Your Federal Quarterly Tax Payments are due April 15th Get Help Now >>

DIMENSION by tyndale


      The Newsletter of the UNF United Faculty of Florida (UFF)
                                       September, 2002

Our FBOE-UFF Agreement expires on January 7, 2003. This is the date contractual
power will formally pass to the local University Board of Trustees (UBOT). Historically,
when our union contract expired at the end of June, collective bargaining negotiations
started during the prior fall term. Obviously, we have very little time until the contract
expiration date on January 7 compared to the traditional expiration at the end of June.
        On August 26, 2002, Bruce Fortado, UNF-UFF President, wrote a letter to David
Kline, UNF Interim President, requesting dates be put forth for collective bargaining
during the fall term. Joann Campbell, the President’s Representative for Collective
Bargaining and Labor Relations, replied on September 6, 2002. She stated no dates for
bargaining will be put forward until the Public Employees Relations Commission
(PERC) certification process has concluded. Over the same time frame, the UFF filed
eleven petitions with PERC to conform, modify or amend our certification to reflect local
rather than central bargaining for all of the former state schools. Earlier, a simple transfer
had been made from the BOR to the FBOE. Most faculty members had no reason to take
an interest in this cooperative petition process. This time, however, the administrators at
all eleven schools have raised multiple denials of allegations and assertions that the
school officials lack sufficient knowledge. Since this adversarial stance has been
taken, rulings will have to be made on these matters. In short, none of the
administrators at the eleven schools are simply proceeding with business as usual with
the UFF. Despite the rhetoric about power being passed to the local level, a coordinated
centralized strategy appears to be in operation. During his March, 13 visit to UNF, Tom
Auxter, UFF President, observed we now live in a very politicized environment.
        A number of things may happen. PERC could certify the UFF as the bargaining
agent. PERC could also rule in favor of the administrators from the eleven schools. This
would mean the UFF would have to prove majority status on each campus via a card
signing campaign, and if sufficient interest is documented, a subsequent PERC
supervised union representation election. Otherwise, all our contract rights will be lost.
        Time is very short. Our administrators have adopted a course of action that will
consume time. This makes it increasingly likely our union contract will lapse. The
administrators on some campuses have already made it clear they plan to make unilateral
adjustments once the contract expires. All of our faculty should recognize this danger.
        What subjects are covered by our union contract? Our contract provides a legal
foundation for tenure. When Florida Gulf Coast University was opened, the vast
majority of the faculty positions were filled via two or three year contracts. As the
tenured faculty members who were originally from USF retired, their positions were left
vacant. This model could spread if our union contract lapses.
        Academic freedom is provided for in our union contract. Prior to the UFF
coming on the scene at UNF, we had numerous violations of academic freedom. In the
past few years, Charlie Christ made remarks about a situation at FAU that showed he
does not accept our concept of academic freedom. In the past year, a faculty member at
USF, Sami Al-Arian, has come under attack for his political views and unpopular
associates. The UFF has taken a stand for due process in this case. Each faculty member
deserves to have specific charges stated if his employment status is to be adversely
altered. He should also be given the chance to face his accusers and rebut the charges.
The grievance procedure we have in our union contract culminating in arbitration by a
neutral third party is a privilege we should cherish. The faculty members at state schools
in Alabama, for example, do not have a grievance procedure culminating in arbitration.
These Alabama faculty also cannot bargain over wages like we can.
        Our union contract provides for compensation of 12.5% of our nine-month
contract for our first two summer courses, and 8% for a third, if sufficient courses are
available. In many other environments, a flat rate is offered per summer class. If our
contract lapses, will we be offered far less for our summer courses? Our union contract
also provides for specific numbers of full paid one-term sabbaticals (one for every forty
employees). There is no guarantee this will be preserved if our contract lapses. The
phased retirement program is provided for in our union contact. This prevents it from
being halted with no discussion. Our intellectual property rights with reference to our
research and teaching materials are covered by our contract. In our last negotiations, the
FBOE sought to gain the complete rights to our intellectual works and inventions. The
UFF rejected this change. At UF, faculty members who are not in the bargaining unit
have been asked to turn over their property rights.
        Last year, our administrators got no raise due to financial difficulties that arose
during the year. In the early 1990s, the state tried to cancel our negotiated raises due to a
financial crisis. The UFF obtained a favorable court ruling. Put simply, the state cannot
undermine the contracts it has made. This court decision saved our bargaining unit raises
last year. The state had to honor the raises set forth in our union contract.
        Some people believe they would be better off individually negotiating their raises
with our administrators. Tom Auxter, UFF President, has lobbied this year for a 17%
raise to bring our faculty back in line with national averages. Eighty-nine percent of the
faculty in our most recent UFF-UNF survey (2002) agreed or strongly agreed there are
inversion-compression problems that need to be addressed. There has not been an
adequate amount of raise money to keep up with market levels over the past decade.
Turnover is rising. Attracting new faculty to Florida has become more difficult. All of
the faculty at our eleven former state schools cannot just pick up and get better jobs
elsewhere. We need to stand together and fight for our joint interests.

  UFF Unfair Labor Practice Charge Against the
  Florida Board of Education Sustained by PERC
During our collective bargaining negotiations last school year (2001-2002), the
negotiators for the Florida Board of Education (FBOE) rejected our request for a
percentage raise in our base salary. We asked for 1.5% across the board and 1.6% merit.
Instead, the FBOE representatives insisted on one-time bonuses that would be given to
people based on unspecified criteria at some point in the future. The UFF would not
take part in this process. The UFF would simply be informed after the fact.
        State law prohibits our union from striking. In the place of a strike, we have an
impasse procedure that calls for a presentation by both sides to a neutral Special Master.
This Special Master weighs both sides and makes recommendations to the Legislature.
        The FBOE took the above bonus position to impasse and presented it to the
Special Master. State law gives the UFF the right to negotiate over salary increments and
bonuses. The FBOE position provided no part for the UFF in determining either raises in
our salary or the proposed one-time bonuses. The FBOE thereby insisted the UFF give
up its legal right to negotiate over salaries and bonuses. The UFF filed an unfair labor
practice charge with the Public Employees Relations Commission (PERC) on March 11,
2002. The Commission’s General Counsel found the charge sufficient and held an
evidentiary hearing on May 3, 2002 where both sides were heard. On June 4, 2002, the
hearing officer issued an order in which he found the FBOE had violated state law.
He also recommended reasonable attorney’s fees and costs of the litigation be awarded
to the UFF. On July 17, 2002, PERC adopted the hearing officer’s finding of fact, his
analysis of legal issues and his conclusions of law. The unfair labor practice charge
was sustained. The FBOE was required to post a notice for 60 days stating: they will
not insist the UFF waive its bargaining rights; they will not fail to bargain in good faith
over wages, hours and terms and conditions of employment; and they will not interfere
with, restrain, or coerce bargaining unit members in the exercise of their legal rights.
        You should have been able to see these PERC notices in conspicuous locations
where employees view postings. The UNF-UFF searched our campus for these notices.
Only two copies of the notice could be found. One was inside the Personnel Office, in a
location where few faculty members are likely to ever see it. The other was posted in the
Library in a place employees could see it. Was this proper campus-wide compliance?
        The Legislature eventually adopted a 2.5% across the board raise. Governor
Bush subsequently signed this decision into law. If the UFF had not been there to
negotiate, make a presentation to the Special Master, lobby and file an unfair labor
practice, it seems quite likely we would not have a raise in our base pay.

                           The President’s Message
The AFL-CIO has endorsed Bill McBride in the 2002 race for the Governor of Florida.
        A central question I must answer as UNF-UFF President is why a faculty member
should join our union. In order to properly answer this question, I must digress for a
moment to place this discussion in broader social context.
        As a child, I was taught one should always be thankful for the blessings one
receives in life. Being ungrateful, taking one’s blessings for granted, was a sin.
        Why do people pay high levels of taxes? Perhaps some people do so gladly,
because they believe in what the government is doing. Many others do so to avoid the
devastating possible legal consequences of tax evasion.
        Why do people leave a tip of 15% or more in a restaurant? One might say this is
a social norm or good practical sense. Good service is rewarded, while bad service is
punished. If one will be a return patron, one must weigh the risk of the same server
and/or chef doing things to one’s food or providing even worse service. In both of these
examples, coercion appears to play a key part in motivating “proper” behavior.
        When one forms a close friendship or falls in love, one can enter a giver/taker
relationship or a reciprocal relationship. Relationships where one person takes, while
giving little in return, normally prove to be unstable and dysfunctional for both parties.
Relationships that are reciprocal in nature prove to be more sustainable and rewarding.
        I am now ready to address my original question. Why should one join a union,
especially since some people think they can obtain the benefits without contributing any
of their time or money? Unions are an industrial form of government. Union dues in
states with right-to-work laws like Florida are essentially voluntary taxes. Your union
representatives can do little without adequate financial resources. An analogy can also be
drawn to tipping. A union renders services and must trust the recipients will pay the
appropriate recompense. There are no coercive consequences to motivate joining beyond
the dangers of unilateral abusive employer decision-making. Legally, the UFF must
represent all of the members of the bargaining unit. The best relationships in life are not
forced relationships. Reciprocal relations are the best blessing one can receive. Those
who voluntarily join our union and actively contribute are far more likely to be rewarded
in the long term. Our administrators must listen to us when many of us speak together.

All UNF faculty members should join the UFF, Bruce Fortado, UNF-UFF President

                     You Can’t Afford Not to Join the UFF
 Fill Out the Membership Form Below and Send it to: Bruce Fortado, Department
of Management, College of Business Administration, UNF, Building 42, Room 3105
       United Faculty of Florida (UFF-FEA-NEA-AFT) Membership Form

 Please print Complete Information Circle One
                                   Dr.    Mr.
 ___________________________ Ms. Mrs. ______________________________
 Social Security Number                       Last Name First Name MI

 ___________________________                 ___________________________________
 Home Street Address                           University Campus  Department

 __________________________                  ____________________________________
 City       State ZIP Code                     Office Phone    Home Phone

               (UFF-FEA-NEA-AFT) THROUGH [Circle one]

   (1) PAYROLL DEDUCTION, or (2) CASH PAYMENT (the membership rate is 1%)


To top