DIMENSION
The Newsletter of the UNF Chapter of the United Faculty of Florida (UFF)
January 2002


[Visit us online at www.unf.edu/facstaff/uff/]


 

The UNF Chapter has been Busy.

The Chapter has been active in training, consultation, and grievance work these last few months.

  1. UNF/UFF President Ellie Scheirer and Vice President Vicki Stanton attended the annual state-wide meeting of chapter presidents in Tallahassee which focused on Chapter and State-level activity in the context of political life in Florida.

  2. Ellie Scheirer and Stan Swart, the UNF/UFF Grievance Representative, attended the grievance summit in Tallahassee where grievance representatives and chapter presidents shared information on the grievance process as it operates state-wide and closely examined current issues with regard to grievances and the contract.

  3. Ellie Scheirer, Bruce Fortado, and Cheryl Frohlich attended a training session in Gainesville during which they examined the use in contract negotiation of the HECAS (Higher Education Contract Analysis System) database of national and state-wide contracts which was developed by the National Education Association, very likely a useful tool as we face the possibility of negotiation at the local level.

  4. Ellie Scheirer attended the October 2001 UFF Senate meeting in Tampa. Discussion included the impact of state-wide cutbacks on higher education in Florida and the direction for contract negotiations. Since that time an impasse in such negotiations has been declared.

  5. In November, several UNF/UFF members participated in a grievance training workshop which prepared them to help colleagues in the grievance process.

  6. Also in November, the Chapter held a membership luncheon during which discussion focused on state-wide issues facing faculty and their implications for local bargaining.

  7. Several chapter members, along with the Chapter President and Vice President, met with President Hopkins, Provost Kline, and others for the formal consultations of the Summer and Fall semesters.

Upcoming Events

January 22, 2002, Noon - 2:00 PM
(Fac. Assoc. Mtg. Rms., 11/1327)
       Benefits Workshop on Long-Term Care (LTC) Insurance

January 23, 2002, Noon - 2:00 PM
(Fac. Assoc. Mtg. Rms., 11/1327)
(repeat of January 22 session)

  Benefits Workshop on Long-Term Care (LTC) Insurance

February 5, 2002, 10:30 AM - Noon
(Documents Room, COEHS Dean's Office)

  UNF/UFF Chapter Council Meeting

March 5, 2002, 10:30 AM - Noon
(Location TBA)

  UNF/UFF Chapter Council Meeting

March 6 or 13, 2002, Noon - 1:30 PM
(Tentative Date) (Watch for details!)

 

Membership Luncheon/Guest Speaker

Spring Semester

  Quarterly consultation with the Administration

Issues We Are Watching

  1. UFF is vigilant with regard to contract developments following impasse. We will continue to uphold the principles of the contract with regard to salary, while maintaining our abilities to keep and to attract faculty.

  2. The 2002 Legislative session convenes on January 22. UFF is already working with legislators and staff members on your behalf. The work we do as faculty is not well understood; UFF thus represents us and is our voice in times of cutbacks and attacks on higher education. [Of note is a bill that was defeated in the November Special Session which called for state guidelines on the firing of tenured professors.]

  3. Toby Berk, UFF's Bargaining Chair and a faculty member in Computer Sciences at FIU, called our attention to a report published by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA), an organization founded by Lynne Cheney. ACTA is the same group contracted by Governor Bush last summer to "train" the members of the boards of trustees at Florida's state universities. The report, Defending Civilization: How Our Universities Are Failing America and What Can Be Done About It, noted that "professors across the country sponsored teach-ins that typically ranged from moral equivocation to explicit condemnation of America" (p. 1). The report documented 115 incidents and quotations of faculty and students following September 11 to support its premises. The full text can be found at http://www.goacta.org/Reports/defciv.pdf.

Raises Remain!-Protection Offered by the Contract
[adapted from NEA Higher Education ADVOCATE, December 2001, Vol. 20, No. 1, p. 4]

When Florida legislators-facing large state budget deficits-moved to cut faculty salaries last fall, they carefully exempted those who were covered by the United Faculty of Florida collective bargaining agreement with the State University System in Florida. In cutting over a billion dollars from the state budget, the Legislature proposed reneging on salary increases for state employees which were scheduled to begin November 1.

However, the State exempted those faculty covered by the collective bargaining agreement and thus recognized the primacy of that agreement. In 1992, the last time the Legislature tried to circumvent the agreement, UFF took the Legislature to the State Supreme Court-and won.

Notes UFF President, Tom Auxter, a philosophy professor at the University of Florida, "The next time a faculty member says that 1 percent is too much to pay in union dues, tell them the reason they have a pay raise this year-while everything around them is being cut-is that they have a collective bargaining agreement."

UFF Grows stronger with the unification of FEA and FTP

Our two state-wide teachers' unions have joined forces to provide even more support for Florida educators. The Florida Education Association (AFT affiliate) and the Florida Teaching Profession (NEA affiliate) agreed recently to merge with the result that we will have a stronger voice in the legislature, a greater support system for the local chapters, and the opportunity to champion the needs of educators.

UNF Develops an Employee Education Policy

One of the results of the 2001 Spring Legislative Session was the discontinuation of state-level support for free university courses for employees. Therefore, individual universities were left with the option of developing their own plans. UNF/UFF President Ellie Scheirer worked closely with Janet Owen to craft the UNF Employee Education Policy subsequently approved. We are now into our second term of supporting UNF employees continuing their education. While not widely used by unit members, there is no doubt that such a policy promotes a positive climate on campus!

UFF Lobbies on your Behalf

The United Faculty of Florida speaks for faculty members. Our Executive Director, Llona Geiger, stays in close contact with state officials, lobbies on our behalf, and is carefully following activities of the new Florida Board of Education and activities of the Legislature.

UFF President Tom Auxter contacted Governor Bush to express our concern about reorganization and academic freedom. President Auxter commented:

We emphasize that the debate during [last] spring and the threats to the faculty's academic freedom have been detrimental to recruiting and retaining faculty. We also believe that the new governance system will likely encourage legislative micro-management of university institutions, programs, and budget allocations in a way that will be harmful to state universities and their reputations. All the hard work we have done over the years to build an exemplary faculty in Florida is about to be undone. Faculty urge a quick resolution to this crisis. The quality of our state's university education is at stake.
Our hope is that the new boards of trustees will work with us expeditiously to adopt contract language at each university guaranteeing that our concerns will be recognized and problems will be solved. We stand ready to work with the trustees to fix problems and improve our state universities. We ask the Governor to support faculty efforts to move rapidly towards a solution.


Grievance Update

Stan Swart, the UNF/UFF Grievance Representative, has worked with several faculty to resolve local concerns through both the formal grievance process and through informal approaches. Grievances involving the procedure for merit pay and work load are still pending. The contract, your one protection against arbitrary and capricious decisions, offers a process to bring faculty and administration together to develop mutually acceptable solutions.

Know Your Contract: Grievance Procedure

The UFF/ BOR Collective Bargaining Agreement offers unit members a process to follow when they feel there may be a violation of the contract. It is important to realize that filing a grievance can open lines of communication. The first step of a grievance is to make every effort to resolve issues informally. Article 20 defines the grievance procedure. There are two items to keep in mind:

  1. You must file a grievance within 30 days of the violation (or 30 days from the date on which you learned of the violation)

  2. You may only grieve a violation of the contract. (However, we want to learn of non-contractual injustices, as there may be other routes for resolution.)

After filing a grievance and attempting to resolve it informally, the grievant and the UFF representative will meet with the Provost's representative for a formal hearing. Most (but not all) grievances are resolved at this point. The grievance process is not viewed as an assault on any supervisor or administrator, but as a way to point out discrepancies or unintentional violations of the contract. Many good administrators see the value of a document that helps keep everyone consistent with policies and procedures. And many administrators who later move to non-administrative faculty lines demonstrate their knowledge of the contract when they renew their UFF memberships!

Benefits

Union membership offers members the chance to speak with knowledgeable professionals about benefits. For example, Stan Swart has planned a benefits workshop on January 22 and 23 to focus on long-term care (LTC) insurance and to discuss several options currently available. He will discuss plans offered by UNUM through UNF and by TIAA, as well as one endorsed by FEA and another endorsed by NEA.

State-Wide Salary Study: UFF Tracks SUS Faculty Salary Data.

UFF continues to track average salaries for SUS faculty. The study from May 2001 salary data indicates that UNF has, in recent years, made some progress in the four salary levels, with more progress yet needed. In this study, all in-unit salaries were converted to full-time academic years and then averaged. (Ellie Scheirer has more data; we would welcome further analysis.)

May 2001 Salary Averages of In-Unit SUS Faculty

Professor Assoc. Prof. Asst. Prof Instructor
FAMU 66,691 55,537 49,263 37,553
FAU 74,012 58,603 46,110 35,249
FGCU 68,245 55,028 44,729 36,278
FIU 71,839 56,767 48,604 40,372
FSU 76,318 54,857 49,229 29,806
UCF 85,530 65,386 51,367 32,522
UF 81,927 59,632 50,777 25,621
UNF 69,629 53,846 44,172 33,180
USF 83,007 63,306 49,365

38,601

UWF 66,990 52,609 42,629 33,691

Membership

Our national affiliates, the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) are funding a major membership campaign for higher education in Florida. We look forward to speaking with each of you during the spring and summer terms. In these times of ambiguity and stress in higher education, it is critical that all of us support UFF with our membership and our active participation in union activities.


MEMBERSHIP FORM

Support UFF with your membership. The contract is your only form of protection on work-related issues. In addition, membership automatically includes substantial professional liability coverage, two free 30-minute legal consultations with a participating attorney each program year, and opportunities for additional savings on benefits packages. Join us!

You Can't Afford Not to Join the UFF!

Fill Out the Membership Form and Send it to: Ellie Scheirer, Division of Curriculum and Instruction, College of Education and Human Services, UNF, Building 009, Room 2507.
United Faculty of Florida (UFF-FEA-NEA) Membership Form

Membership Forms

January 23, 2002
UFF Website