UFF News & Views December 2016


Time to Move….Forward | UFF Senate Fall 2016 | 

FEA Delegate Assembly Fall 2016UFF-UF-GAU Scores Important Victory for Pay Equity | 

UFF-UCF | FUSA – UFF at Hillsborough Community CollegeUFF Membership Over 7000!






Time to Move….Forward
By Jennifer Proffitt, UFF President

Now more than ever, it is important that we all work together diligently and deliberatively to advance and protect higher education at the local, state and national levels. Our students deserve nothing less. And when our students, colleagues, friends and neighbors are threatened by hateful words and actions, we must be there to condemn the bigotry, racism, misogyny and xenophobia that have become so prominent in the wake of the elections. This requires us to be civically engaged and committed to social justice, equity and equality.

To counter the divisive rhetoric and the attacks on higher education, we need to organize. We are planning regional Legislative and Political Academies in the early spring to get ready for the 2017 Legislative session, which officially begins March 7, with interim Committee meetings beginning in December, and to look ahead to the 2018 elections. More information will be sent in the coming weeks. We’d like to encourage at least two to four people from each chapter to attend with the goal of creating local political action teams that will meet with legislators, inform colleagues of legislative actions and mobilize people to act. We also hope that chapters in the same geographic areas will collaborate to help their members become more engaged in the process.

We are anticipating the return of guns on campus bills as well as challenges to the state health and retirement systems. We are also proactively working on legislation that would provide fee relief for our graduate assistants and amendments to the performance funding statute that aim to change the punitive, one-size-fits-all performance funding scheme that is currently in place.  To do this, though, we will need your help. Please keep an eye out for legislative updates and calls for action and share them with your members (be sure, though, to only send calls for action to members’ personal email addresses).



UFF Senate Fall 2016
By Jennifer Proffitt, UFF President

Each spring, UFF chapters elect members to serve as senators. Every February and September, these leaders attend a statewide UFF meeting to determine the direction of our union and its finances as well as organize in bargaining councils—university, college, graduate assistants and independent colleges—to discuss bargaining and other issues our constituencies face. We also provide training workshops at our September meeting.

The September UFF Senate meeting included several important trainings and special guests. National Education Association (NEA) Secretary Treasurer Princess Moss joined us Saturday. She spoke to the Senate about NEA’s work with higher education and her support of UFF, and she encouraged Senators to engage in the political process. Florida Education Association (FEA) President Joanne McCall also attended the meeting, urging senators to get out the vote and to vote for candidates who support public education.

Trainings at the Senate meeting included a workshop for chapter treasurers with FEA Secretary Treasurer Luke Flynt and FEA Director of Financial Services Amber Swords. NEA’s Associate Director of Field Organizing Melissa Case and NEA Higher Education Organizer Valerie Wilk led a membership workshop, and FEA staff counsels Peter Caldwell and Maria Kazouris provided grievance training. UFF Executive Director Marshall Ogletree, NEA Political and Community Organizer Lee Hedgepeth, and Lynda Russell from FEA’s Public Policy Advocacy facilitated legislative and political trainings.

Motions passed at the Senate meeting included:

  • UFF will encourage FEA to oppose uniform (one-size-fits-all) performance-metric-based funding for higher education in Florida.
  • UFF will encourage FEA to hire a lobbyist dedicated to higher education issues.
  • President of UFF appoint a taskforce to make a recommendation to the Senate in February concerning issues of incarceration.
  • UFF support legislation to waive GA fees.
  • UFF extends thanks to Senator Miguel Diaz de la Portilla for his staunch support of UFF against guns on campus legislation.

The State University System (SUS), the College, and Graduate Assistants United (GAU) Bargaining Councils also elected new Vice Presidents. Congratulations to James Muchovej (FAMU), who will serve as the SUS VP, to Karen Morian (FSCJ), who will serve as the College Bargaining Council VP, and to Matt Dauphin (FSU-GAU), who will serve as the GAU VP.  Jack McTague (St. Leo) remains the Independent College Bargaining Council VP.  A big thank you to you all for your service.

We look forward to the February Senate meeting scheduled for February 18-19 at the Hilton Altamonte Springs. If you are interested in serving as a senator for your chapter, please contact your chapter’s president.



FEA Delegate Assembly Fall 2016
By Jennifer Proffitt, UFF President

The FEA Delegate Assembly, held October 20-22 in Orlando, was filled with politics and policy, with President Bill Clinton addressing the Assembly Friday morning. Patrick Murphy, who ran for the U.S. Senate against Marco Rubio, spoke Saturday morning.

A significant, pointed, and poignant presentation focusing on institutional racism was led by David Johns, executive director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans, and included students, community leaders and education professionals who spoke about their experiences and challenges as they confront and expose institutional racism. In light of the recent elections, we hope to continue this critically important conversation at our future UFF Senate meetings.

The Delegate Assembly is the place where the organization sets its goals and priorities for the coming year. UFF is an affiliate of the FEA, and as such, helps direct the organization’s legislative and policy agenda. UFF proposed two pieces of this platform.

  • FEA will work closely with UFF to oppose uniform (one-size-fits all) and punitive performance-metric-based funding for higher education.
  • FEA will not partner with private, non-unionized institutions of higher education without investigation by and approval of UFF.

We also had a special introduction of the leaders at our newest UFF chapters: State College of Florida, Florida Polytechnic and Tallahassee Community College, as well as St. Petersburg College, which is waiting for a date for its union election. We are so proud of the efforts of our new and soon-to-be chapters. Their organizing committees were amazing as they met the challenges and obstacles thrown at them by their administrations and continue to be as they work through their bylaws and officer elections. 

Further, several UFF chapters won awards for membership gains:

2016 Gold Membership Awards (awarded for a 2 percent net density increase)

  • Florida State University
  • University of Central Florida
  • University of North Florida
  • University of West Florida
  • Eastern Florida State College
  • Chipola College
  • Palm Beach State College
  • Tallahassee Community College
  • Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University – Graduate Assistants United


2016       Platinum Membership Awards (awarded for maintaining 70 percent or more membership density)

  • Broward College
  • Florida Southwestern State College (formally Edison College)
  • Hillsborough Community College
  • Palm Beach State College
  • St. Leo University

Congratulations to the leadership of each of these chapters for these important awards. As we know, increased membership increases our power both at our institutions and statewide. Let’s aim to win even more awards at next year’s Delegate Assembly!

A huge thank you to the delegates who attended this year’s meeting. The FEA Delegate Assembly is an important forum for higher education issues to be heard by our pre-K-12 sisters and brothers and our state organization. If you are interested in serving as an FEA delegate, please contact your chapter president.


Jennifer Proffitt and new UFF chapter leaders;
(L to R) George Greenlee (St. Petersburg College),
Jeff Grieneisen (State College of Florida, Manatee, Sarasota),
Courtney Ruffner (State College of Florida, Manatee, Sarasota)
and David Foster (Florida Polytechnic University)
Teresa Hodge (Broward College) at FEA DA




UFF-UF-GAU Scores Important Victory for Pay Equity

On October 26, UFF-UF-GAU won a significant raise in minimum stipends for GAs, as well as a flat raise and a slight increase in fee relief. According to the tentative agreement reached between the union and UF negotiators, minimum stipends for GAs employed at half-time will be increased to $15,000 for those on 9-month assistantships and to $20,077 for those on 12-month assistantships (previously, these minimums were set at $13,000 and $17,400, respectively). In addition, every GA will receive a flat raise of $290 and fee relief totaling $60, effective January 1, 2017. UFF-UF-GAU achieved these victories as part of the contract reopeners that it negotiates annually with the University of Florida.

Both the raise in the minimum stipends and the flat raise builds on UFF-UF-GAU’s recent efforts to address the issue of pay equity among members of its bargaining unit. While the union is strongly committed to improving the working conditions of all GAs, UFF-UF-GAU believes it has an obligation to immediately address the needs of those who are lowest paid, many of whom live below the federal poverty line. The flat raise structure meets this priority by ensuring that the lowest and highest paid GAs share equally in annually negotiated raises.

UF agreed early in the negotiating process to the union’s proposal to raise minimum GA stipends. But negotiations over the across-the-board flat raise and fee relief were more contentious; indeed, agreement on these items was reached just two weeks before the impasse deadline. Initially, UF proposed an across-the-board raise of 1.5 percent, which the union rejected as too low and against last year’s precedent of flat raises. UFF-UF-GAU Bargaining Chair John Hames, who led the union’s negotiating team, pointed out that such a raise would mark the third straight year in which across-the-board GA raises decreased. Given UF’s $126 million in unrestricted net assets, President Kent Fuchs’s stated commitment to improving GA working conditions, and the university’s record levels of fundraising, Hames argued, a 1.5 percent raise would send a clear signal: UF does not prioritize its GAs.

During the negotiations that followed, UFF-UF-GAU strongly disputed the administration’s claim that its ability to offer raises is restricted by declines in state funding. Though UF’s negotiators refused to budge from this, the across-the-board raise and fee relief package that UFF-UF-GAU negotiated (which totals $350 per GA) represents significant movement from UF’s initial offer (effectively $285 per GA). The tentative agreement on the across-the-board raise and fee relief by itself comes close to last year’s raise as a percentage of what UF claims is available for raises. Combined with the raise in minimum GA stipends, though, this tentative agreement actually amounts to a larger percentage of state funds than UFF-UF-GAU won last year.

In addition to the raises and fee relief, UFF-UF-GAU and UF administration agreed to changes in the contract that would allow the union to hire two more GAs on released-time per year. These agreements come as the union and UF administration prepare to open the full CBA, which is expected to happen before the end of the year. In their full book negotiations, UFF-UF-GAU’s negotiating team hopes to fend off attempts by UF to make changes to the GA healthcare plan. They will also press for fundamental changes to the structure of student fees, which currently cost UF GAs up to $1,900 per year.

From the left, facing the camera: UF-GAU Chief Negotiator John Hames; Co-Presidents Alec Dinnin and Taylor Polvadore; UFF's Candi Churchill; and UF-GAU Coordinator Mary Roca





UFF-UCF and UCF BOT reached tentative agreement on all articles, including several new benefits.

Among this year’s agreements are:

  -- Nearly doubling the number of incentive awards offered to faculty annually, including increasing the number of Teaching Incentive Program (TIP) awards from 40 to 55 and increasing the number of Research Incentive Awards (RIAs) from 20 to 55; thus bringing the total number of awards from 70 to 120. The increased number of awards will become available in 2017-18.

-- A voluntary phased retirement program for faculty who are not in the state’s deferred retirement option program.

-- UCF tuition waivers for up to six credit hours to dependent children and spouses of faculty members.

-- A 0.2 percent equity pool for 9-month, in-unit faculty making less than $45,000 and for 12-month, in-unit faculty making less than $60,000.

-- A 1 percent across-the-board salary increase and a 1.5 percent merit pool for in-unit faculty.

The above salary increase and benefits apply to in-unit faculty. All in-unit faculty eligible for the across-the-board increase also will receive a one-time payment of $970 on Dec. 16, or as soon as practicable thereafter.

The next steps for these bargained articles include a vote by in-unit faculty and ratification by the university’s Board of Trustees.



FUSA – UFF at Hillsborough Community College
By Barry Hubbard, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Computer Science

President, Faculty United Service Association (FUSA)

The Hillsborough Community College Board of Trustees and administration signed a three-year contract with FUSA-UFF at their October 2016 meeting. Significant changes and gains include the implementation of a salary step system that addresses compression, standardization of above-base increases at hire based on prior experience, and step increases for advancement in faculty rank. Additionally, the post-tenure evaluation process was further developed to include a formal performance improvement plan over a two-year timeframe.




UFF Membership Over 7000!
By Marshall Ogletree


UFF Membership has eclipsed the 7,000 milestone. We are now at 7,168 members and according to our records the highest UFF membership ever!!

Congratulations especially go to chapters at FSU, FAU, FAMU GAU and UF-GSU for recent increases. GAU membership has grown by 150 members or 12.5 percent over 2015-16.

In the next three weeks we will be meeting with faculty from two more state colleges about the potential for organizing their faculty as new UFF chapters. UFF is growing stronger every day!

Finally, let’s continue meeting with new hires on your campuses. Listen to their feedback and provide them information about the successes of UFF and your chapter. Growing membership at your chapter and at UFF will make a big difference as we confront issues at the bargaining table and in the Florida Legislature.

UFF at FEA Delegate Assembly

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