This is the time of year when we watch our state legislature closely to see what bills might have an impact on us. While the session started in January, their discussion of redistricting has been the focus, rather than budgets. We are watching for signs that there may be additional alterations to our retirement plans. I will keep you posted, and keep looking at www.uffucf.org for updates.
UFF is back at the bargaining table. We are nearing agreement about the Instructor/ Lecturer promotion plan, and we have several other areas of agreement already. We save salary issues until after the legislature sets budgets, just so you know, so those will occur later in the term, or perhaps not until summer. Any and all of you are welcome to come to bargaining sessions, which are posted on our website calendar and in the myUCF calendar.
As part of the bargaining process, we are also discussing the same-sex partner stipend being proposed by the UCF BOT. We are concerned that the stipend being offered is very limited, and possibly discriminatory. As a result, we will soon be sending you a survey to see if you would want to or be able to participate in such a plan, depending on what it has in it. The survey will be anonymous, but you can contact me or Jim Gilkeson, who will send the survey, if you want to speak to either of us about this issue.
I continue to meet regularly with the Provost to discuss issues of concern; these talks have been productive and collegial. We will also have a formal Consultation meeting later in the term; please send any items which you would like UFF to bring to their attention. In the recent past, we have discussed concerns about parking, technology, IRB restrictions, large class sizes, diminished faculty governance, the need to have searches for administrative positions (rather than appointing people).
In April we will have UFF elections of officers and Senators. I myself will NOT be running for President again, so the offices are truly open. We need good people to step up and become Senators, who serve on the Council, the group which advises the UFF president. Because of our successful membership drive last year, we now have 15 Senator seats (last year was 11), so think about joining UFF leadership.
Finally, I am happy to report that membership is increasing, especially among the sciences and technology fields; yes, your colleagues are now members! Our socials are packed; we like the current venue but we might have outgrown it already. Look for announcements about our social, and also for our upcoming workshops on promotion and tenure, RIA, and TIP. At these workshops, we give you the real information from those who have been successful.
I recently served on the University PT Committee; other council members have received accolades and awards for their research and teaching; several have served in administrative posts. You will find that UFF members are integrated into university life; we know what is going on, and we want you to know as well.
All the best for a productive semester.
Kathryn Seidel, UFF-UCF President