Bargaining update, August 6, 2015

After careful research and deliberation, and in consultation with Chapter President Susan Hegeman, your UFF-UF bargaining team has declared this year’s salary negotiations with the administration to be at impasse. We take this step reluctantly, but we believe it is necessary. In what follows, we explain our reasons.

As our faculty climate surveys indicate, and as conversations with many of you have confirmed, morale at UF is low. It has been low for some time. The sources of this problem are many, but salary issues play a major role. Consider the following:

  • over the last five years, our salaries have not kept up with inflation
  • over the last five years, our raises have not kept up with those of UF upper administrators
  • even after adjusting for cost of living, our salaries are consistently below those of our colleagues at peer institutions
  • our 9% promotion raises are among the lowest in the state
  • many of us are experiencing salary compression and, in some cases, salary inversion; we have offered to collaborate on a salary study that would detail the extent of this, but the administration has not responded
  • some departments’ merit procedures are murky, unenforced, or lacking altogether; the administration has not cooperated with us to remedy this

Over several weeks of bargaining, we have proposed various remedies for these problems. All our proposals have been based on facts and data, which we have made available to the administration, the bargaining unit, and the general public. In response to our proposals, the administration has offered not facts and data but only unsupported assertions and, in some cases, misrepresentations of its own financial situation. For example, you will recall the administration’s earlier claims about having to set aside some of this year’s extra funding (a result, by the way, of your performance) in case a boiler goes out. In fact, according to the Alligator, the university’s Boiler System budget is unchanged from last year.

The administration asserts it cannot afford more than the 2.5% raise—and that not effective until January—that it has already placed on the table. Yet, in addition to operating expenses, which remain flat from last year, UF’s 2015 budget includes the following:

  • $24.3 million ($19.3 million in performance funds and $5 million in pre-eminence funding)
  • $11 million in performance funding carried over from last year.

In addition, UF carries on its books over $148 million in unrestricted funds.

In sum, we believe UF has the funds to address the problems we have identified (and which, incidentally, its bargaining representatives have, at various times, acknowledged). What UF seems to lack, however, is a serious commitment to its faculty. Despite President Fuchs’s claim to want “competitive market-based compensation,” the administration’s actions reveal its disregard for the faculty’s central role in the work of the university.

As we prepare for impasse hearings and, eventually, to take our case to the Board of Trustees, we will need your support. If you are not a member of UFF, please join now. And whether you are a new or longstanding member, please consider taking an active role. There are many opportunities for you to get involved.

The UFF-UF Bargaining Team