries information and comparisons
- Archive of the 2015-16 impasse over salaries
- CBA versions with changes marked, 2013 and 2016 versions
- UFF Climate Surveys, through 2013-2016
- CBA classifications, NTT and TT (noting to best support constituent needs, for each and for all)
- Release Units
July 3, 2018: Bargaining Team, Meetings, and Data
- The Bargaining Team is confirmed, and available for discussion on any questions on the process: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Chief Negotiator (Bargaining): Laurie Taylor (Libraries)
- Committee: Hélène Huet (Libraries), Martin Sorbille (CLAS-Spanish), Bill Keegan (Florida Museum of Natural History)
- The Bargaining Team will meet on July 10 from 2-3pm in Library West 212. Please join us if interested. Meetings with UF will be scheduled soon for the salary discussions, and will be disseminated along with notes and plans. Also, we are expecting to livestream the meetings with UF to keep everyone informed on the process. We will also schedule the 2019 full contract meetings as soon as possible to give the greatest oppportunity to hold the dates.
- The Membership Committee is working to schedule a town hall in Fall.
- The Bargaining Team is confirmed, and available for discussion on any questions on the process: email@example.com
July 7, 2017
Tentative Agreement Reached
The bargaining team and the university’s representatives have reached a tentative agreement on salaries for 2017-18. The agreement allocates approximately 5% of the bargaining unit’s base pay for raises.
For several years now, UFF has been calling the administration’s attention to some significant problems related to UF faculty salaries, including inequity with our national peers. While clearly more remains to be done to improve our compensation, we feel that this agreement is a good first step in resolving some of these issues.
- 3% of base is to be allocated for merit raises, effective on January 1, 2018.
- approximately 2% of base is to be spent on equity increases. Deans shall consult with chairs in determining these equity increases during the fall semester. All equity raises would be retroactive to August 2017.
This agreement is subject to ratification by members of the bargaining unit. We will hold a vote on ratification early in the fall semester, 2017. The specific contract language of this agreement can be found here: Article 24 final mark up 2017 (pdf)
May 8, 2017
FACULTY UNION DEMANDS ACTION ON SALARIES
Negotiations between the United Faculty of Florida (UFF-UF) and the University of Florida Board of Trustees over faculty salaries. As it did last year, UFF-UF will propose an increase of 6.5%, to be made up of a 2.5% general cost-of-living adjustment and 4% distributed according to approved departmental merit criteria.
UFF-UF proposes this increase as a crucial first step in closing the gap between faculty salaries at the University of Florida and those of our peer institutions, including UC Berkeley, UNC Chapel Hill, University of Illinois, and University of Michigan. “UF cannot recruit and retain top-notch faculty when it is apparent, even in the public record, that faculty salaries consistently lag those of benchmark institutions” said Steven Kirn, Chapter President of UFF-UF.
UF’s President Kent Fuchs acknowledges that lagging faculty compensation is a concern, even as he has repeatedly emphasized the faculty’s central role in raising UF to one of the top public institutions in the nation.* Last year, an independent Special Magistrate concurred, writing, “UFF’s proposed faculty wage increases will contribute to improving the UF’s position in comparison to its peer universities on the national level.” He also rejected the administration’s claims that such increases would jeopardize university finances. UF has a $1.5 billion endowment, with $148 million in unrestricted net assets. It has the largest reserve of funds, both in dollars and in percent of operating budget, of any university within the Florida state university system. For three years in a row, UF has been awarded extra funding from the State of Florida as a “preeminent” institution.
UFF looks forward to working with the Board of Trustees’ representatives to achieve fair salaries for all faculty and resolve this impediment to the University’s aspirations to national preeminence.