Update

Update

Bargaining & Ratification

We believe we have reached a final negotiation for the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) 2021-2024. Right now this agreement is verbal and awaiting final signatures, public access to the final article language and one last bargaining session on Wednesday February 16 at 1:30pm, so it is not yet final.

At this last meeting we will finalize Article 30 and sign off on any outstanding articles we have agreed to and post them on the CBA webpage so they are all available to you. We anticipate the entire tentative agreement will be live and online by 4pm on February 16. I will send out a link when all the articles to the tentative agreement are live.

We have a verbally agreed to a 2.5% raise for those making more than $48,500 and those less will receive a 3.5% raise. Added to that will be a $2,500 one time payment. These funds will be distributed May 6, 2022.

We will host an online ratification for this CBA from Monday February 21 at 8am until February 28 at 11:59pm. Directions for how to vote and access to the ballot will come in a subsequent email closer to the ratification date will also host two Ratification Town Halls, the first Friday February 18 at 11:30am and the second Tuesday February 22 at 4:30pm. At these Town Halls the bargaining team and I will be there to answer any questions you might have about the CBA. By law we cannot ask or encourage you to vote yes or no, we can only encourage you to vote. These town halls are going to be informational in nature, not organizing meetings.

Everyone in the bargaining unit are eligible to vote in the ratification, you don’t have to be a union member to vote on the CBA. Since the CBA impacts everyone, casting your vote is encouraged.

The final bargaining session for this CBA will be on Wednesday February 16 at 1:30pm. We will finalize the remaining articles including Article 30. If you wish to attend and support the bargaining team use this link to the virtual meeting https://events.ucf.edu/event/2317421/faculty-collective-bargaining-notice/

Legislative Update

SB 520: Public Records and Public Meetings-this bill would allow president searches for public colleges and universities to be exempt from public records legislation. It would move presidential searches into the dark until the end of the process. Right now this legislation was heading for a floor vote in the Senate on Thursday February 3, but has been moved for a Senate vote today (February 9). You can follow the bill here
https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2022/520 The House version is still in various committees waiting a final vote in the Senate before it moves out of committee.

HB 7051: Postsecondary Education is a new draft bill introduced in committee. This bill requires colleges and universities to keep a public record for 5 years on books assigned and any other instructional material for each class. Additionally it requires public colleges and universities to seek accreditation from a different accreditation agency every five years. [https://myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Bills/billsdetail.aspx?BillId=76626]
There is a Senate companion to this bill SB 7044: Postsecondary Education. [https://myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Bills/billsdetail.aspx?BillId=76623&] Both bill are in committee in their respective bodies.

HB 1197: Employee Organizations Representing Public Employees-This is the draft bill from last year that failed to pass which would require public employee unions to have over 50% membership for certification but it would exclude police and fire departments. It is moving in various committees in the House while the Senate version is not moving yet. Right now it is in the House State Administration and Technology Appropriations Subcommittee. https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2022/1197

There still is no draft bill abolishing or revising tenure at public universities with the legislature.

In Solidarity,

Robert Cassanello
UFF-UCF, President

Update

Update

Free N-95 Masks

We still have N-95 masks, you can pick them up this week through Thursday January 27. I will leave them out in front of my office on the main campus in Trevor Colbourn Hall Room 348K. [https://map.ucf.edu/?show=123] My office is inside the Women and Gender Studies Suite which is 348. For those on the Downtown Campus I will be there Friday (January 28) and I can share masks with you and your colleagues just email me and schedule a pick up or drop off. president@uffucf.org We should have enough masks for the next week or so and then we will run out.

Free COVID Home Tests

Free home COVID tests are available from the Federal Government. A box of four test can be mailed to every household. To request tests, visit – COVIDtests.gov – Free at-home COVID-19 tests. Please share this news widely with your colleagues, friends and loved ones.

Bargaining Session

At the last Bargaining Session we agreed on a few more articles. You can see which we reached an agreement on at our bargaining site here: https://www.uffucf.org/bargaining/   We also offered a new Article 23 Salaries that you can read here https://www.uffucf.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/23UFF05011922.pdf UCF will respond to our Article 23 at the next Bargaining Session. We will be having our next Bargaining Session on February 2 at 1:30pm. You can come to the session virtual at https://events.ucf.edu/event/2317418/faculty-collective-bargaining-notice/.

UF Court Case on Academic Freedom

Last week a federal judge issued a ruling on the University of Florida academic freedom case and compared administrators at UF to “Chinese Party functionaries.” You can read the story here: https://floridaphoenix.com/2022/01/22/u-s-judge-raps-u-f-s-knuckles-blocks-policy-silencing-testimony-by-professors/ Remember Academic Freedom is a right bargained in our Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Robert Cassanello
UFF-UCF, President

Update

Bargaining and Legislative Update

Bargaining Update

We will be having our next bargaining session tomorrow Wednesday January 19 at 1:30pm. You can come to the session virtual at https://events.ucf.edu/event/2317411/faculty-collective-bargaining/

At the last session we agreed on a couple of articles and came close to some language on others. We plan to present a new Article 23 Salaries which I will update you after the session. We have not heard any updates to our rejection to Article 16 with a back door end to tenure by giving UCF the ability to ignore progressive discipline.

Many of you have joined us at these bargaining sessions and we on the bargaining team want to thank you for showing us and UCF your support of the team.

Masks

Many of you picked up N-95 masks in the past week. We still have more, we will distribute them until they run out. If you would like more masks I will leave them outside my office in a container on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 9-5pm until they are gone. My office is in Trevor Colbourn Hall Room 348K. [https://map.ucf.edu/?show=123] My office is inside the Women and Gender Studies Suite which is 348.

Legislative Update

The Florida Legislature convened for this session and the draft bills we tracked in November and December are now at various committees. Currently there is no draft bill abolishing or reforming tenure so far in this session. Below are some of the legislation that we are following and directly impact higher education in Florida which may be of interest to you.

SB 520: Public Records and Public Meetings-this bill would allow president searches for public colleges and universities to be exempt from public records legislation. It would move presidential searches into the dark until the end of the process. https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2022/520 this is the House version: HB 703: Pub. Rec. and Meetings/Postsecondary Education Executive Search https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2022/703 Both bills will be heard in their first committees in their respective bodies this week.

HB 6077: Postsecondary Intellectual Freedom and Viewpoint Diversity & SB 810: Education This bill will repeal the legislation from last year which included the “intellectual diversity” survey, the student right to record lectures etc. https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2022/6077 and https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2022/810 The House Bill has been read and referred to various education committees and in the Senate the bill have been introduced to the Judiciary, Education and Rules committees.

SB 242 & HB 57: Racial and Sexual Discrimination and Governor DeSantis introduced Stop the Wrongs to Our Kids and Employees (W.O.K.E.) Act. These draft bills are similar and will probably be combined later. SB 242 and HB 57 has been read in the Senate and the House respectively. These bills will ban various kinds of workshops and trainings around “divisive concepts” such as race, sex and gender. Governor DeSantis’ proposed legislation would go further and ban these ideas, theories and concepts from the classroom (K-12) and give parents the right to sue a school system if there is a violation of this proposed legislation.

(W.O.K.E.) Act: https://www.flgov.com/2021/12/15/governor-desantis-announces-legislative-proposal-to-stop-w-o-k-e-activism-and-critical-race-theory-in-schools-and-corporations/

HB57: https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2022/57
SB 242: https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2022/242/?Tab=RelatedBills

SB 666: State University Student Fee Waivers This bill would reduce student fees for graduate students at public universities who are also employed with the university. This bill has been read in the Senate. https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2022/666 There are similar bills in the Senate and House so should this continue these various bills might get combined.

SB 1458: Employee Organizations & HB 1197: Employee Organizations Representing Public Employees Both these bills were introduced at the beginning of this current legislative session in January 2022. They are the same draft legislation that went through the last legislative session in 2021 and failed at the 11th hour. This would require public unions (except law enforcement and firefighters) to maintain 50% membership density or decertify. The Senate bill has been referred to the Judiciary, Governmental Oversight and Accountability & Appropriations committees and the House bill has been read into the session.
SB 1458: https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2022/1458
HB 1197: https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2022/1197

HB 6007– Licenses to Carry Concealed Weapons or Firearms (Guns on Campus) Is now in Criminal Justice & Public Safety Subcommittee, referred to Post-Secondary Education & Lifelong Learning Subcommittee, and Judiciary Committees. https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2022/6007

As this and other legislation makes its way through the process I will update you.

In Solidarity,

Robert Cassanello,
President, UFF-UCF

Update

Salaries and Legislative Updates

Article 23 Salaries Update

We want to thank all of you who joined us for the bargaining session on November 10. Over 130 people attended on Zoom. We responded with a 3% across the board raise and the Interim Provost said no to this at the end of the session. We have been told time and again by the President, Interim Provost and various Vice Presidents how much our work and efforts during the past two years of the pandemic are appreciated. We have heard your responses to UCF salary negotiations and we plan to respond at the next bargaining session on December 1 at 1:30pm. In order to transform UCF into a premier metropolitan university we think UCF needs to invest in the human capital already on campus, it is a matter of priorities. Due to the rise in prices including the cost of housing, food, energy and transportation the US Labor Department has confirmed that inflation is 5.4% higher than last year.

Since we have not gotten a raise since September of 2019 many of you have pointed out that the figures mentioned in our negotiations represent a salary decrease in real numbers and your lived experience. We hear you and we will work to get the best salary package we can. We will have a response to Article 23 Salaries at the December 1 bargaining session, I will share the link when UCF posts it on the Events Calendar in the coming week.

Legislative Update

SB 666: State University Student Fee Waivers-this is a draft bill that will waive fees for graduate students with full time appointments. It is currently with the following committees: Education; Appropriations Subcommittee on Education; Appropriations.

HB 6077: Postsecondary Intellectual Freedom and Viewpoint Diversity-this is a draft bill to repeal HB-233 legislation that is the “intellectual diversity” survey and initiative. It is with the Post-Secondary Education & Lifelong Learning Subcommittee.

SJR 192: Commissioner of Education: This is a draft bill to create an amendment to make the Commissioner of Education an elected position and cabinet member. It is with the Senate Ethics and Elections; Education; Rules.

SB 520: Public Records and Public Meetings: This draft bill would allow Presidential Searches to not be subject to sunshine state public records requests. It is in the Senate – Referred to Education; Governmental Oversight and Accountability; Rules.

There has been no movement on SB 242/HB 57 Racial and Sexual Discrimination or HB 6007: Licenses to Carry Concealed Weapons or Firearms since my last update.

Also there is no news on a draft bill to abolish or revise tenure with the Florida Legislature at this time. This is not to say it will not happen, but at the moment there is no draft bill circulating or anyone publicly seeking support for one. Right now only the Provosts at USF and UF are interested in revising tenure at their universities and distributing drafts of such a proposal on their campuses and other campuses.

Our Social Media Pages

Don’t forget to find us and join us on social media for more information and updates. We have a Twitter account. We have a public Facebook page and if you are member please join our private Facebook Group: to qualify you can go here.

In Solidarity,

Robert Cassanello,
President, UFF-UCF

Update

UCF Draft Policy

This is an announcement. UCF has posted a draft policy, it is 4-216 DRAFT High Risk Entity Policy. Please look it over, especially those of you who are either international faculty or your research, grants and/or scholarly associations are overseas.

This new policy is in response to the Florida Legislature and their recent Statute 288.860.

According to this legislation there is a scrutiny of any professional relationships with foreign counties of concern. According to the legislation, a “Foreign country of concern” means the People’s Republic of China, the Russian Federation, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Republic of Cuba, the Venezuelan regime of Nicolás Maduro, or the Syrian Arab Republic, including any agency of or any other entity under significant control of such foreign country of concern.”

The policy draft directs you to a list of international organizations labeled “High Risk Entities.” https://www.research.ucf.edu/documents/PDF/2020/ListOfHighRiskEntities.pdf 

The UCF Policy is below:

https://policies.ucf.edu/rfc/4-216%20DRAFT%20High%20Risk%20Entity%20Policy.pdf

The Link to Comment on it (note for 14 days) is below:

https://policies.ucf.edu/rfc.asp

If this impacts you please comment on this policy, if you want to alert our union of anything in the policy please contact us.

Robert Cassanello
President, UFF-UCF
president@uffucf.org

Penalties of Collective Work Stoppages, Strikes and “Sick Outs” in Florida

Penalties of Collective Work Stoppages, Strikes and “Sick Outs” in Florida

Penalties of Collective Work Stoppages, Strikes and “Sick Outs” in Florida

UFF guidance for members during COVID-19 Pandemic

Please also see the UFF memo “Right to Refuse Unsafe Working Conditions” from October 7, 2020. All individual and collective actions come with risks and rewards. Please weigh these before deciding what is best for you, your colleagues and your family’s physical, mental, and financial health and safety.

All public employees do enjoy the constitutional right to assemble and the right to collectively bargain. UFF supports members in exercising these rights. Forms of action that are legal include: “work-the-contract” where you only preform the minimum outlined in your contract (no extra hours, no extra duties), wearing buttons or stickers to meetings/events, protesting/picketing (but not blocking access), as well as speaking out in the press or at events.

The Florida Constitution explicitly states that “public employees do not have the right to strike” (Art. 1, s.6) and this is reiterated by statute (§ 447.505, Fla. Stat.) that lays out harsh penalties for participating employees and unions. Illegal work stoppages include, but are not limited to, a strike or calling-in sick as an organized campaign (a “sick out”).

The union and public employees are subject to the following penalties for a strike or work stoppage:

Public Employees

  • Termination
  • If re-employed, 18 months of probation “at will”
  • If re-employed, compensation cannot exceed that received before the strike and no raise for at least 1 year
  • Forfeit all retirement benefits
  • Possible action against teaching certificate (if applicable)

Unions

  • Revocation of certification as the exclusive bargaining agent
  • Revocation of the right of dues deduction
  • Officers and employees fined between $50-$100 for each calendar day of strike
  • $20,000 each calendar day of the strike or the approximate cost to the public for the strike

UFF is obligated to inform you of these draconian penalties. Staff and leaders stand ready to assist all members in their pursuit of a strong voice in decisions that affect the health and lives of workers, students and the public during this unprecedented worldwide COVID-19 Pandemic.

*Distributed by UFF on November 17, 2020