Fall 2016 welcome and update: Political action, contract negotiations, membership, and events

Dear Colleague,

Welcome to the new academic year. If you are a new faculty member, welcome to UF!

Here is a quick update on some UFF-related issues and events.

Political Action. UFF has a strong record of representing faculty and higher education interests in the Florida legislature.  Last spring, UFF’s statewide president received a national award for leadership in defeating the “Guns on Campus” bill in Florida. Thank you to all of you who made your opinions heard on this and other matters of concern to faculty. This year is shaping up to be a very important one for higher education issues, including the possible return of “Guns on Campus” legislation. We will keep you posted as issues emerge.

Contract Negotiations. Our bargaining team and the administration’s representatives are still negotiating the 2016-19 faculty contract. We hope it will be ready for ratification later in the fall. Until then, the provisions and protections of the 2013-16 contract remain in full force, including promotion increases, tenure and promotion procedures, leaves, and sabbaticals (but not the alternate sabbatical program).

The university has proposed to disburse the 2016-17 annual raise — 1.5% across the board — on January 1, 2017. We are disappointed with this offer of another year of sub-par raises, especially given President Fuchs’s repeated statements about the importance of competitive faculty salaries.

Unfortunately, the tenor of current contract negotiations has been discouragingly familiar. As he has made clear through his representatives, President Fuchs refuses to address issues that you have identified as important. These include raising faculty salaries to the level of our national peers, achieving pay equity among UF faculty, bringing promotion raises in line with those of other Florida state universities, and creating a fair parental leave policy. We will continue to make the strongest case possible for these and other issues, which we believe are in the best interests of the faculty and the university. Please consider signing our petition for better parental leave policies at UF.

Membership. If you are not yet a member of United Faculty of Florida, please join today. Your membership and involvement make UFF an even stronger voice for faculty on this campus and across the state.  If you are already a member, please reach out to your colleagues and urge them to join.

Social events. We have a number of exciting events planned for fall, so mark your calendars:

Welcome (Back)New/Old Faculty Reception
Thursday, September 15,   5:00 – 7:00
Dough Religion
1404 W. University Ave.
Gainesville FL 32603

Campus And Beyond UFF-UF Bus Tour
Saturday, September 24,  9:00 – 3:00
RSVP to officemanager@uff-uf.org to save your spot

Fall Members’ Dinner
Tuesday, October 25, 5:00 – 7:30
United Church of Gainesville
1624 NW 5th Ave
Gainesville FL 32603

With best wishes for the coming academic year,

Susan Hegeman
Chapter President