UFF News & Views Fall 2018


Article in order:  
From the PresidentElections Matter – Now More Than Ever | Tallahassee UFF Chapters Sponsor Early Voting Rally
UFF Continues to Grow | Chapters Win Membership Awards at the FEA Delegate Assembly
Consolidating USFState College of Florida Celebrates Second Union Anniversary
UNF Chapter Supporting Union Brothers and Sisters and New Contract |
UF-GAU Chapter ReportFSU Chapter Report FAU Contract Settlement | 

From the President

Greetings friends, colleagues, and sisters and brothers in education,

My name is Karen Morian and it is my honor and my privilege to be the new president of the United Faculty of Florida. I just wanted to take a moment to introduce myself. I’m a Florida native who attended public schools and has two graduate degrees from one of our outstanding state universities. My pedigree as an educator comes from my mother, who was a public school teacher for 35 years, and I found my calling the first moment I stepped into a classroom. My union heritage comes from both my mother, who was an FEA member and one of those amazing teachers who walked out 50 years ago to improve public education in Florida, and from my father, who was a union electrician. Both were big believers in the power of education to improve people’s lives, as am I. You will hear more from me in the coming months, but please know that I intend to be a fierce advocate for our members, for students, and for the benefits that Higher Education can bring to our communities.

In solidarity,
Karen Morian, Ph.D.
President, UF


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Elections Matter – Now More Than Ever

I know you’ve heard before that this is the “most important election in your lifetime”, and they probably were, up to that point. But this is where we are now.

I want to remind everyone who is unhappy with a contract, or who has been struggling through impasse or slow negotiations that we can do something about those challenges on the front end. As you know, the governor appoints our boards, and they, in turn, hire our presidents, who hire everybody else. Just think how much easier our lives would be if we had boards appointed by a pro-education, pro-union governor! We could ensure that our pensions and intellectual property are protected, and higher education might even be adequately funded where we begin to see raises that exceed the cost-of-living.

We also are fortunate this year to have a lot of our historical adversaries being challenged by friends of education. UFF was represented in the FEA endorsement meetings where candidates were graded on their performance on our issues (not on their political affiliations). Endorsed candidates had high grades and held strong positions on issues important to you and UFF.

Find the list of those endorsed candidates here: https://feaweb.org/elections#endorsements.

With just a few changes in the Florida Senate, we can again stop the flood of anti-education and anti-union bills coming out of the legislature. And of course, we want to elect as many pro-education supporters to the Florida House, as well.

UFF-PAC has made contributions to a few of these candidates, but our PAC has limited funds this year. You can help us help our friends by contributing to our PAC. Please send checks made out to UFF-PAC: 115 N. Calhoun St. Suite 6 Tallahassee, FL 32301. We are working on setting up an online contribution mechanism, but, in the meantime, you can call the office to make a credit card contribution: 850-224-8220 Remember, only members may contribute to UFF-PAC.

We must all pitch in to help elect those candidates who will do right by us. If your local UFF chapter is working with your Central Labor Council or with the local teachers’ union or with another UFF chapter, please get involved in that work. If not, please consider reaching out to the candidate of your choice and offering yourself as a volunteer. Aside from door-knocking, there will be many opportunities for phone banking, texting, and helping with data entry. Some of this work you can even do from home.

This election will be close in many races, and your help in getting out the vote (GOTV) will be crucial. If we want elected officials who will stand up for educators, then we must show up for them. Again, please consider getting involved, even if you never have before. Remember, “democracy is not a spectator sport.”

In solidarity,
Karen Morian, Ph.D.
President, UFF


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Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum and Senator Bill Nelson endorsed for Governor and US Senate




Tallahassee UFF Chapters Sponsor Early Voting Rally

The faculty and GAU chapters of both FAMU and FSU rallied members and students to march to the Early Voting site at FSU on October 22nd. This was the first day of Early Voting in Tallahassee and recognized that FSU and other colleges and universities throughout Florida were being opened for student early voting. FEA officers attended the rally and FEA President Fed Ingram urged the march participants to continue urging students, faculty, friends, and family to vote by mail, early vote, or show up on November 6thto cast your vote in this very important election. Click here to watch a video of FEA President Fedrick Ingram interviewing UFF-FSU-GAU President Adela Ghadimi during the rally: https://www.facebook.com/floridaea/videos/1920096141401073/

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From the Executive Director

UFF Continues to Grow

In April and in October, faculties at Pasco-Hernando State College and Lake-Sumter State College respectively voted to form bargaining chapters und affiliations with United Faculty of Florida.

In doing so, they became the twenty-ninth and thirtieth UFF chapters and the fourth and fifth new chapters in the past two years. With the addition of Lake-Sumter, UFF passed the 8,000-member barrier and are poised to continue adding new members and college chapters in the future.

The Pasco-Hernando Chapter has adopted its Constitution and Bylaws and elected Caitlin Gille President and Gary Oesch Vice-President. They have begun internal meetings to prepare for upcoming bargaining with assistance from both UFF and FEA staff.

The Lake-Sumter chapter is just two weeks old but are also making plans to develop their guiding documents and elections. As Debby Hicks, Faculty organizer and Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences, said “Today we stood up for our students, ourselves, and Lake-Sumter State College. We are moving in a new direction and I am proud and excited to be a part of this movement.

And, UFF is proud to have such dedicated professionals at these colleges take a stand to improve higher education and faculty rights at their institutions. Welcome aboard!!


Chapters Win Membership Awards at the FEA Delegate Assembly

The following chapters were awarded the FEA Gold Membership Award for growth in the 2017-18 fiscal year. Hillsborough Community College Chapter also received the Platinum Membership Award for over 70% membership. Tallahassee Community College will also receive the Platinum Award.

East Florida State College
Broward College
Chipola College
Florida SouthWestern College
Florida State College at Jacksonville
Hillsborough Community College
Pensacola State College
Seminole State College
Tallahassee Community College
St Leo University

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Consolidating USF

By Greg McColm, UFF-USF Secretary

Last spring, Governor Rick Scott signed a “Florida Excellence in Higher Education Act of 2018” mandating that the University of South Florida system be a single accredited university by June 30, 2020.  USF is now a system with three campuses, with 44,000 students in Tampa, 5,000 students in St. Petersburg, and 2,000 students in Sarasota.  The bill was pushed by local legislators with limited local support (the USF Administration was not enthusiastic); the rationale was that as the Tampa campus had “pre-eminence” status, if the other two campuses were also part of a single university, all would be pre-eminent.

The Act mandated a task force to design a consolidation that would satisfy both the Legislature and USF’s accreditor, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).  SACS told USF that one university meant one mission statement, one main campus, one college for each academic area (e.g. USF can only have one College of Business, not three), one set of tenure and promotion criteria, etc.

The USF Administration and the task force are apparently moving towards a proposal that the research mission of the Tampa campus be imposed on the other two campuses.  Unfortunately, many faculty and professionals at the smaller campuses have heavier teaching loads and less resources for research, and now it looks as if they might face the same tenure and promotion criteria.

UFF has been working with the USF Administration to protect faculty and to make give faculty a voice in proceedings in which UFF itself has limited input.  Meanwhile, USF President Judy Genshaft has announced her retirement effective next summer, which has added additional uncertainty to the situation

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State College of Florida Celebrates Second Union Anniversary

By Courtney Ruffner-Grieneisen, Chapter President

On the anniversary of our two years as a union chapter, I wrote to our chapter with good news.

We bargained on Tuesday, September 18 for three hours. The concentration for these three hours was Article 14: Assignments and Overloads. After 8 months and 5 drafts of this article, bouncing back and forth between our UFF negotiating team and the BOT / Admin. Negotiating team, it all came down to ONE word. In line 16 of the article, it reads, “fulltime faculty will be given first preference of teaching assignments…” This is the language our negotiating team bargained for, that our fulltime faculty should be given “preference” in having their courses assigned.

The issue that consumed much of the three hours today was with the word “preference.” The BOT/admin negotiating team wanted the word “consideration” to replace “preference” so the line would read, “fulltime faculty will be given first consideration of teaching assignments…” We negotiated the remainder of the article conceding to some assignment logistics in terms of department Chairs and Program managers showing good faith in our bargaining, but we would not concede that word. While it seems such a trivial thing, “consideration” is very difficult to prove to an arbitrator should we need to grieve a violation of this article in the future. This one word will protect our faculty in a way that “consideration” will not. 

Ultimately, when the BOT/Admin refused to show us good faith and concede to this word choice, we began to pack up. They called for an additional caucus where they ultimately conceded to the word choice and the article was signed by both sides. In the end, it was a good negotiation.

Editor’s Note: First contracts are difficult but patience and right prevails in this case. In Solidarity!

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UNF Chapter Supporting Union Brothers and Sisters and New Contract

By Kally Malcom-Bjorklund, Senator


Liz Brown (UFF-UNF Alternate Senator) and Mike Trotter (UNF Treasurer, AFSCME). Mike Trotter is holding the stack of gift cards for his chapter.

Fall semester has been busy for the UFF-UNF chapter. Knowing that many UNF staff members are paid low salaries for vital work, we aimed to show solidarity with our sister unions for staff (AFSCME) and campus police (PBA) for Labor Day, and gave each AFSCME and PBA member a note of gratitude with a $20 grocery gift card to express our appreciation for their work on campus.

UFF-UNF also recently ratified a three-year contract (the BOT will vote to ratify on October 11), which includes a 2% across-the-board raise for AY 2017-2018 and another ATB 2% raise for 2018-2019. Additionally, after a roughly seven-year effort, UFF-UNF’s bargaining team has successfully argued for a paid parental leave policy in our new CBA.

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UF-GAU Chapter Report

By Bobby Mermer, Co-President

Since the start of the new academic year UF GAU has received nearly 150 new membership signups and we presented at 30 orientation sessions across campus. Our UFF Fellows have been working closely with Graduate Assistants across campus in departments like Chemistry, Geology, Astronomy, Pharmacy, Psychology, Math, Sociology, and Geology. Many of the problems brought to them were about healthcare and workload issues. We are now planning monthly stewards’ meetings prior to monthly happy hours to encourage more member involvement.

Prior to the October 9 voter registration deadline, the 2018 UF-GAU political education program worked to ensure all UF-GAU members and household members with citizenship were registered to vote in Alachua County. Leading up to the election the political education committee will work towards maximizing voter turnout among our members and encouraging them to vote for candidates endorsed by the United Faculty of Florida, the Florida Education Association, and the North Central Florida Central Labor Council. Volunteer canvassers will distribute voter education guides to all graduate housing residents and a physical list of endorsements will either be mailed to members or distributed through the steward network on campus

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FSU Chapter Report

By Matthew Lata, President

UFF-FSU is preparing for our full book negotiation later this year.  We recently held a bargaining forum open to all members in order to get ideas and suggestions for improvements to the contract.  Concerns include academic freedom, just cause, parental leave, sabbaticals, market equity, and of course salaries.   

Recruiting efforts continue after we signed up over 35 new members during New Faculty Orientation and more during a recruiting drive last week.  We're grateful to Candi Churchill for coming to campus to help.  All eyes are on November 6, and we've been as active as possible in encouraging faculty and students to register to vote. Together with our colleagues at FAMU and TCC, and the GAUs at FSU and FAMU, we'll be walking to our on-campus early voting site on October 22, the first day of early voting, to draw attention to the process. The most important thing we can do this fall is to get out the vote.    

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FAU Contract Settlement

By Bob Zoeller, Chief Negotiator

Highlights to the settlement are as follows:


Potential 6.0% increase over 3 years to the base salary:

1% base salary increase for 2018 – 19, 2019-20, and 2020-21.

A 1% merit base wage increase for the years 2018-2019, 2019-2020, and 2020-2021 contingent upon earning a 3 or higher on annual performance evaluation.

  • Establishes SUS BOG Performance Metrics Student Success Task Force
  • Does NOT include any language linking compensation to the Performance Metrics
  • The new proposed language raises the minimum salary for Senior Instructors to $45,000.
  • Removed the language limiting promotion raises for Senior/University Instructor/Lecturer:

FAU School (FAUS) K-12 faculty:

  • Permanent status faculty are now also eligible for promotion raises
  • All eligible non-permanent status FAUS employees will receive a 2% base salary increase in 2018-2019, 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 for achieving an overall performance rating of Highly Effective or 1.5% base salary increase for achieving an overall performance rating of Effective.
  • All eligible permanent status FAUS employees shall receive a 1.99% base salary increase in 2018-2019, 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 for achieving an overall performance rating of Highly Effective or 1.49% base salary increase for achieving an overall performance rating of Effective.
  • The minimum starting salary for Permanent Status employees is now $45,500
  • The minimum starting salary for Annual contract employees is now $42,000
  • Does NOT include any language linking compensation to the DOE Performance Metrics.

Free University Courses for Employees and Dependent Children 2.0

The process for accessing and receiving reimbursement for free university courses for dependent children is much improved. No more 4-year graduation requirement or waiting until graduation for a rebate.


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