Why I will vote for the 2010-2013 tentative agreement

(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.)


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