Results of our Bargaining Session of July 16, 2019

Our UFF-UCF Bargaining Team was back in session Tuesday morning, July 16, continuing negotiations on the contract topics of Assignment of Responsibility (Article 9) and Benefits (Article 24) with the UCF Board of Trustees team. This was our 31st bargaining session for the current 2018-2021 contract.

Some great news to report: We closed our final substantive Articles 9 and 24. At our next session on August 1, we plan to finalize the contract details. The UCF BOT also handed out Article 30 (Amendment and Duration), Article 32 (Definitions), and Appendices, for final discussion on August 1. That next session is Thursday, August 1st from 1:00pm to 3:30pm, in EDU 305.


Read our faculty contract here, and learn about our bargaining process and session dates on our Bargaining page. Below is a list of those who attended Tuesday, June 11.

UFF-UCF Bargaining Team (the Faculty Union):

  • Jennifer Sandoval – UFF-UCF Chief Negotiator
  • Yovanna Pineda – UFF-UCF Treasurer
  • John Raible – UFF-UCF Bargaining Team
  • John Fauth (by phone) – UFF-UCF Bargaining Team
  • Richard Siwica – UFF-UCF Employment Attorney

UCF Board of Trustees Bargaining Team (the University BOT):

  • Michael Mattimore – UCF Employment Lawyer, Managing Partner of Allen Norton & Blue, P.A.
  • Sherry Andrews – UCF Associate General Counsel
  • Sara H. Potter – UCF Associate General Counsel
  • Charles “Chuck” Reilly – UCF Associate Dean of Academic Affairs
  • Ross Wolf – UCF Interim Assistant Provost of UCF Downtown

Session Guests:

  • Briannis Weston – UCF Administrative Assistant, Office of the Provost
  • Louis Torretta – Legal intern with Richard Siwica and UCF graduate
  • Dave Plotkin – UFF-UCF Communications

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UFF-UCF at the NEA RA 2019, Houston, Texas

The Representative Assembly of the National Educational Association in Houston, Texas 2019 is now behind us. In addition to the everyday work of supporting educators in this country, many state delegates brought incredibly important social justice issues to the floor as New Business Items (NBIs). The NEA is well organized and we learned a lot watching our NEA president, Lily Eskelsen García manage a delegation of approximately 8,700 individuals from all fifty states.

UFF-UCF cares about the issues affecting K-12 teachers because their students are our students. It matters to us that half of the NBIs presented on the floor face the challenges and struggles of our students. Our K-12 teachers are on the front lines of understanding social-cultural issues adversely affecting student learning, including opioid addicted parents, poverty, gang violence, and depression. Among the issues, our K-12 Florida delegates explained how charter schools hurt them, students, and ultimately, all of us.

In Florida, income inequality and poverty are  pervasive. At least half of Florida’s public schools qualify for Title 1, the largest federally funded educational program that provides supplemental funds to school districts to assist with the highest student concentrations of poverty to meet educational goals. This percentage is likely skewed. The minimum federal requirements for receiving Title 1 is that 40 percent of the students must be in one of the special needs or poverty categories. But in Florida the need is so high that Florida state requires that 60 to 62 percent of the students must be in a special needs or a poverty category to qualify for the program.

Close to home, under promise of anonymity, a Florida educator said that a local middle school is at 58 percent, hoping it reaches 60 percent, so that the school can best address issues affecting student learning, such as malnourishment. This educator said, “it’s a weird thing to wish for but it’s the reality of the Florida education system.” They need federal aid because state funding has continuously declined since 2008.

Also, at the RA, ten presidential candidates came to share their positions and plans about education. As the largest labor union in the nation with 3 million members, we have power and are ready to face this election season with strength and determination!

Your 2019 NEA RA delegates from UCF are Jennifer Sandoval, Yovanna Pineda, Michael Armato, and Scott Launier.

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Statistics and basic information about this year’s Florida participation by Florida Education Association Vice President, Andrew Spar:

At the #NEARA19, the gavel went down at 18:18 Central time on Sunday, July 7, 2019. We dealt with a record 160 New Business Items, the budget, resolutions, the legislative program and the mission and vision statement. We also heard from ten presidential candidates, the Educational Support Professional of the year, the Higher Ed Professional of the year and the Teacher of the year. The 227 Florida delegates were at the microphone for more than ever, three delegates successfully moved four NBI’s, we exceeded our PAC goal and did it in record time, and we had a blast at the first Florida Night in years. Thanks to our Florida Education Association (FEA) delegates. You represented Florida exceptionally! Next year is Atlanta! Let’s keep moving forward! #FundOurFutureFL

Meet UFF-UCF Secretary and Sociology Lecturer Dr. Michael Armato

Family ties and a strong faculty union brought the ‘92 UCF graduate back home to teach

Growing up in Altamonte Springs, Dr. Michael Armato never expected to become an academic or an advocate for human society.

A Lake Mary High School student, Armato graduated from UCF in 1992 with a B.S. in Marketing. His sights were set on the corporate world, but after a 2-year stint in sales-related work, he discovered sociology. The subject fascinated him and motivated him to seek ways to improve people’s lives.

Armato departed for Gainesville in 1995 for his master’s in Sociology. He graduated with his Ph.D. in Sociology from New York University in 2006, just blocks from the Madison Avenue advertising firms he once studied at UCF. Armato was active in his union at UF (UFF-Graduate Assistants United) and became a founding member of GSOC-UAW during its historic unionizing campaign at NYU.

Armato began his faculty career as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at Northeastern Illinois University in the fall of 2006, becoming an Associate Professor five years later and achieving tenure in the fall of 2012. He became one of the core faculty members of the Women’s and Gender Studies program at NEIU. His main areas of study were gender inequalities and perceptions of masculinity, subjects he continues to research at UCF.

During his time at NEIU, he earned multiple accolades, including an NEIU Research Community Grant in the 2007-2008 academic year, a Faculty Excellence Award for teaching in 2009, a Student Choice Award in the 2012-2013 academic year, and the Martha Thompson Outstanding Faculty Award in the 2015-2016 academic year. Throughout his time at NEIU, Armato was an active union member with the University Professionals of Illinois-Local 4100, holding multiple elected positions.

Deciding to leave NEIU was a difficult decision for Armato. “My work at NEIU was incredibly rewarding, but my partner, Amanda, had just had a baby, and with our daughter, who is now six and getting bigger, we just decided it was time to come back,” says Armato.

Relinquishing Tenure to Come Home to Central Florida

“UCF is such a diverse university, and it’s a university with high numbers of first-time-in-college students, which was a draw for me.”

The new position, however, posed a significant dilemma: After ten years of teaching in Chicago, Illinois, why would a tenured professor move to Florida for a non-tenured lecturer position?

“I liked that we had a faculty union,” says Armato. “Lecturers have a promotion process, but it is not a tenured position. I knew I was giving up security, especially moving back to a state with hurdles to union membership. But having UFF-UCF here gave me the confidence to make the jump.”

Now a Lecturer in the Sociology Department – and the Coordinator of the Social Sciences BS program since 2018, Armato will take on yet another role in the fall of 2019, when he becomes the Coordinator of the Sociology Undergraduate program.

“I was hired with the goal of taking this role on,” Armato says. “If anything needs to happen in terms of the curriculum I am involved. I was hired with that as the intent.”

Since joining UCF, Armato has been a reviewer on the College of Sciences Program Assessment Committee, as well as a member of both the Sociology Undergraduate Curriculum Committee and the PRIDE Faculty and Staff Association. After three short years, he’s contributed a fair amount of service to work to the college.

Armato has authored and co-authored journal articles including “Gendered Violence and Interruptions to Education,” “Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing: Men’s Enlightened Sexism & Hegemonic Masculinity in Academia,” and “Pedagogical Engagements: Feminist Resistance to the Militarization of Education.”

He is also a fan of scooters, and owns two of them. One he got for free on Craigslist and restored to working condition on his own.

UFF-UCF Leadership

Some of Armato’s most important work is supporting and providing leadership for UFF-UCF, the faculty union that facilitated his move back to UCF.

“If it were up to a fair number of administrators and politicians, there would be no unions. There would be a corporate environment where, semester by semester, we would just teach, no breaks,” says Armato. “There are a lot of threats on the horizon, including whether unions will exist. My own goal is to protect UFF from the most nefarious aspects of our political climate.”

Armato sees a growing UFF-UCF attracting even more talented new faculty members for years to come. “One of the ways to know our university faculty members are thriving is if we attract highly qualified members of academia.”

Preview of the NEA Representative Assembly in July

As a UFF-UCF member, you are also a member of the NEA – here’s how to participate

The National Education Association’s
Representative Assembly – known as “the RA” – is the highest decision-making body within the NEA’s membership of 3 million educators. With 8,000 delegates attending, the NEA Representative Assembly (NEA RA) is the largest democratic deliberative assembly in the world.

As a UFF-UCF member, you are automatically an NEA member. The NEA RA takes place during the last four days of the NEA Annual Meeting event in Houston, Texas, specifically July 4-7. While only delegates may register for this meeting and join the RA, UFF-UCF members can watch the Assembly in person or live online.

UFF-UCF will post more conference resources here as they are shared.

The purpose is to propose changes and vote on the Constitution and Bylaws, but the event includes broad advocacy education. Representatives arrive from state and local affiliates, student members, retired members, and various segments of the united education profession.

The National Education Association (NEA) is the country’s largest professional employee organization. The NEA leads the effort to create safe learning environments for students. Their Community Outreach Committee plans volunteer opportunities for the three days before the NEA RA.

The Annual Meeting is held in a different U.S. city each year. The National Teacher of the Year will be a guest speaker for the assembly, which will provide day-care options during the assembly.

Each affiliate of the NEA, like UFF-UCF, selects delegates to send to the convention to represent the affiliate’s interest. These delegates serve a vital role in holding the organization accountable. They are responsible for electing executive officers and executive committee members, and some members of the NEA Board of Directors.

You can read the entire agenda for the 2019 NEA Annual Meeting here. Stay up-to-date on all UFF-UCF events, and contact us here if you have any questions.

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Results of Our June 11 Contract Bargaining Session

Our UFF-UCF Bargaining Team was back in session Tuesday morning, June 11, continuing negotiations on the contract topics of Benefits with the UCF Board of Trustees team. This was our 30th bargaining session for the current 2018-2021 contract. UFF-UCF’s John Fauth brought along baby daughter Stella to meet the team.

Today we discussed Article 24, Benefits, at length. We may tentatively approve (TA) this article at the next session. We also discussed the process for handling names and forms for Membership (Article 26, Payroll Deduction).

Read our faculty contract here, and learn about our bargaining process and session dates on our Bargaining page. Below is a list of those who attended Tuesday, June 11.

UFF-UCF Bargaining Team (The Faculty Union):

  • Jennifer Sandoval – UFF-UCF Chief Negotiator, Associate Professor and Program Coordinator in Communication
  • Yovanna Pineda – UFF-UCF Treasurer, Assistant Professor of History
  • Scott Launier – UFF-UCF President, Associate Instructor of English
  • John Fauth – UFF-UCF Bargaining Team, Associate Professor of Biological Sciences

UCF Board of Trustees Bargaining Team (The University BOT):

  • Sherry Andrews – UCF Associate General Counsel
  • Sara H. Potter – UCF Associate General Counsel
  • Charles “Chuck” Reilly – UCF Associate Dean of Academic Affairs
  • Charlie Piper – UCF Assistant Director, Contract Compliance and Administrator Support

Session Guests:

  • Aisha Morfe-Bencosm – UCF Benefits Assistant Manager
  • Ashley Longoria – UCF HR Associate Director, Benefits & Leave Administration
  • Briannis Weston – UCF Administrative Assistant, Office of the Provost
  • Dr. Mason Cash – UFF-UCF Member, Associate Professor of Philosophy
  • Dave Plotkin – UFF-UCF Communications
  • Stella Fauth – Baby daughter of John Fauth

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