Collective Bargaining News
UFF-FSU Bargaining Update July 20th, 2011
Negotiations between the UFF and the Board of Trustees (BOT) for the 2011-2012 began in late spring and are ongoing. Below are some key points about bargaining progress and what is on the agenda:
The UFF bargaining team is pleased to announce that we are near agreement on Across the Board raises (ATB). Last year, while negotiating the one-time-ATB payment, we proposed implementing a raise rather than a one-time-payment. The president said that he would try, and we are happy that he has now agreed to make last year’s bonus a raise to base salary. We appreciate the efforts on the part of the president and the Board of Trustees to find funding for raises, particularly in a year of drastic budget cuts and political intransigence at the state level. The president recognizes that the faculty deserve to be rewarded. A few important details remain to be resolved, but the UFF team has every intention of coming to an agreement by the August 5th deadline that the BOT team says is required so the raises will appear in the first paycheck of the academic year.
We have also reached agreement on implementing the provisions of the contract on the Salary Plan for Professors (SPP). All awardees should be notified this week and see the SPP increases in the first paycheck of the academic year. This implementation agreement was needed so that the administration will put not only the minimum $500K into these raises as specified in the contract, but add additional funds, around $107K, to grant the raises to all applicants deemed qualified in 2011. In return, the UFF team agreed that the SPP program will be suspended for the 2011-2012 academic year for financial reasons and to address problems in the initial implementation, particularly the administrative burden on faculty and administrators. We intend to negotiate for the program’s reinstatement for the 2012-13 year. The Memorandum of Agreement implementing the SPP is available at this link:
We are working hard on coming up with a full salary package as quickly as possible. We are optimistic about coming to a timely agreement, although we still need to iron out important details on promotion raises, Administrative Discretion (ADI), ATB raises, and on a merit bonus.
Regarding the merit bonus based on 2010 evaluations, the BOT team has proposed a forced distribution in each department/unit of $2,000 for the “top” 25%, $1,000 for the next 25%, and $0 for the next 50%. According to the BOT team at the bargaining session on July 18th, departments/units whose evaluations do not fit these criteria can redo them retroactively or forfeit the bonus. Such a plan is contrary to the contract, which is clear about how to distribute merit funding for 2010 annual evaluations. It is to be distributed according to “the faculty evaluation criteria and procedures established by departments/units” (Article 23.1(b)) and incorporated in their bylaws, not by a distribution scheme created after-the-fact.
The UFF also sees this proposal as contrary to the principle of shared governance. Departments/units have spent considerable time and effort in recent years writing evaluation and merit distribution procedures according to the standards of their disciplines and the unique circumstances of their units. These efforts are reflected in bylaws that have been approved by Deans and the Dean of the Faculties, and decisions made on the basis of those bylaws are binding. In sum, the UFF is taking the position that merit be distributed as specified in the contract: according to already-existing faculty-approved department/unit procedures. The UFF will continue to fight to uphold the contract on this issue.
Other matters: Negotiations commenced in May with discussions of academic freedom (Article 5) in view of recent national press reports of faculty emails being requested by outside parties and in light of the Koch Agreement controversy. (By the way, the UFF-FSU faculty consultation team had discussed possible problems with the Koch agreement in 2008. We did not see the agreement until this year, but some faculty members who knew of it brought some concerns to our attention. We were assured by the FSU administration at that time that those concerns were misplaced or overblown.) After some initial discussions, the teams agreed to table this topic pending the Faculty Senate committee report released this month, and we will return to this issue as soon as possible. The Faculty Senate report is available at this link:
Finally, we have been discussing the evaluation of faculty performance (Article 10), and will return to it, too, after resolving salary issues.
We are optimistic about a timely settlement of salary issues, as noted above. Please be assured however, that the UFF faculty bargaining team will work hard to defend and advance FSU faculty interests and rights, and will “hang tough” on important principles, even if that means missing a unilateral deadline imposed by the BOT.
Update - March 2011
The UFF and the BOT, via a joint BOT-UFF committee, have been working for several months on a plan to reclassify Non-Tenure Track Faculty (NTTF) positions. The initial impetus for this plan came from a Faculty Senate Report (see http://fasenate.fsu.edu/forms/nttfreport.pdf) and from UFF-FSU survey results consistently revealing employment security as a top concern for NTTF. The plan provides a framework to address these issues. Essentially, the Joint Committee has worked out how the Collective Bargaining Agreement can be changed to accomodate the reclassification plan.
Several key elements are still under discussion at the joint BOT-UFF committee. In the report (see link below) these elements are highlighted. The remainder of the plan can be considered tentatively agreed upon. Please note that the the joint committee will recommend its final report to BOT and UFF negotiators as a basis for further negotiations. Assuming those negotiations produce an agreement, that agreement must then be ratified by the BOT and the faculty. Further, some aspects of the report will require approval by the Public Employees Relations Commission.
Some important parts of this plan include:
- Continuing Multi-Year Agreements (a/k/a "rolling contracts") for some NTTF (after promotion)
- Honorific "professor" titles on a case-by-case basis, subject to appropriate tenured faculty approval
- Mission-specific (teaching, research, research support, service) classifications, with more descriptive working titles
- Provision for possible conversion of NTTF positions to tenure track positions
The NTTF Working Draft is available at this link:firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Update - January 2011The UFF and the BOT have agreed upon terms for a Voluntary Separation Program (VSP). This program is similar in terms to the VSP agreed to last year. The major changes are the lowering of the eligibility age to 65 making the program availble to about 95 members of the bargaining unit and the ability for faculty to continue teaching at the adjunct level. The program allows for faculty to continue their intellectual relationship with the university. The agreement also references a series of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) that are attached and part of the agreement. The deadlines for the program are very short due to the program being offered so late in the academic year. email@example.com>.
Status of 2010-2013 Negotiations
Negotiations for our 2010-13 Collective Bargaining Agreement (contract) have concluded. Starting in January 2010, the UFF and BOT bargaining teams undertook a review of the entire faculty contract. Both teams agreed to follow the Interest-Based approach to bargaining (IBB), sometimes also known as "collegial" bargaining. In IBB, both sides try to educate the other side about their goals and interests, identify areas of convergent interests, and jointly develop solutions. This is in contrast to the traditional positional bargaining style, in which each side makes proposals and counter-proposals, often trying to conceal their real interests. The UFF believes that the IBB style of bargaining is better suited to a university environment, where both sides share many common interests, including a desire to serve the interests of students, maintain high academic standards, recruit and retain the strongest possible students and faculty, and generally make our University one in which we can all take pride.
In the IBB process the two bargaining teams function as a single committee. The process starts by members listing "problems" that each side would like to solve, then listing the "interests" of each side that will affect the acceptability of any proposed solution to the problem, and then listing "brainstorm" ideas for potential elements of a solution to the stated problem. Interests are classified as either convergent or divergent. Brainstorm ideas are classified as either mutally acceptable, or unacceptable. Finally, the two bargaining teams piece together a joint proposal made up of brainstorm elements that are acceptable to both sides. This process works well when there are many convergent interests. Otherwise, it may fail, and the two sides must then revert to positional bargaining.
This year, the IBB process has worked well. We have signed tentative agreements on the following:
- New duration (Article 30)
- Definition of department chair (Article 32)
- Change to DROP minimum separation (Article 24)
- Number of copies to be printed (Article 7)
- Salary Plan for Professors (new Article 25)
- Salaries (Article 23)
- Leaves (Article 17)
- Disciplinary Actions & Job Abandonment (Article 16)
- Assignments of Responsibility (Article 9)
- The new Article 9 on Assignments of Responsibility is shown in final form rather than "legislative markup" format due to extensive reorganization. Also, please note that minor changes to Promotion and Tenure provisions (Articles 14-15) are shown at the end of the preceding tentative agreement
- Nondiscrimination (Article 6)
- Consultation (Article 2)
- Memorandum of Agreement on Parental Leave
- Memorandum of Agreement on Winter Break
- Memorandum of Agreement on Promotion Increases, One-time "Bonus" Payments, and Extension of Administrative Discretionary Salary Increase Authorization
- Please note that most of the memoranda just above were incorporated into tentative contract language, i.e., will be approved or disapproved in the vote on the contract
In order to be able to reach closure on a contract, both the UFF and the BOT teams agreed to narrow the scope of bargaining to a subset of the original list of problems they identified. The problems discused this year included:
- How can we assure that contractual improvements for NTTF faculty do not accelerate the growth in the ratio of NTTF to TTF? This discussion is continuing, and we hope this concern will be addressed in a memorandum agreement that we expect will eventually come out of the NTTF reclassification project, which is mentioned further below.
- How can we balance the needs of the faculty while ensuring all curricular requirements are met within budget constraints for the summer? We agreed to maintain the current summary salary rate rules.
- How can we set a friendlier and more professional tone? We revised the preamble to the CBA, Article 2 Consultation, and Article 6 (Nondiscrimination) to make them friendlier.
- How can we recognize and reward sustained superior performance on the part of our full professors? We introduced a new Salary Plan for Professors, which provides for promotion-like salary increases to reward sustained high quality job performance beyond the promotion to full professor.
- How can we ensure that teaching assignments are done equitably, and perceived as such, as the University is forced to make do with fewer and fewer faculty members? We revised Article 9 (Assignment of Responsibilities) to provide for more faculty interaction in the development of teaching assignments.
- How can we ensure that the contract allows for appropriate action regarding misconduct and incompetence? We revised Article 16 (Disciplinary Action and Job Abandonment), to make the stages of the progressive disciplinary process clearer, and to provide a peer review hearing in some cases.
In addition, the following general topics are still on the table:
- Revisions to Appendix J Criteria and Procedures for Promotion of Librarians. A committee of librarians has produced a new UFF draft, which is under review by the BOT team.
- The Non-Tenure-Track-Faculty (NTTF) reclassification project. The joint labor-management committee has been meeting regularly, and is nearing completion of a draft Memorandum of Agreement that would govern this process. Topics under discussion include new position classifications and titles, refined criteria and procedures for promotion of non-tenure-track facutly members, rules to better differentiate between tenure-track and non-tenure-track classifications, and multi-year rolling contracts for some of the NTTF classifications.
Please provide your thoughts on bargaining issues to Professor Ted Baker, the UFF-FSU faculty bargaining team's chief negotiator (firstname.lastname@example.org). For more detail, see "How can you help?" further below.
Summary of 2009-2010 Negotiations
On Wednesday, 10 December, the UFF and BOT bargaining teams signed a tentative agreement on Article 23 (Salaries) and a new Memorandum of Agreement to continue the Parental Leave benefit through 30 June 2010. Links to the signed agreements are provided below.
These agreements have since been ratified. Agreement was also reached on the following items, earlier in the process:
- Winter break. This recognizes a formal leave-with-pay.
- Voluntary separation agreement. This provides a financial incentive for individuals in a certain age window to retire.
- Parental leave continuation for fall term 2009.
- Promotion raises for fall 2009. This allowed the faculty members who were promoted this year to received salary increases.
- Non-Tenure Track Faculty Reclassification Project. We made a lot of progress on this, but there remained many details that needed to be worked out, so we agreed to create a joint subcommittee to continue work on it.
That concluded a year of negotiations, during which the UFF and BOT also explored possible changes to several other areas of the contract without reaching agreement. Both sides agreed that it would be best to continue the status quo contract and postpone further discussion of those open issues for the next year's contract.
- The BOT agreed to drop its insistence on capping summer teaching pay at $8000 per course. Summer teaching pay would remain at 12.5% of base pay for 9-month faculty.
- The BOT agreed to drop its insistence that new faculty members not be eligible for the payout that existing faculty members may receive for unused sick leave upon separation from the University, and drop its insistance on making continuation of the paid parental leave program conditional on elimination of the sick leave payout benefit (which would also impact faculty members who do not make use of paid parental leave). The UFF made clear that it supports the paid parental leave program.
- The UFF agreed to allow up to 0.25% in administrative discretionary salary increases (such as counter-offers) for fiscal year 2009-2010, and drop its insistence on bargaining starting salaries this year.
- The UFF agreed drop its insistence on establishing a minimum ratio of tenure-track faculty to students, continuing multi-year appointments and honorific working titles (such as "Research Professor" and "Teaching Professor") for non-tenure-track faculty members in certain existing classifications, for this year. A joint study committee will continue to work on details of a framework already agreed on continuing multi-year appointments and honorific working titles, in the context of introducing new specialized non-tenure-track faculty classifications.
For historical perspective, we have left posted the following UFF and BOT proposals from this now-completed round of bargaining. In each document, underscores indicate proposed new language and strikethroughs indicate proposed deletions. In some cases the changes are shown relative to the existing CBA, and in others the changes are shown relative to the preceding BOT proposal. Different colors of text may reflect changes made at different times.
Please remember that these documents present an incomplete picture. It is not possible to fully comprehend bargaining developments from these proposals, each of which provides only a snapshot of one side's bargaining position at one point in time.
In particular, sometimes the UFF bargaining team finds itself forced to either back down on something it hoped to achieve, in order to reach an overall agreement with the BOT, or forced to take an extreme position on some issues that it feels the BOT cares a lot about, in order to show that the UFF will not reach an overall agreement until the BOT soften's its position on something the UFF views as important to the faculty. <
|Article||UFF Proposal||BOT Proposal|
|Preamble||1 Oct 2009 - complete, showing proposed new paragraph||9 Oct 2009 - BOT counter|
|Article 8 - Appointments||1 Oct 2009 - full article, proposed changes shown relative to current CBA.||9 Oct 2009 - BOT counter|
|Article 11 - Evaluation File||9 May 2009 - partial, showing only section to which changes are proposed to current CBA||(no BOT counter)|
|Article 17 - Leaves||8 June 2009 - full article, proposed changes shown relative to current CBA||9 Oct 2009 - BOT counter|
|Article 23 - Salaries||1 Oct 2009 - full article, proposed changes shown relative to current CBA.||9 Oct 2009 - BOT counter|
|Article 28 - Miscellaneous Provisions||1 Oct 2009 - partial, showing only new section proposed for addition||(no BOT counter)|
|Appendix K - Promotion of Non-Tenure-Track Faculty||11 June 2009 - proposed new appendix, showing changes relative to a previous proposal||9 June 2009 - previous BOT counter|
Summary of 2006-08 Negotiations
Following an Interest-Based Bargaining (IBB) approach, the negotiations between the UFF and the FSU Board of Trustees (BOT) for a new faculty contract covering academic years 2007-2010 produced agreements on the following revisions to the contract articles and the following memoranda of agreement (MOAs).
- Whole document - Complete agreement. Ratified.
- Summary of changes to the previous contract
- Article 3 - UFF Rights
- Article 5 - Academic Freedom & Responsibility
- Article 7 - Access to Documents
- Article 8 - Appointment
- Article 9 - Assignment of Responsibilities
- Article 10 - Performance Evaluations
- Article 16 - Disciplinary Action and Job Abandonment
- Article 18 - Inventions and Works
- Article 19 - Conflict of Interest / Outside Activity
- Article 20 - Grievance Procedure and Arbitration
- Article 22 - Sabbatical and Professional Development Leave
- Article 23 - Salaries
- Article 30 - Amendment and Duration
- Appendix H - Assignment Dispute Resolution Procedure
- MOA on Parental Leave (2008) Ratified
- MOA on Winter Holidays (2008) Ratified
- MOA on Child Care (2007) To be updated
How can you help?
Please contact Ted Baker (644-5452, email@example.com) if you are interested in the collective bargaining process, and are willing to volunteer some time in support of the UFF collective bargaining effort, or just want to voice an opinion. If you have an issue or set of issues about which you are strongly concerned, help yourself and your colleagues by volunteering to develop those issues. We can use help in researching the views of the faculty on issues we should bring to the bargaining table, researching what is being done at other universities, and in developing supporting data to convince the FSU administration to take action.
Other actions you can take:
- Keep yourself informed about the progress of collective bargaining, and about bargaining issues.
- Express your views to the President and Board of Trustees, and to the public at large, regarding current bargaining issues. The hardest issue has been the problem of low faculty salaries at FSU, including problems with the cost-of-living, compression, inversion, and market inequities.
- Join the UFF. We know that the faculty supports the UFF, from the overwhelming certification vote, but the administration interprets the low number of dues-paying members as a sign of faculty apathy. By joining you express the strongest form of support.
Other frequently asked questions:
How does the UFF set its bargaining priorities?
If you have an issue that you would like to see addressed in the next contract, please contact the bargaining chair (see "How can you help?" above) or another UFF officer, and be sure to complete the periodic on-line UFF surveys. We rely heavily on surveys. The bargaining team also consults with the UFF executive council (elected and appointed officers of the UFF FSU chapter). The UFF chapter grievance chair is consulted regarding any issues that have come up recently in grievances and were not resolved well. The UFF chapter officers solicit faculty views via open luncheon meetings, and e-mails. Members of the bargaining team and executive council forward views from individual e-mails and conversations with other faculty members who are interested in expressing their concerns and priorities for bargaining.
How is the UFF bargaining team chosen?
The bargaining team is made up of faculty volunteers, appointed by the UFF chapter president. We like to rotate the membership of the team. If you are interested and willing to serve, please volunteer!
What happens if the UFF and the FSU administration fail to reach agreement on a contract?
Title XXXI, Section 447.403 of the Florida Code specifies a process for resolving impasses between a public employer such as the FSU BOT and a bargaining agent such as the UFF. The process involves review by a special magistrate, who makes a recommendation. The parties may choose to accept the recommendation, or not. If not, the next step is a hearing by the responsible "legislative body." For the State University System, that body is the Florida Board of Governors, but the BOG has delegated that authority to the FSU Board of Trustees. Therefore, the BOT would be in the position of dictating an imposed settlement. The UFF believes the BOG transfer of this authority to the BOT is not constitutional, but if/when that is taken to court it might take years to resolve. In either case, either the BOT or the BOG would impose a settlement.
Why does the UFF oppose administrative discretionary salary increases?
The UFF has generally agreed to allow some salary increases based on administrative discretion, in order to reach agreement on an entire contract. However, the UFF believes that the determination of salary increases by administrative discretion should be limited to a few exceptional cases, for the following reasons:
- It amounts to individual bargaining, which is the antithesis of collective bargaining (the reason we have a union).
- On our polls, the bargaining unit members have consistently indicated that they do not want salary increases allocated in this fashion. In every poll we have conducted, there has been strong support for three main categories of salary increases: cost-of-living, merit, and market equity. There has has been miniscule support for administrative discretion.
- Administrative discretion tends to be inequitable. Such increases go to only a few members of the faculty. Though we believe abuses at FSU have been rare, so far, the system invites abuses based on university politics and personal relationships between individual faculty members and administrators. We have seen what we believe to be examples of such. Also, historically, such raises have not been equitably distributed between colleges.
- Unlike other negotiated salary increases, the administration is not obliged to actually give out administrative discretionary increases. That is, the contract might allow 1%, but the administration might award much less, say 0.3%.
What is wrong with counter-offers? Isn't this a fair way for a faculty member to earn a pay increase?
On the one hand, the UFF recognizes that job offers are the strongest kind of evidence of prevailing market salaries. On the other hand, we do not want to see every faculty member compelled to solicit outside offers in order to prevent his/her salary falling behind inflation. That is bad for morale, and an obstacle to faculty recruitment and retention. A faculty member who concentrates on building his/her CV to apply for jobs has no stake in his/department and the University, and will short-cut teaching and university service. We feel it is ethically wrong for a faculty member to solicit an outside offer, especially pro-forma offers from friends at other institutions, solely for the purpose of justifying a salary increase at FSU. Moreover, ethics aside, a faculty member who reaches the point where she/he feels compelled to look for outside offers should logically accept the offer and leave, or lack credibility if she/he needs to solicit another offer. It is a shame when excellent faculty members leave the University, and ironic when the university ends up paying more than it would have cost to retain them, in order to recruit replacements.
So why does the UFF agree to allow any administrative discretionary salary increases?
The UFF does recognize the need for a way to handle special cases, such as salary increases to retain a valued faculty member who is being recruited by another university, but for the reasons above we seek contractual language that limits salary increases based on administrative discretion to just a few exceptional cases, where such discretion is required.
On the other side, the administration would prefer that all salary increases be entirely according to their discretion. The have perfectly understandable reasons for this preference. The University can stretch its budget by only giving increases in places that administrators deem needed or most useful, to settle lawsuits ("settlements"), retain faculty members who threaten to leave ("counter-offers"), reward those who please them ("special achievements"), and motivate those who might otherwise refuse to accept a particular assignment ("increased duties and responsibilities"). There is no need, from this view, to spend anything on the majority of faculty members, who work hard, do not threaten to leave, and agree to their assignments without complaint.
However, the law gives the UFF, as the elected sole representative of the faculty at FSU, the exclusive right to negotiate terms and conditions of faculty employment. Foremost among such terms and conditions is salary. Allowing administration discretion over salary increases amounts to a waiver by a union of its right to bargain salaries. While public employees are not permitted to strike, and can be required to work under a unilateral imposed settlement if impasse is reached in negotiations, such an imposed settlement cannot legally include discretionary salary increases if the union does not agree to it. Therefore, a union will hold off agreement on any discretionary increases until it is otherwise satisfied with a contract, and will not include any discretionary raises as part of its position at impasse; to do otherwise would be to waive its right to bargain.
Therefore, agreement to any discretionary salary increases is an important bargaining chip for any public employee union.
The FSU BOT bargaining team has demonstrated that it places high priority on administrative discretion in salary increases. As a condition for providing 0.9% in merit salary increases in 2006, they insisted on an increase of 0.45% in new discretionary increases, including 0.2% in a new category called "Dean's Merit" increases and an increase from 0.25% to 0.5% in the cap on traditional administrative discretionary increases under the authority of section 23.9 of the CBA. In bargaining for 2008-2009 salary increases, they insisted on increasing the cap again, to 1%.
Why did the UFF agree to raise the ADI cap to 1% in the 2007-2010 contract?
The UFF was very reluctant to agree to this increase in the cap. However, we agreed to it, for the following reasons:
- It appeared to be a necessary concession to reach agreement on the 3% retention adjustment, which we believe every faculty member wanted.
- The administration wanted to expand the category to include equity adjustments. The UFF has long bargained for a systematic program to correct market inequities, and thereby also other forms of salary inequity. However, given the budget reductions forced on the university over the past two years, and given the likelihood of additional reductions in the near future, we were forced to concede that allocating significant additional funds (beyond the 3% retention adjustment) for a university-wide market equity adjustment program is not practicable in the near term. Under these circumstances, it seems to be in the interest of the faculty to allow the colleges that have internal resources to address inequities as they are able.
- The FSU admnistration was willing to agree to more specific language regarding the criteria and procedures for administrative discretionary increases, which the UFF hopes will favor equity and discourage abuses.
- The UFF chose to trust the presentations of the administration's representatives, that they intend to apply this discretion equitably, and will not abuse it.
The new contract includes stronger provisions for providing documentation to justify individual cases of administrative discretionary increases. The UFF will monitor this evidence, and consider it when the ADI issue comes up in the next contract negotiation.
For historical information
The following links lead to archived documents that contain more detail on the history of negotiations.
- MOA on Child Care (2007)
- MOA on Winter Holidays (2006)
- MOA on Winter Holidays (2007) Ratified
- MOA on $1000 bonus (2007) Ratified
- MOA on Promotions (2007) Ratified
- Joint memorandum on parental leave
- Tentatively Agreed Articles from the negotiations on the 2004-2007 contract
- History of Bargaining, including links to the full text of salary proposals exchanged by both sides, and FSU and OSU salary survey data, from the 2004-2007 contract negotiations.
- Salary Inequities, including graphs showing the scale of salary inversions and market inequities at FSU, as of fall 2005.
- MOA on fall 2005 raises
- MOA on one-time bonus of $1,000 for 2004
- MOA on fall 2004 raises
- 2004-2005 SUS faculty raise summary (Excel spreadsheet)