UFF News & Views April 2018


UFF-UF Chapter | UFF-UCF Contract Bargaining | Community Activity
Latino Leadership Institute and UFF-UCF’s Electoral Activism and Leadership Academy | 
UFF-UCF and “Let My People Vote” at the Florida Film Festival LCLAA (Labor Council for Latin American Advancement) |
NEA Higher Education Conference | UFF-UFGAU UFF-FSCJ Chapter | UFF-FAU Chapter
UFF-Saint Leo UniversityUFF-FPU ChapterSalary Injustice


Newly Elected UFF President Dr. Karen Morian, Florida State College of Jacksonville, Talking with UFF Membership Co-Chair Teresa Hodge, Broward College

UFF-UF Chapter

by Candi Churchill, Service Unit Director, Member Rights


On October 19, 2017, White Nationalist Richard Spencer appeared at the University of Florida. Here is the story of how the university Faculty Union and Graduate Assistants Union helped organize a counter protest against Spencer’s racist message of hate.

Here is the PowerPoint presentation by Dror Abend-David and me at the NEA Higher Education Conference in Chicago on March 16, 2018. The following article appears in the next issue of NEA Thought and Action written by UF professors, Susan Hegeman and Paul Ortiz.




UFF-UCF Contract Bargaining

by Scott Launier, President

The entire contract is now open for negotiation.  We are bargaining everything from salaries, raises, and promotions to workload, health and retirement benefits, sabbaticals, non-discrimination, paid leave time and more.  Ask what you can do to help us get a good contract!


Our bargaining team working on an article during a caucus period at the Feb 1 bargaining session. Yes, that's right - the clock on the wall says it's almost 8pm!

Community Activity

UFF-UCF and Central Florida Jobs with Justice Celebrate a Victory!


UFF-UCF and JwJ, including many of our UCF students, recently took some time to celebrate a fundraising victory from our Gala event in December.  Eleven UFF-UCF members attended and contributed over $1,300 of the $15,760 that was raised--the most ever raised at this fundraiser!  Our collective contribution will go a long way this year to fighting for workers’ rights especially women and minorities, in Orlando and the greater Central Florida area.


3rd Year of the Latino Leadership Institute and UFF-UCF’s Electoral Activism and Leadership Academy!


As part of our constitutional objective to combat all forms of discrimination, we continue to offer this free academy to the public in an effort to give more people access to decision- and policy-making power, especially working people, women and minorities.  Past graduates include Emily Bonilla, Sheena Meade, Tiffany Dziekan, Robin Harris & Johanna Lopez!


UFF-UCF and “Let My People Vote” at the Florida Film Festival!

Two years ago, our UFF-UCF union began collaborating with professional filmmaker Gilda Brasch to explore voter suppression in Florida.  Filming promptly focused on the efforts of Desmond Meade and the voter rights restoration movement, and is now a short documentary that will premiere at the Florida Film Festival on April 9 and 11!  

I am proud our union can point to this success regarding our constitutional objective to combat discrimination.  Click Here if you would like to see a trailer or make a donation to help with final production costs.  For tickets:  https://www.floridafilmfestival.com/films/let-my-people-vote/


LCLAA (Labor Council for Latin American Advancement)

The Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) is the leading national organization for Latino(a) workers and their families.  Annual dues are only $20!  To learn more and become a dues-paying member:  https://www.lclaa.org/ 

We Object!

UFF-UCF is currently pursuing various options to challenge the new UCF Syllabus Policy that now requires you to consult with your supervisor before you may make any schedule changes in your syllabus, in addition to other new requirements that could pose problems for faculty, e.g. you “must record all grades in Webcourses.”

We Win!

UFF-UCF successfully upheld phased retirement rights for a tenured, research faculty member who was being told by the administration that in order to use phased retirement, they would have to become a full-time instructor.

UFF-UCF successfully upheld the rights of two faculty members to have their sabbatical applications considered after the administration took a position their applications should be thrown out due to ineligibility.  One of these members will now be taking a sabbatical in the fall 2018 semester.  Congratulations!!!

Parkland – Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School

Our hearts and thoughts are with everyone affected by this tragedy.  Our union chapter is on call to support our FEA sisters and brothers, our students, and our community in any way that we can.


UFF-SCF Chapter

By Courtney Ruffner, President

On Wednesday, August 16, 2017, members of the State College of Florida UFF chapter assembled to launch their first executive meeting before the semester got underway. The board of the UFF-SCF chapter met first to line up semester activities and strategize regarding membership drives and Grievance committee training. A short meeting followed where the board welcomed negotiators and committee chairs to join discussing new academic year ideas. Finally, the evening culminated in a two-hour social for union chapter members. It’s always a productive and great time at Motorworks Brewery in Bradenton where the meetings and social were held.


NEA Higher Education Conference

by Martin Balinsky, TCC Vice-President


On Thursday and Friday, March 15 and March 16, 2018, an enthusiastic crew of newly formed United Faculty of Florida (UFF) chapter leadership from across the Sunshine State descended upon Chicago to attend the NEA Higher Education Conference and to present a workshop on their successful organizing campaigns. From Florida Polytechnic University, Rich Matyi and Christina Drake, from State College of Florida-Manatee/Sarasota, Courtney Ruffner and Jennifer Bieselin, from Tallahassee Community College, Martin Balinsky, and from a prospective new chapter at Pasco-Hernando Community College, Caitlin Gille. The leaders traveled there with UFF Executive Director Marshall Ogletree, UFF statewide president Karen Morian, and UFF service unit director Candi Churchill, who also presented on the Richard Spencer incident at the University of Florida. Other Florida chapters represented at the conference were FAMU, UCF, FGCU, and UF.

The meeting began on Thursday evening with a rousing speech over dinner by the dynamic NEA President Lily Eskelsen-Garcia, whose recent advocacy against arming teachers won praise on the John Oliver show. There were also rousing speeches from NEA Higher Education Council Chair Dewayne Schaeffer and NEA Vice President Becky Pringle.

On Friday the group attended a variety of sessions at the workshop. There was a lunch session update and information session regarding the upcoming Janus Supreme Court ruling on agency fees. And, of course, the group’s presentation itself.

The presentation, by Matyi, Drake, Ruffner, and Balinsky, highlighted on-campus events that triggered unionization efforts on each of their campuses, challenges and pitfalls during the organizing campaign, and advice for other chapters during their push towards a successful vote. All three chapters had remarkable margins of victory (75-24 at SCF, 38-6 at Florida Polytech, and 139-22 at TCC). The leaders are hopeful for a successful vote soon at Pasco Hernando. They received important and helpful advice from veteran leaders at campuses around the nation. They played videos their chapters had recorded during the organizing campaigns, and also played a video on how to avoid union-busting strategies during organization campaigns.

The new Florida chapters were also singled out as examples of growing interest in unionization in Florida and received hearty applause at the Friday luncheon for the encouragement they provide to the rest of the nation.




by Mary Roca. Co-President

We have been having an exciting Spring semester at the University of Florida chapter of Graduate Assistants United.

At the beginning of the Spring 2018 semester, we began the ratification process of the full contract that we had been bargaining with UF administration over the last year. Following the ratification vote, we ratified the contract with UF administration by a final tally of 176 “yes” votes to 0 “no” votes. Important changes to the contract include increases in minimum stipends, raises and fee relief for all graduate assistants, decreases in dependent healthcare costs, expanded anti-discrimination and academic freedom protections, additional leave of absence options, and improved employee evaluation process.

Following contract ratification, we started to reach out to departments to hold contract education sessions for Graduate Assistants, graduate coordinators and secretaries, and any interested faulty members in order to highlight new changes in the contract and answer questions regarding Graduate Assistant rights and benefits. This is an ongoing effort that has enabled us to reach out to 10 different departments so far.

Besides the contract education endeavor, we are also improving the Steward system by surveying current stewards and implementing a steward and membership training session in April. The goal is to reinforce the existing steward system and find out ways to better support stewards on being the connections between the departments and GAU.

Our members enjoyed Socials with UFF, Membership Socials, and a GatorGradCare Wellness Screening that provided participants with a $50 Amazon gift card. A General Body Meeting and Election will happen later in April. GAU will have new Co-president, Treasurer, and Grievance Chair.

We will continue our effort and advocacy for all Graduate Assistants to make their employment at UF a better experience. We intend to press on with membership and organizing campaigns for a strong union with a strong voice.


UFF-FSCJ Chapter

by Chris Goodell, CEBS, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, Six Sigma Green Belt Professor of Business


UFF-FSCJ Members Only Lunch and Learn November 17, 2017

-          Topic:  Benefits available through NEA, AFT, and UFF as members of UFF-FSCJ


What could be better than a Friday afternoon of food, fellowship, and fundamentals on union membership benefits?  The program was provided by Professor Christina Goodell, a UFF-FSCJ Team member.  The educational session was hosted on Friday, November 17, 2017.  Attendees learned of the member benefits through UFF-FSCJ that, as members of UFF-FSCJ, also gain membership to NEA, AFT, and of course UFF.  Did you know that you can find your Union Membership ID on the NEA Higher Education Advocate Magazine above your address? Attendees established member benefit accounts online and learned directly of the various benefits available and applicable to each individual.   For example, some attendees were interested in the discounts available to union members; others in the teaching resources; while others in the retirement planning offerings.  Also, members enjoyed fellowship together in small groups to share current issues and to share best practices. UFF-FSCJ President Harvey Slentz shared the benefits of union representation that we, as members, enjoy. Future educational topics were also recommended by our member attendees.  This educational session closed out our program offerings for 2017 with much appreciation from attendees. More are scheduled in 2018 by UFF-FSCJ, thanks in large part to the interest and recommendations of our UFF-FSCJ members.


UFF-FAU Chapter

by Meredith Mountford, UFF-FAU President

The chapter recently won a settlement for the College of Engineering faculty who originally did not receive merit raises during the last negotiations.  The chapter won back the merit raises after filing a chapter grievance for those faculty members.


Ted Deutch (left), Democratic Congressman for Florida's 22nd District, Meredith Mountford (middle), UFF-FAU President, and Chris Robe (right) UFF-FAU recruitment chair at a Family Day Membership Recruitment Rally at Boca Lanes in Boca Raton, Florida.


UFF-Saint Leo University

By Doris Van Kampen-Breit, President

Negotiations are moving along slowly. UFSLU has given the administration a number of proposals over the last several months, and we are hopeful that we are getting close to agreement on some of the major points. However, with a new Provost, things may change. The new Provost has never worked with a union, and we may hit a few bumps in the road as he gets acquainted with the University culture, and with our Union. We are hopeful that the bumps will not turn into walls. 

I have met with Dr. Senese recently, and believes he can become an ally, as we all want what is best for the students. He wants much of the details for Promotion and Tenure and other matters to be in the Faculty handbook, and referenced in the CBA. We have not sat down with him at the table, as of yet, but he has indicated his interest in getting involved in negotiations. 

It feels like a positive first move, and we are hopeful that he really means to include faculty going forward, rather than dictating to us as has been the problem in the past. 

Two potential grievances have been resolved, and one active grievance is on hold, awaiting a university investigation into academic freedom and faculty rights. These issues are also a subject in bargaining.


UFF-FPU Chapter

by Rich Matyi, Chapter President

The Florida Polytechnic chapter of the UFF has spent Spring 2018 in a series of ongoing, regularly-scheduled negotiations for our first collective bargaining agreement. Regular meetings are scheduled through the remaining Spring semester. We are currently working on the “meat” of the CBA, with articles on Compensation, Promotion, and Evaluation (among several others) in the middle of negotiations. Negotiation sessions have been lengthened in an effort to bring the process to a conclusion at the earliest possible date.

Support activities by the UFF on behalf of our faculty and staff have been on the increase. In one case, a non-teaching professional staff member who is part of our bargaining unit has received direct support from the UFF. In this case, the record shows that this employee had her pay grade demoted without the University notifying the UFF or engaging in collective bargaining over this change. Based on their findings, the UFF filed a Cease & Desist – Demand to Bargain with the University in order to return the employee’s paygrade to its former state. At the same time, members of the bargaining unit are increasingly reaching out for union assistance in times when discussions with the university administration may lead to the invoking of Weingarten rights. Clearly, our faculty and staff colleagues are noticing the positive impact of UFF representation: four new members have joined up this Spring, bringing our union membership to 60% of the bargaining unit.


Salary Injustice

University of North Florida faculty union discuss injustice of faculty salaries of former administrators in this article from Folio Weekly Magazine.

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