For Immediate Release
(Gainesville, FL) On Wednesday, November 18th at 9:00 AM the United Faculty of Florida of the University of Florida and the University’s representatives will attend an impasse hearing over stalled salary negotiations. The hearing is open to the public.
Financially, the University of Florida is thriving. It sits on a $1.5 billion endowment, of which $148 million takes the form of unrestricted net assets. In 2015, it set a fundraising record of $315 million. This spring, as one of the two preeminent universities in the state, it brought in $24 million in performance-based funds from the state legislature. Last year, its faculty set a research funding record of $707 million.
But despite all this good financial news, the University of Florida is not recognizing the central contributions of its faculty. Instead, it has offered faculty an average raise of 2.5%. And instead of having this small raise take effect at the beginning of the school year, as is customary, UF is proposing to delay it until January 1.
It seems that, during these good financial times, UF has chosen to leave its faculty behind. This summer, in their annual salary negotiations with the UF administration, United Faculty of Florida negotiators used data and information to show that UF faculty salaries have not kept up with inflation or with salaries at peer institutions. Likewise, they showed that UF’s raises upon promotion are the lowest among Florida’s state universities. For their part, UF’s negotiators simply refused to address any of these issues. Instead, they focused exclusively on the narrow question of “merit-based” raises and the date on which they would take effect, and their only comment was that this was the most UF could afford. Given the financial situation described above, UFF found their assertions hard to believe.
Believing that meaningful negotiations had stalled, in August UFF declared negotiations to be at an impasse. As a result, UFF and UF will present their arguments to a special magistrate at a hearing that has been scheduled for 9 a.m., November 18, on the UF campus (Emerson Hall, Warrington Room A). “We are eager to make our case before a neutral party,” said UFF Chapter President Susan Hegeman, “and we hope this hearing will reveal something about the university’s fiscal priorities. If the university doesn’t think it a priority to develop and keep the best possible faculty for our students, then what are all its resources for, and what does its preeminent status actually mean?”
Who: The United Faculty of Florida at the University of Florida
What: University of Florida Faculty Salary Dispute to be Heard by Special Magistrate
When: Wednesday, November 18; 9:00 AM-approximately 12 pm.
Where: Emerson Hall, Warrington Room A (1938 W University Ave, Gainesville, FL 32603)
For more information on the process of the impasse hearing and United Faculty of Florida’s position, see “2015 Salary Impasse Hearing Questions and Answers.”
For information on UF’s financial status, see the following publicly-available sources: University of Florida Foundation, “Endowment & Total Assets”; UF President Kent Fuchs, “An Opportunity to Lead,” State of the University Address, September 24, 2015; “2013-14 Annual Financial Report,” University of Florida (pdf).