UFF

Questioner: Anonymous

Posed to: Rebecca Marcon, UFF President

The Union seems to have made it their business to interject themselves into every piece of substantive legislation coming out of the Faculty Association. What is their goal? If it is the protection of faculty rights, they should understand that objecting to the results of faculty deliberation coming out of the work of the Faculty Association’s committees sends precisely the opposite message.

 

Answered from the floor by Rebecca Marcon, UFF President

Great question. Whoever asked that, thank you.  I think one of the very, very best ways to possibly ever protect faculty rights is through the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the CBA, and it is not our purpose to interject, to try to be adversarial, but rather to protect, and the CBA allows us to do that.

CBL Carnegie standards

Questioner: Anonymous

Posted to: Pamela S. Chally, Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

At a recent meeting discussing the Carnegie standards for community engaged research, the LARGE discrepancy between the CBA’s interpretation of scholarship and what is put forth for consideration for P&T committees by CCBL regarding community engaged research was discussed.  The UFF President noted that, if a faculty member were to not be promoted and/or receive tenure due to a perceived lack of scholarship despite engaging in high quality and quantity community-engaged scholarship as defined by Carnegie, this would not be a grievable incident. Is this true? If it is, what can be done? And isn’t exploitative of the university to seek out Carnegie status, say they value community-engaged scholarship of this nature, and then not give credit to community scholars for their work?

Response from the Floor by Provost Chally

Provost Chally stated that she knew that the contract stated that community based research and teaching will be considered, recognized, and valued. To her, that meant that it will be considered as part of the tenure and promotion decision.

Faculty Salaries

Questioner: Anonymous

Posted to: David S. Szymanski, UNF President

Part 1:
As a faculty member it was extremely disappointing this past week to learn that a National Education Association study found that faculty salaries at UNF are at, or near the bottom, compared to other State of Florida University System Schools. It was further disappointing to learn that this did not happen overnight. Instead as reported by UNF-UFF, faculty salaries at UNF have increasingly lagged behind inflation for more than a decade. However, it was insulting to learn further that during this time the policy of the administration was to permit some administrators to keep all or most of their salaries after they returned to the faculty and no longer were performing or involved in administrative duties. Sadly, these revelations and this state of affairs is now a part of the legacy of the current administration and the outgoing president. Looking forward to new leadership does the newly hired president plan to similarly prioritize and compensate faculty in the same way? What plans does the new president have for compensating faculty? Will these plans address the pay gap between UNF faculty salaries and other State University System Schools? Will they address the continuing and eroding effects of inflation? Will they continue the policy that permits administrators to keep their salaries even though they are no longer in an administrative role?

 

Response from the Floor by UNF President Szymanski

Regarding the first part of the question, we have approved a proposal which has been forwarded through the collective bargaining process.

 

Part 2:
Over the past year the UNF president has made repeated statements that his administration will be proposing raises. However, according to the most recent UNF-UFF “Bargaining Update,” to date no formal written proposal for salary or raises has been received. Is this true? Negotiations have been ongoing for months; why has the administration not made a salary proposal yet? Does the current administration plan to follow through with the statements of the outgoing president? According to the National Education Association, with the exception of one other school, the average faculty salary at UNF has fallen below all other doctoral granting institutions in the state. What are the intentions and plans of the incoming president for faculty salaries and raises? Thank you.

 

Response from the Floor by UFF President Rebecca Marcon

We will be receiving pay raises once the negotiated Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) is ratified by the faculty and by the UNF Board of Trustees (BOT), according to Florida statutes. The faculty vote on ratification will be held September 24 and 25, and the BOT will hold their vote on ratification at their previously scheduled Board meeting on October 11.

Salary Proposals from Administration

Questioner: Anonymous

A question was received asking whether the Administration had put forward a formal written salary proposal in the bargaining process. Their proposal appears in the April 6 BOT proposals link on the UFF website regarding bargaining videos.

Over the past year, the UNF president has made repeated statements that his administration will be proposing raises. However, according to the most recent UNF-UFF “Bargaining Update,” to date no formal written proposal for salary or raises has been received. Is this true? Negotiations have been ongoing for months; why has the administration not made a salary proposal yet? Does the current administration plan to follow through with the statements of the outgoing president? According to the National Education Association, with the exception of one other school, the average faculty salary at UNF has fallen below all other doctoral granting institutions in the state. What are the intentions and plans of the incoming president for faculty salaries and raises?

Response from the Floor by UFF-UNF President Rebecca Marcon

No electronic copy of the current offer is available. A counter proposal is expected next week.

University Pay and Union Concern

April 6, 2017

Questioner: Anonymous

Posed to: John White, President, United Faculty of Florida

The union has pointed out that our pay is at the bottom of the State University System. Bargaining efforts are more focused on non-tenure track instructors rather than issues of concern to the faculty at large. And recent email blasts have been misleading. Therefore I would like a detailed explanation of the steps for the Faculty to decertify the union.

 

Response from FA President Pyati from the floor:
Decertification of a union is handled by the National Labor Relations Board. Briefly, 30% of members in the bargaining unit must sign a petition requesting a decertification election to be held by the NLRB. Signatures must be collected during non-work times and in non-work areas, without use of employer resources. If the majority votes for decertification, the union will be decertified. More detail is available at the NLRB’s website www.nlrb.gov.


Response from John White:
The means by which to decertify a union are readily available online. The intent of this anonymous question is to make a public anti-union political statement. There are also a number of inaccuracies in the question itself.

There is no evidence to suggest that our primary efforts in bargaining were focused primarily on non-tenure-track faculty. For tenure line faculty we bargained for—among many other things—across the board raises, compression and inversion adjustments, guarantees of ownership of intellectual property, guarantees of academic freedom, a fair and equitable promotion and tenure process, and even the eradication of a waiver of the right to judicial review (e.g., when or if the state legislature attempts to contravene parts of the CBA). Ours was the first and only chapter in the state to have won this important change to a CBA. In addition to these major accomplishments for tenure-line faculty, we also rectified a long-standing injustice: the lack of any merit-based promotion system for the university’s many Instructors and Lecturers. Rectifying this injustice was, the questioner should note, one of the top concerns listed by UNF faculty when we solicited their needs and goals for the last CBA. It was a major concern for faculty at large and it was the right thing to do.

Promotion and Tenure Guidelines

March 2, 2017

Questioner: Anonymous

John White, President (2016-2017), United Faculty of Florida

In a recent “Did you know” item you said: “Not having any discipline-specific guidelines leaves Promotion and Tenure decisions entirely at the discretion of administration, without feedback from departmental faculty.”
This statement seems misleading given the composition of department P&T committees, which are made up of departmental faculty, and the role their vote plays in the outcome of P&T cases. As well, department faculty are able to write department letters of recommendation. And the University P&T committee is made up of faculty as well, although not departmental faculty. How do you claim that P&T decisions do not have feedback from departmental faculty, and that discipline-specific guidelines are the antidote?

Response:

The questioner is correct in that the message noted above was unintentionally misleading. I apologize for not being clearer in how I worded the message.

My intent had been to highlight that a lack of specific department and/or disciplinary specific criteria (guidelines) on which to judge applicants for promotion and tenure make resulting evaluations prone to unstandardized and non-contextualized judgments. Without guidelines that elucidate what faculty know to be the most important aspects of their teaching, their scholarship, and their service, evaluations of their respective performance are more at the whim of others—including the ultimate decision makers in the administration. Similarly, a lack of department-specific guidelines may result in greater administrative autonomy and subjectivity in making evaluative judgments of a candidate’s overall performance.

Faculty Raises

December 1, 2016

Questioner: Anonymous

Posed to: Radha Pyati, President/Designee, UNF Faculty Association

The administration claims there are no resources for faculty raises. Yet salaries and raises for current and former administrators, as well as ongoing payments to Leonard Carson, suggest that there are resources available for salaries. How can these resources be shared with faculty, who are teaching students on the front lines and are justifiably surprised by these raises, when their own cost-of-living raises with no increase in pay?

Responses from FA President Radha Pyati:
The next university budget contains a planned allocation for faculty raises, and they will be negotiated between UFF and the administration beginning this fall. 

Gender Pay Gap at UNF

October 13, 2016

Question: Anonymous

Posed to: Radha Pyati, President/Designee, UNF Faculty Association

Has there been any study done at the university to support what is being discussed among some faculty members about male patriarchy and faculty salaries? I would like to know if there is any truth to the rumor that female faculty members make less than their male counterparts.

Responses from FA President Radha Pyati:
A study comparing female and male faculty salaries has not been done but was discussed by me and UFF President John White in 2016. I will work with new UFF President Rebecca Marcon about the possibility of UFF commissioning such a study this year.

Low University Salary Ranking

October 13, 2017

Questioner: Anonymous

Posed to: John White, President, UNF – United Faculty of Florida

On October 3rd, you emailed all faculty claiming that “Among the 11 established State University System schools in Florida, UNF ranks last in average faculty salary.” Shouldn’t UNF’s faculty take this as a sign that our union has done a poor job negotiating salary increases?

Response: 

I trust that as an integral part of their professional training, most faculty members have been taught to examine the evidence and to understand the relevant contexts before drawing conclusions. Faculty doing so in this case (as many have) would find that there are four major factors affecting their current pay and their union’s ability to negotiate raises. First, they would learn that Florida is a “right to work” state, meaning that faculty and its union leadership are legally prohibited from even threatening to go on strike. Without the ability to strike and thus affect production, a union loses its strongest bargaining tool. Second, faculty would see that raises are reliant upon funding and that funding is completely controlled by university administration, the state legislature, and the Board of Governors. With no ability to threaten a walkout or a slowdown, the union has nothing to leverage or trade for raises (with the possible exception of demonstrating a willingness to sacrifice some faculty and staff to layoffs so that others can get a raise—a tactic that we vehemently oppose). Our success at the bargaining table is reliant upon bringing ongoing inequities to light, having a large and active union membership, and upon university administration prioritizing faculty needs. Third, by examining pay issues longitudinally, faculty will see that UNF’s low faculty pay is directly related to an earlier era when contracts were negotiated statewide and the highest salaries went to the faculty at the preeminent and larger universities. Our chapter inherited the problem but has nonetheless made major strides in addressing the issue. Finally, just a year and a half ago our chapter negotiated the largest faculty raises in over a decade—raises that included 4% across the board, over $1 million for C & I adjustments, a higher base for beginning and junior tenure-line professors, and the first-ever promotion/raise system for our many Instructors and Lecturers. I believe that once faculty members have examined these issues, they cannot logically conclude that their union “has done a poor job negotiating salary increases.” And while faculty members are free to draw a different conclusion about their union’s effectiveness, they should take into account how their pay, their academic freedom, their promotions and tenure, and their overall job security might have been affected were there no organized group (aka their union) lobbying on their behalf.

Faculty Raises Issue

October 13, 2016

Questioner: Anonymous

Posed to: John White, President, UNF – United Faculty of Florida

As you know, a number of faculty (I have heard 17) felt shortchanged last year when they did not receive the full raise amount they thought they should have gotten. I have heard that the annual cost of remedying this would have been approximately $75,000. Is this correct?

Response: 

The salary issue noted in the question refers specifically to the compression and inversion adjustments made as part of the current CBA (the faculty referenced above received the raises due to them following promotion as well as a 4% across the board raise). We believe that the amount quoted would be sufficient in order to bring these particular faculty members’ salaries to where they wish them to be (excluding the additional costs for benefits).

However, the issue referenced in the question could not be solved even if university administration offered that amount (which has not been the case). First and most importantly, these 17 faculty members are a subset of a larger group. It would be unethical for the union to seek or for the university to provide C & I adjustments solely for the benefit of one group while others—including a number of senior faculty—remain compressed and inverted. Second, the operative term in the question is “[the] amount they thought they should have gotten.” Context is important (and the term “shortchanged” is moot). These 17 faculty members sought promotion and tenure in 2013-2014, the year during which our union negotiated the current contract with its 4% across the board raise and $1 million in C & I adjustments. The official date for determining a faculty member’s rank and thus for computing compression and inversion adjustments was—as it has always been for raises—June 30th (the end of the previous CBA and the end of the university’s fiscal year). On that date, these individuals had not yet been promoted as all promotions in rank begin with the start of new contracts in August. Thus these faculty members were not compressed or inverted per the terms and conditions in the CBA (which itself incorporated the C & I computational methodology recommended by the American Association of University Professors). It is also important to note that while the traditional and logical date for determining C & I adjustments did not prove beneficial to these particular faculty members, using a different date would have other significant ramifications.

Our chapter has sought and will continue to seek much needed salary adjustments, including for the individuals in this group.