The November 18 hearing before Special Magistrate Tom Young was well attended by faculty, students, community members, and members of the press. Representing our chapter were Candi Churchill, UFF Field Services Officer, and Prof. Sumi Helal, Chief Negotiator. The university hired an outside legal team consisting of Mike Mattimore from the Tallahassee law firm of Allen Norton & Blue and two of his associates to present their case.
UFF presented first. Our bargaining team’s presentation is available here: UFF-UF impasse presentation (pdf). It explains the issues at impasse, lays out our case for improved faculty compensation, and refutes the administration’s claim that UF cannot afford it.
The administration’s case focused heavily on the university’s inability to provide better faculty comensation. In his presentation, Mr. Mattimore failed to address a number of important issues. They include:
- the administration’s arbitrary insistence that our raises be delayed until January 1, 2016, which, for this academic year, effectively halves its proposed 2.5% raise, reducing it to 1.25%
- our central contention that in any serious bid for top-ten public university status, UF salaries must be in line with those of its national peers, particularly those institutions that UF has publicly identified as peers; instead, he compared our compensation to that of our colleagues at other universities in Florida
- our argument that we need across-the-board raises to address inflation; in effect, he claimed that some faculty don’t deserve to have their salaries keep up with the cost of living—more precisely, he lamented the fact that across-the board raises would benefit faculty who are “not advancing knowledge in their fields” (Alligator link), a claim that was met, quite rightly, with groans and snickers from faculty in the audience
After brief closing comments from UFF (none from the administration), the hearing concluded. UFF and the administration must now each present a written brief to the special magistrate, who will recommend a resolution. If either UFF or the administration rejects his recommendation, both sides will present their cases again next semester, this time before the Board of Trustees.
Because this process will likely continue, we are asking faculty to keep the pressure on. The administration and the Board of Trustees need to hear that we are deeply concerned about the issues of fair compensation for all faculty and a respectful, collegial bargaining process. Here is what you can do now:
- If you are not a UFF member, please join now. The bigger our membership, the more clout we have at the bargaining table. It’s that simple.
- Be an informed source of information for your colleagues. Talk with them about these issues and help get them involved. You can find information on the bargaining and impasse process here. Also, feel free to get in touch with the bargaining team directly: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Help keep these issues visible in the press and social media. Write a letter to the editor about why a preeminent university needs to pay its faculty like its national peers
- Get involved with UFF. There are plenty of ways to engage in issues that concern you. To find out more, write to us at email@example.com.