Archive for the ‘Campus unions’ Category

AFSCME-USF impasse

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

In Monday morning’s student newspaper, the USF Oracle, there was an article about the university’s rejection of the neutral special magistrate’s recommendation in the current impasse in bargaining between the university Board of Trustees and the staff union, local 3342 of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, or AFSCME. The university sent an e-mail out to staff on Friday, and in response AFSMCE has distributed an e-mail from its president, Bill McClelland, available now on AFSCME 3342′s blog.

The special magistrate’s recommendations are non-binding, and the USF Board of Trustees is legally required to eliminate all contact with its bargaining team until a public hearing on impasse, so that it can legally remain neutral … but the BOT’s bargaining committee is likely to impose what management recommends. Florida’s law gives the advantage to management in impasse because in many cases, the governing board that supervises the bargaining team also has the authority to impose a settlement at the end of the impasse procedure. (My personal view is that this is a structural conflict of interest.) When management does not think it needs a waiver from the union on a mandatory term of bargaining, the primary power of the union is to organize against ratification of the impasse resolution, so that bargaining on non-salary issues has to start from square one at the beginning of the next fiscal year. For the gory details of impasse procedures, read beyond the jump. (more…)


When rigidity is the rule

Tuesday, October 30th, 2007

At yesterday’s collective-bargaining session between USF’s administration and the Police Benevolent Association, the administration proposed one-time cash bonuses this year (beyond the legislative mandate) that would be tied to disciplinary records. This isn’t a bonus on top of some base increase but the vast majority of whatever university police could receive.

I’m sure that the administration wants to impose this condition to rationalize, incentivize, or at least jargonize supervision of university police. But the no-reprimand condition on the main chunk of money in the first year of the contract would have unintended consequences. My understanding is that a significant proportion of mild reprimands come when members of a police force exercise their discretion in a situation where their supervisor disagrees with the judgment of the officer on the ground. If the person has met the standards for the department with mild reprimands, then there are two fundamental problems:

  • If the person is on the force with reprimands that prevent a raise — and denying a raise is a significant punishment for behavior — then the university is saying that they’re keeping substandard people on the force merely because they can fog a mirror.
  • If a police officer knows that using her or his discretion is the greatest risk to a raise, then there will be no discretion used. If you’re going 3 mph over the campus speed limit, you get a ticket. If there’s any doubt about what happened in a dormitory argument, the police officer will have a significant incentive to intervene instead of trying education and conflict management.

UFF doesn’t represent police; PBA is a separate union, but we have to watch what happens with our fellow unions, and sometimes attempts to “rationalize” are simply irrational.