Florida Lawmakers Attack Public Employee Unions – Again

ALEC-Modeled Anti-Union Bill Introduced in Florida House

State House Representative Scott Plakon (R-Seminole) just filed House Bill 11, an anti-public employee union bill that was originally created and promulgated by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and that was introduced in other states. Were the bill to become law, it would effectively decertify public employee unions with membership below 50% of all eligible employees. The bill would also require yearly registration of bargaining units that would include financial information about its individual members. The legislation specifically but inexplicably exempts law enforcement and firefighter unions.  

The UNF-UFF current membership is 38%. Thus, were the legislation to pass, all UNF faculty would lose the ability to engage in collective bargaining, to enforce a standard contract, to protect individual faculty members’ academic freedom, and to ensure equity in terms of course load.  Correspondingly, university administration could hire, fire, alter work assignments, and pay different faculty per its whims rather than via specific and negotiated standards.We need you now more than ever!

It is time to fight back against yet more attacks on public servants. Join us now!

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UFF Strongly Encourages all Departments to Develop Guidelines

The current UNF-UFF Collective Bargaining Agreement, covering academic years 2014-2015 through 2016-2017 refers to the existence of a within-discipline standard for the purposes of promotion and tenure at UNF.  UFF encourages all departments to develop discipline-specific guidelines or merely state what other standards are to be used within their academic unit. For example, departments that do not chose to develop their own set of guidelines are encouraged to refer to those published by leading professional organizations in their field. Not having any discipline-specific guidelines leaves promotion and tenure decisions entirely at the discretion of administration, without feedback from departmental faculty.

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Processes for Establishing Guidelines for Evaluation and Promotion

Article 9.7 of the CBA states that each department may adopt guidelines for evaluation and promotion. The faculty and chair may prepare draft guidelines and distribute them to all faculty for review and comment, and ultimately a vote. Deans are allowed 30 days to ensure the guidelines “comply with the [CBA] and the mission and goals of the University”, then approve them or return to the department for revision.
Provided the department responds to the Dean’s comments within 60 days, the Dean does not have the power to modify the guidelines. Once the faculty, chair and Dean are in agreement, the CBA gives the Provost the power to review and promulgate the guidelines, but not to edit the guidelines. If the Provost decides not to promulgate the guidelines, they shall be submitted to the UFF and UNF-BOT bargaining teams for immediate negotiation.
Please let UFF know if this process was not followed in your department by completing this brief survey

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Political Activity Do’s and Don’ts for Faculty

We each have the Constitutional right to the freedom of speech and free association, although when exercised in the course of public sector employment, the courts have placed restrictions on our First Amendment free speech rights. As public employees, we have additional Constitutional protections in the workplace that those in the private sector may not enjoy. In-unit faculty are also protected by the provisions in our Collective Bargaining Agreement in regards to our Constitutional rights and the right to due process for disciplinary action (see Articles 27 and 30). Nevertheless, as an employee of a public university in the state of Florida, there are some general guidelines and best practices for engaging in political activity as it relates to your position at UNF. Though the following list is not meant to be comprehensive, it provides some basic do’s and don’ts.

POLITICAL ACTION can be defined as persuading government officials via any medium, such as signing petitions, organizing or participating in demonstrations, distributing fliers, political fund raising, and political outreach.

IT IS OK to volunteer for and engage in political activities on your own time (including legitimate leave time), with your own equipment, and via a non-UNF server.

IT IS OK to discuss politics in and out of the classroom within the educational contexts of learning, research, and teaching your subject.

AVOID volunteering and engaging in political activities while at UNF during regular business hours and even if not in a scheduled activity.

DO NOT use your UNF email account for political action (it becomes public record).

DO NOT use UNF property for political activity including, but not limited to, phones, computers, printers, copiers, university administered websites, official university letterhead, or official university logos.

DO NOT direct students to volunteer or engage in political action as part of their class requirements.

DO NOT engage in political initiatives and mention your institutional affiliation. Instead, give a disclaimer indicating that your actions and statements are your own and not those of the University.

This list is not meant to discourage civic engagement at UNF, an important part of campus life. For more resources on this topic, see below:

http://www.acenet.edu/the-presidency/columns-and-features/Pages/Legal-Watch-Litigation-and-regulation-in-academe.aspx

https://www.aaup.org/academic-freedom-students-and-professors-and-political-discrimination

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ALEC-Modeled Anti-Union Bill Introduced in Florida House

State House Representative Scott Plakon (R-Seminole) just filed House Bill 11, an anti-public employee union bill that was originally created and promulgated by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and that was introduced in other states. Were the bill to become law, it would effectively decertify public employee unions with membership rates below 50%. The bill would require yearly registration of bargaining units, to include salary and other financial information on its members. The legislation specifically but inexplicably exempts law enforcement and firefighters unions.  

It is time to fight back against yet more attacks on public servants. Join us now!

AA Policy: Former Administrators Keep Admin Salary When Going Back to Faculty Roles

Faculty administrators are paid significantly more than their departmental same-rank peers. The argument for this is that one’s workload and hours change when going into administration. When or if those administrators go back to their faculty roles, this logic would suggest, they would go back to a normal faculty salary. Yet when administrators at UNF do go back to faculty ranks (voluntarily or not), they keep their administrative salary rate. The only adjustment is to nine months rather than twelve. And in most cases, they keep part or all of their stipends. In short, Academic Affairs policy ensures that once a faculty member joins the ranks of administration, he or she is to enjoy the better pay of administration forever. Not only is this policy unjust and inequitable, it is financially irresponsible.

COMPARE FORMER ADMINISTRATORS’ SALARIES TO THOSE OF THEIR PEERS

When former administrators go back to normal faculty positions, they by default assume the same duties and responsibilities as their same-rank departmental peers. Ostensibly, a change back to a faculty role is a reduction in workload and stress (again, the rationale for significantly higher administrative pay is that administrative roles are more demanding than faculty roles). Despite moving into a less demanding role and perfomring the same work as their peers, these former administrators continue to make salaries that trump those of their departmental colleagues. This policy exacerbates compression and inversion, hurts faculty morale, and suggests that UNF administrators are more than happy to help themselves to more than their fair share of very limited funds.

The additional pay granted to former administrators is also financially untenable. Institutions in the SUS–and especially UNF–have recently struggled to maintain programs and staff. When seeking better compensation or benefits (to try to bring UNF out of the bottom of the SUS), faculty and staff have repeatedly been told that “there is no money.” It is increasingly hard to take such claims seriously in light of policies like this one.

Finally, the oft-cited rationale for paying bonuses to former administrators is seriously flawed. Justification for the policy seems to be based upon the proposition that in taking on administrative roles, faculty must make significant sacrifices (namely to their research agendas). While this may be true at research-intensive universities (R-1), that is not the context at UNF. Myriad chairs and deans continue their research agendas while serving as administrators. Were such a justification true, few Associate Professors would willingly take on administrative roles nor would we have seen numerous administrators promoted to Professor while working full time as administrators (and adding yet more to their administrators’ salaries). Logic would suggest that either administrators are able to maintain their scholarly agendas or some administrators are skimping on their administrative duties. It is also important to note that most administrators at UNF have opportunities to teach and to do service. In many cases, administrators have access to numerous professional opportunities for advancement that faculty do not.

The current policy is unjust and indefensible. Faculty and taxpayers should be outraged.

 

 

Sign Faculty Letter Opposing Appointment of Adam Hollingsworth to UNF Board of Trustees

We are circulating a letter opposing the appointment of Adam Hollingsworth to the UNF Board of Trustees. We ask that you, our UNF faculty, sign onto this letter. The greater the objection to this cronyism appointee–by a man who lied about his own academic background in order to obtain numerous jobs–the greater our impact. 

SEE DRAFT LETTER HERE

If you are willing to be a signatory to the letter, please contact John W White.

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