UFF-UCF published in the spring edition of UFF News and Views

UFF-UCF published in the spring edition of UFF News and Views

The update below, written by UFF-UCF President Scott Launier and treasurer Yovanna Pineda was published in News and Views, the UFF internal quarterly magazine.

UFF-UCF changes Compulsory Leave to Recovery Leave

By Yovanna Pineda and Scott Launier

Two years ago, a faculty member was facing termination for failing at their duties while lecturing to a class. But unfortunately, it was the faculty member who was failing.

When the faculty member came to our union for help, we became immediately concerned with their health. We encouraged and assisted in setting up a medical appointment.

Our faculty member had been displaying signs of mental deterioration. It was astounding to us, but their chair had begun a disciplinary process, seeking a just cause termination as the way to be rid of this faculty member.

Our union stepped in. While it was not easy, we won an early retirement package for our faculty member, with all reprimands removed from their record.

This one case helped us rethink how someone with a serious illness should be treated. We changed the language from compulsory leave to recovery leave because it shows compassion. The tone changes from “you’re no longer useful to this university” to language that asks, “what can we do to help you?” In practical terms, the goal is on recovery and being able to return to work, as opposed to being reprimanded for being ill. Under the old compulsory leave article, the administration determined when it might be used. Under recovery leave, faculty have more agency to decide when they need this option.

This language came at an auspicious time as COVID19 is in our midst. Everyone is vulnerable, and some of us, especially those with pre-existing conditions, can become chronically ill. Recovery leave is a benefit for everyone. It’s peace of mind to know that if we get sick, we won’t be reprimanded or fired because of it.

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

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.

* * *

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

Update from our LLI NYC partner

Update from our LLI NYC partner

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

NEW YORK CITY CAMPAIGN FINANCE BOARD ANNOUNCES
SPONSORS AND SCHEDULE FOR 2019 PUBLIC ADVOCATE SPECIAL ELECTION

January 19, 2019 – The New York City Campaign Finance Board (CFB) announces the sponsors and schedule for the NYC Debate Program for the 2019 Public Advocate special election which will be held on February 26.

Both debates for the Public Advocate special election will be sponsored and broadcast by Spectrum News NY1. The following co-sponsors will join with NY1 in producing the debates: POLITICO New York, Citizens Union, Borough of Manhattan Community College, Latino Leadership Institute, The League of Women Voters of the City of New York, NAACP New York State Conference Metropolitan Council, and East Kings County Alumnae Chapter, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Any candidate who participates in the matching funds program is required to participate in each debate for which they are eligible. The Debate Program, launched in 1997, calls for two debates prior to each citywide election to provide voters with the opportunity to compare candidates side-by-side. This is the first time since the CFB was established in 1988 that the city has held a special election for a citywide office.


First Debate: February 6 starting at 7 p.m.

  • To be eligible to participate in this debate, candidates must:
    • have raised and spent $56,938 (1.25% of the expenditure limit for Public Advocate) as reflected in the campaign finance disclosure statement which must be filed with the CFB by midnight Friday, January 25;
    • be on the ballot as of the date of the debate and meet all other minimum criteria under the Campaign Finance Act.

Second “leading contenders” Debate: February 20 starting at 7 p.m. 

  • To be eligible to participate in this debate, candidates must:
    • have raised and spent $170,813 (3.75% of the expenditure limit for Public Advocate) as reflected in the campaign finance disclosure statement which must be filed with the CFB by midnight on Friday, February 15;
      AND
    • have received an endorsement from a City, State, or federal elected official who represents all or a potion of New York City; OR
    • have received an endorsement from one or more membership organizations with a membership of over 250 members residing in New York City;
    • be on the ballot as of the date of the debate and meet all other minimum criteria under the Campaign Finance Act.

Both debates will be televised by Spectrum News NY1 and simulcast by NYC-TV. The debates will be streamed live for free on the NY1 website and on the NY1 Facebook page. 

“We are very excited to announce that NY1, Politico, Citizens Union, and their partners will host the historic debates for the Public Advocate special election. The Debate Program is a critical part of New York City’s public matching funds program that empowers New Yorkers to take ownership of our elections and our government. On behalf of the Board, I want to thank all of the sponsors for their commitment to our city and to producing smart engaging debates that will help voters cast an informed ballot on Election Day,” said Frederick Schaffer, Chair, NYC Campaign Finance Board.

“[Quote],” said Anthony Proia, Senior Director of News at Spectrum News NY1 and Spectrum Noticias NY1.

“[Quote],” said David Giambusso, POLITICO New York.

“[Quote],” said Betsy Gotbaum, Executive Director of Citizens Union

“[Quote],”  said Jaime Estades, Founder and President of the Latino Leadership Institute

“[Quote],”  said Crystal Joseph, Vice President, League of Women Voters of the City of New York.  

“[Quote],”  said Douglas Israel, Borough of Manhattan Community College

“For 106 years, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. has been committed to social justice and tirelessly works to promote civic engagement and voter education. The East Kings County Alumnae Chapter of Delta SigmaTheta Sorority, Inc. is excited to be a co-partner with NY1 for the Public Advocate debates and empower voters to make an informed decision when going to the polls in February for this very important election” said Judith Joseph Jenkins, President, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., East Kings County Alumnae Chapter.

“For 110 years the NAACP has been proud to participate in the voter education process, by providing opportunities for communities to know and understand the candidates seeking election, through the debate process. An educated voter, is a knowledgeable and powerful voter,”  said Kenneth D. Cohen, Regional Director, NAACP New York State Conference Metropolitan Council

The program is a core component of NYC Votes, the CFB’s nonpartisan voter engagement campaign.The CFB administers the Debate Program, and individual debates are sponsored by media outlets, civic groups, and academic institutions in order to reach as wide and diverse an audience as possible. The Board selected the sponsors after a thorough, competitive process. 

NYC Votes is the nonpartisan voter engagement initiative of the New York City Campaign Finance Board (CFB) and its Voter Assistance Advisory Committee (VAAC). In addition to promoting voter registration, participation, and civic engagement in New York City through its many programs and partnerships, NYC Votes sponsors the city’s official Debate Program and produces the citywide Voter Guide.

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UCF VP for Equity, Inclusion & Diversity:  Feedback Needed!

UCF VP for Equity, Inclusion & Diversity: Feedback Needed!

Four finalists for UCF’s new Vice President for Equity, Inclusion and Diversity are on campus next week to meet the campus community.

Each candidate will give a presentation at an open forum held at the FAIRWINDS Alumni Center in the grand ballroom. The new vice president will lead and organize an infrastructure to foster community engagement, develop partnerships to bring about transformative change and identify and support target areas to maximize inclusive excellence at UCF. The vice president will develop an institutional framework for equity, inclusion and diversity that supports the university’s mission and strategic plan, ensuring the pillars of equity, inclusion and diversity are embedded at all levels.

More information on the finalists – including forum times and links for web casts, candidate details and forum feedback – can be found below. Your feedback is important to this process. Surveys should be completed within 24 hours of each forum.

Dr. Gregory J. Vincent
Forum: Tuesday, January 22, 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
YouTube link: https://youtu.be/vCfJ34kQqZ4
Candidate info: https://diversity.ucf.edu/files/2019/01/Vincent-Gregory-Resume_Redacted.pdf
Feedback: http://ucf.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_01EYifPmUSFobPL

Sheree M. Ohen
Forum: Wednesday, January 23, 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
YouTube link: https://youtu.be/cDZ7sHDSUS8
Candidate info: https://diversity.ucf.edu/files/2019/01/Ohen-Sheree-Resume-Redacted.pdf
Feedback: http://ucf.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_cuSFiQq6hh5HUZ7

Dr. Carlos Medina
Forum: Thursday, January 24, 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
YouTube link: https://youtu.be/IInsWE9dRsc
Candidate info: https://diversity.ucf.edu/files/2019/01/Medina-Carlos-Resume_Redacted.pdf
Feedback: http://ucf.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_egSC2vo0ow7P17T

Monica Díaz
Forum: Friday, January 25, 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.
YouTube link: https://youtu.be/wQLxcJha6aM
Candidate info: https://diversity.ucf.edu/files/2019/01/Diaz-Monica-Resume_Redacted.pdf
Feedback: http://ucf.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_8jNzhLe7iPst9d3

More information about the position and the candidates can be found at https://diversity.ucf.edu/ucf-hiring-vp-for-equity-inclusion-diversity/

Jobs with Justice Art Auction and Awards Gala

Jobs with Justice Art Auction and Awards Gala

Celebrate with UFF-UCF members, leaders, and community partners at the 2018 Jobs with Justice Art Auction and Awards Gala!

Tuesday, December 11
7:30 – 10:00pm
Harry P. Leu Gardens
1920 N Forest Ave, Orlando FL 32803

We have limited tickets available to UFF-UCF Members plus one guest, each a $50 value!

Contact Scott Launier at President@UFFUCF.org for more information and to inquire about tickets.

Toy Drive!

Toy Drive!

The Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) is hosting a Toy Drive with the toys going to children of farm workers. You can deliver the toys and party with union members at the Central Florida AFL-CIO party on Wednesday, December 12 from 6:30 PM – 9:30 PM at the Unite HERE office on 1255 La Quinta Drive, Orlando, FL 32809.

If you would like to donate toys, participate in a wrapping party, or even help with delivery, contact Scott Launier at President@UFFUCF.org.

LCLAA is one of our AFL-CIO partners, and you can learn more about their organization and membership (dues are only $25 per year) to support their work here: https://www.lclaa.org/.

For more about the Central Florida LCLAA chapter: http://centralflorida.lclaa.org/