Archive for the ‘Bargaining’ Category

Collective Bargaining Agreement 2010-13 now in effect

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

The Board of Trustees ratified the 2010-13 Collective Bargaining Agreement between the BOT and the United Faculty of Florida, and it is now in effect. To read a human-friendly version of the new CBA, head to an experiment in an annotated online CBA.


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Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

One colleague had problems earlier today logging into the ratification site and received a “session timed out” error message. The response from the tech support for

[Your colleague's] browser is set to reject all cookies. She can change this by googling ‘enable cookies’, finding the instructions for her type of web browser, and allowing cookies either for all sites or for the domain


Ratification on tentative agreement for 2010-2013 Collective Bargaining Agreement voting now open

Friday, September 24th, 2010

Earlier today, the United Faculty of Florida and the USF Board of Trustees signed off on the last pieces of a tentative agreement for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement to run 2010-2013. Descriptions of changes in the new contract (if ratified) and links to relevant documents are on the ratification page. Most of this round’s bargaining history is on the bargaining page.

Click on this link to vote. You will need the seven-character ratification code sent to in-unit employees in late August. Click on this link to request another copy of your code (please submit the request by the end of Tuesday, September 28). Voting will be open through the end of business Tuesday, October 5.

As chapter president, I strongly recommend voting to approve the contract. The statewide executive director, Ed Mitchell, also recommends voting to approve the contract. This is not a perfect contract. While it puts the domestic partner health insurance stipend program and expanded sabbaticals into the collective bargaining agreement as permanent language, and it has merit raises to base salaries for 2010-11 and 2011-12, it does not have the raises I think are just and appropriate for promoted instructors.

This is a tough bargaining environment, and this contract is the best or close to the best I think we could have gotten. The chapter agreed to a reduction in the release units and other concessions to preserve the existing layoff language and other important rights. The tentative agreement is much better than the likely alternative we faced at the time of the agreement (the end of the impasse process), and it is far better than what would happen if the agreement is rejected and we return to impasse. I urge all faculty and professional employees in the unit to vote for the tentative agreement.


Why I will vote for the 2010-2013 tentative agreement

Friday, September 17th, 2010

(To all in-unit faculty and professional employees: please provide input on the ratification voting process on the right: “Should the referendum on the 2010-13 collective bargaining agreement be conducted in person or through the online process we used for the last two Memoranda of Understanding?”)

I am voting for the 2010-2013 CBA tentative agreement as a reasonable agreement in very hard times. Bargaining for a successor to the 2008-09 collective bargaining agreement began in May 2009, and bargaining in the last 16 months has been difficult. This is the worst economy in the state for decades, and a number of unions in Florida have either declared impasse or had their employers declare impasse on bargaining. So the fact that the Board of Trustees declared impasse June 1, 2010, is in part a sign of the times.

There are several parts of the proposal that are imperfect from my perspective, most importantly the unequal promotion raises (6% for instructors, 9% plus flat additions for other ranked faculty) and the summer salary cap for the next three years. They are balanced by the gains: increased sabbaticals, retained layoff protection for senior instructors, small raises for this year and next, and making the domestic partner health insurance stipend a permanent part of the contract beyond the ratified MOU. This is not a great contract in comparison with other years for many unions. But it is a contract that retains important protections, makes some small advances, and provides sunset dates for two of the provisions that I think need sunset dates rather than permanent status (supplemental summer teaching pay caps and administrative discretion for pay increases).

When we prepared for the impasse process in June, July, and August, I made sure that going through impasse would be as painful as possible for management without stepping over legal or my personal ethical boundaries. That doesn’t mean that completing the impasse process would have been wise for UFF. The executive director of UFF and I were representing union interests in the second of three days of formal hearings in the impasse process when an opportunity for a settlement arose. It was clearly imperfect, but it was there, and it’s a sane individual who can prepare a solid campaign but step back from the brink of war. Thus, I am voting to ratify the tentative agreement because it is the best or close to the best agreement that was possible at this point in time.

(Note: The chapter’s descriptive entry on the 2010-13 CBA tentative agreement has a growing set of comments.)


Tentative agreement, 2010-2013 collective bargaining agreement

Friday, September 17th, 2010

(To all in-unit faculty and professional employees: please provide input on the ratification voting process on the right: “Should the referendum on the 2010-13 collective bargaining agreement be conducted in person or through the online process we used for the last two Memoranda of Understanding?”)

UFF and the USF Board of Trustees has tentatively agreed on the last components of a complete collective bargaining agreement. The ratification page will shortly be updated with information about a ratification vote for all in-unit faculty and professional employees, but here is the gist of the changes to the complete contract (from the 2008-2009 agreement):

  • 2010-11: 1.5% merit raise pool for all employees who are not new hires as of 2010-11. Eligibility: immediate prior annual evaluations with at least 3 on a 1-5 scale. Distribution: formulaic, same as in 2008-09. To be distributed as soon as practical after ratification by both parties.
  • 2011-12: 2.0% merit raise pool for all employees who are not new hires as of 2011-12. Eligibility: immediate prior annual evaluations with at least 3 on a 1-5 scale. Distribution: formulaic, same as in 2008-09. To be distributed August 7, 2011.
  • Promotion raises for tenure-stream and library faculty: 9% (same as before), with raises of $3,000 for those rising to assistant librarian, $5,000 for those rising to associate professor/librarian, $7,000 for those rising to full professor/librarian (double prior flat bumps). All to base.
  • Promotion raises for instructors: 6%. MOU language on instructor-promotion phase-in included by reference.
  • Administration retains discretion in chair stipends and contract length, and stipends for additional duties and responsibilities.
  • Administration has 1% salary discretion for 2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13.
  • Increase in ratio of full-pay, one-semester sabbaticals to eligible tenured faculty, from 1 in 30 to 1 in 25.
  • Supplemental teaching summer pay remains proportional to academic-year salary by course, with $12,500 cap in 2011, 2012, and 2013 for a 3-hour course (proportionately scaled for courses with more or fewer hours).
  • Clarifying language on rights in assignment in Article 9 (no substantive change).
  • Addition to the job-abandonment clause in Article 16 to apply roughly equivalent standards for absences in the academic year to summer teaching.
  • Domestic partner health insurance stipend program becomes a formal part of the whole-book contract.
  • The administration’s discretion to offer an early retirement incentive program becomes a formal part of the whole-book contract.
  • A reduction in release units for the chapter: 3 in each academic-year semester, 2 in summer, 2 for whole-book bargaining in 2012-13.

The rest of the contract remains the same, including provisions on layoffs, academic freedom, tenure and promotion, intellectual property, and so forth.

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Bargaining update page

Saturday, January 16th, 2010

Chapter Secretary Greg McColm has created a bargaining-update page for the chapter, collecting proposals laid on the table starting with the first collective bargaining session of 2010.


MOU Ratification news

Saturday, January 16th, 2010

UFF finished its ratification vote this week, and the overwhelming majority of ballots cast were in favor of ratification. The Board of Trustees meets Thursday, January 21, for its ratification vote.


Q&A on Memorandum of Understanding

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

See the ratification page for information on both the Memorandum of Understanding and all sorts of ways to ask questions. Below are the questions submitted to the anonymous question-asking site for the chapter. Last update: 6:45 pm, January 2. There are currently two questions in the anonymous queue we are waiting for administration answers on.

Are those currently in phased retirement eligible for the retirement incentive plan?

The administration has told us that those currently in phased retirement are not eligible for the retirement incentive.

Can I sign up for the retirement incentive program and also use phased retirement?

We haven’t asked the administration this specific question, but given the certainty of a separation date and the “no guarantee of future employment” item, the answer is almost certainly no: you’d have to choose between the retirement incentive program and phased retirement.

What if a large number of colleagues in my department take up the offer? Will I be left covering an enormous load?

The draft program guidelines gives the university the right to defer retirement/separation in the program for up to a year, and the university would probably stagger retirements in such a situation to enable a smoother transition.

Why isn’t USF Polytechnic listed as a participant in the retirement incentive program?

The Memorandum of Understanding gives discretion to the university over this type of detail, and the central USF administration decided that each unit with a separate line in the state budget would make its own choices about participating at all and setting aside money.

Can the administration pick and choose who it accepts for the retirement incentive program?

The draft policy makes clear that on each participating campus, it will be the timestamp of application submission that divides those accepting the package from those who are not accepted.

So, more or less, the university is offering a 12-month equivalent salary plus $5K. What it doesn’t say is what retirement dates are allowable—are all of you contemplating the end of this year or can this be agreed up now for a future date?

What the administration has talked about are the end of spring, summer, or fall 2010. It’s the specific dates that aren’t yet set by the admin, but it’ll be in May, early August, or late December. The individual faculty member or professional employee in the faculty salary plan would choose among those options.

Where and when will applications be available?

Eligible employees will be receiving all the official information very shortly after ratification is completed, if the Memorandum of Understanding is ratified. If you receive the packet, with an application, you’ll have it for a few weeks before a very short time window in which to submit it (a few business days). We have heard that submissions will be accepted either in person or electronically.

Does this calculation include the $5000, or is it this amount and an additional $5000?

The $5000 sum is on top of the annualized salary.

If 9 month faculty receive 1.22 of their salary plus $5000, what do 12 month faculty get? It would be grossly unfair to 12-month faculty if they got 1.0 of their salary plus $5000.

Salary would be annualized — converted to a 12-month equivalent. 9 month faculty would receive 133% of salary plus $5000. 12-month faculty would receive 109% (81.8% times 133%–the first converts the 12-month back to the 9-month by the contract conversion formula) plus $5000. This is a formula (and a decision) within the administration’s discretion. The program is voluntary; faculty who think that the program does not benefit them do not have to sign up for it.


Proposals on the table May 29, 2009

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

At the May 29, 2009, collective bargaining session between UFF and USF, the union put five proposals on the table:

  •  A proposed Memorandum of Understanding that would phase in eligibility for the instructor promotion track. This came from consultation discussions earlier in the spring when the administration asked about a phase-in. Essentially, the university is reluctant to open promotion to 150 instructors in a single year. The UFF’s position is that if the university was going to deny promotion opportunities on the basis of seniority, that was a change in the terms and conditions of employment, and we wanted to make sure that a reasonable number of instructors were eligible in the first year. The proposed Memorandum of Understanding would finish the phase in after 3 years (after which instructors with at least 5 years of service in a specific rank would be eligible to apply for promotion).
  • Expanded sabbatical opportunities at partial pay. Based on bargaining-survey results and other input from the unit, the UFF proposed several short-term (4- or 8-week) professional-development leaves for non-tenure-track employees in the bargaining unit, one-semester partial-pay sabbaticals for tenured faculty, and one-semester partial-pay sabbaticals for tenure-track faculty after mid-tenure reviews. The intent would be to create sabbatical and professional-development opportunities that would not cost the university a cent.
  • Workplace safety. Based on bargaining-survey results and other input from the unit, the UFF proposed specific procedures to allow faculty and other in-unit employees to request moving upon documented impacts on health from environmental office conditions.
  • Shared governance. Based on bargaining-survey results and other input from the unit, the UFF proposed an additional section in the academic-freedom article that would put in place several procedural guarantees for shared governance.
  • Contract waivers. Based on staff and legal information from Tallahassee, the UFF proposed some technical language affecting the timing and expiration of contract waivers.

There was no discussion of other articles in the CBA and no agreement on any article or Memorandum of Understanding. As of today, the next collective-bargaining session is not yet scheduled.


Bargaining survey available

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

The chapter’s bargaining team has established a bargaining survey to collect information about the negotiating priorities of in-unit faculty and professional employees. If you have not seen a link to it, please e-mail Sherman Dorn. [The survey is now closed.]