I just wanted to send this update to all bargaining unit members because a number of you have emailed me this week to inquire about our salary negotiations. As you know our bargaining team submitted Article 23 Salaries to the BOT on February 24, 2021. In it we asked for a 3.5% raise this year and 3.5% increase each of the following two years. UCF told us after Labor Day they would know the budget and could begin to negotiate Article 23 Salaries. We have not had a salary increase since the summer of 2019 and our union feels we are due. During that time of no increase the standard of living has climbed 5%. We hope to share information about Article 23 Salaries and bargaining shortly.
I just wanted to reach out to everyone a week before classes start. Our union is here for you if you have any questions or concerns. We do not control campus COVID policies; we can only lobby and appeal to UCF on your behalf. We know the fall return is filling many of us with anxiety as we watch the CDC recommend universal indoor masking for K-12 schools but silent on higher education spaces. Some school systems and colleges in Florida switched to indoor mask policies in defiance of our government leaders while the State University System remains on the path our political leaders have laid out for us over the last year.
I share these updates to keep you all informed.
Florida Surpasses New York’s COVID-19 2020 Peak
We are hearing in the news that Florida has passed its highest rate of hospitalization, not for a day, week or month but instead since the pandemic started. Hospitals are under stress and are only performing necessary medical procedures. Florida officials have asked for assistance in the form of respirators to help our hospitals deal with the rise in cases. Our state political leaders have said this is a “seasonal fluctuation” and hospital concerns are only “media hysteria.” We do not agree and we want you to be prepared. We in the union are doing the best we can to assist you through this pandemic. The NEA has created a page that informs you of your legal rights during our return to campus. You can access it here.
UCF COVID Decision Triggers
We want to alert you to the fact that the “UCF COVID Decision Triggers” page is returned and revised. This page originally appeared in the spring of 2020 and remained online throughout the pandemic. In July we asked UCF since the page was still online if those trigger benchmarks would remain in effect and thus UCF COVID policy could change as a result. We were told “No” and the page was swiftly taken down. We advocated for its return. It was returned Friday August 13 and revised. Of course UCF is not alerting the university community to this, so we will.
Please note that UCF has not disclosed what the baseline is for these triggers. One trigger, describes “Sustained increases above 10% threshold in percent positive testing.” What is the number by which 10% would be measured to reach this benchmark? The number of cases at the beginning of the fall semester? Unfortunately this is not disclosed on the page. I am sure in UCF’s rush to put this page out the Emerging Issues and Crisis Response Team (EICRT) did not include this necessary information. We will ask them and get a response for you so we can update everyone. We will also inquire whether many of the “Community Triggers” have already been met? “Insufficient ICU beds and respirators in the region” just to name one.
The Tiggers page is a step in the right direction and we applaud UCF moving to address our concerns.
On Social Media
This is a reminder to find us on social media. We have a Twitter account and a Facebook page that is public. If you are a member you can join us in our private Facebook group where we have continued discussions about the pressing issues facing the Bargaining Unit as well as share advice and resources. If you are ineligible to join our Facebook group there is a simple remedy.
Robert Cassanello, UFF-UCF
I heard from many of you that you received your first vaccination shot with not problem and you only needed your driver’s license and UCF ID. The FEMA vaccination site is open from 7am-7pm. WESH News 2 has this FAQ concerning the site. Many of your colleagues have reported getting their first shot vaccinations without any problem and not much waiting.
Full Book Bargaining Town Hall
Tuesday March 9 at 5pm we will be hosting our next Full Book Bargaining Town Hall. At the previous two Town Halls we discussed Article 23: Salaries, Remote Teaching, Article 8 Appointment, Article 10: Employee Performance Evaluations and Sabbaticals.
Please come and join the conversation and add your concerns to the conversations.
Here is a link to the CBA that was negotiated in 2019.
The Bargaining team is your voice, they want to hear from you about the matters most important to you. Register for the Town Hall at the link below:
You are invited to a Zoom meeting.
When: Mar 9, 2021 05:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Register in advance for this meeting:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
This is a living document that may be updated at a later date. It was approved by UFF-UCF Council on January 19, 2021.
We the UFF-UCF council are committed to promoting diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice as expressed in our UFF-UCF Constitution. We support the call that it’s time to be actively antiracist. Equity is at the core of union values, but that does not mean we always live up to the goals of creating a truly humane and safe working environment. Our UFF-UCF chapter and our university are not immune to the structural inequalities that are embedded within American society and within institutions of higher education. We are committed to fostering a union and workplace community that is anti-racist and equitable through practicing accountability, responsiveness, and transparency. This includes treating all union members with respect and not just those who agree with us. This work is on-going and should not fade away even if news coverage does. Making progress on these issues will not only require the acknowledgement that racism, sexism, and other forms of discrimination exist, but also a commitment to managing our union in a way that helps build coalitions among our members to accomplish the work that must
We recognize that too often the work of equity and inclusion falls disproportionately on our BIPOC and marginalized colleagues and therefore we are committed to activating accomplices and holding those of us with more privilege accountable and engaged. Anti-racist, equity, and inclusion work requires much more than diverse representation. Diversity can take the form of tokenism where people from minoritized groups are used as props rather than being treated with respect with equal access to power and influence. We recognize the deep work we need to do as a chapter and on our campus. As UFF-UCF executive officers, we see our role as stewards, not union bosses whose opinions and ideas matter more than those on our council or our membership. We seek to promote dialogue and input, not to silence it. We know that many typical organizational practices, planning, and metrics are in fact the result of White supremacist norms. It is difficult work to break these habits and scripts. We look forward to engaging our entire membership in discussion and planning about critical changes that need to take place. In the meantime we have outlined our initial strategies and proposals for action in three core areas:
UFF-UCF Chapter Policies and Practices
- Our stewardship of union council meetings will be open and accessible. We will promptly and consistently publish meeting agendas, minutes, rules and policies. We will not weaponize Robert’s rules to silence or suppress discussion, even when we feel that discussion to be “disruptive.” Our role as stewards of our union’s resources is to lead while hearing critique and being open to challenges from our members. Together we guide ethical policy and best practice.
- Our annual budget will also be consistently clear and transparent. We understand budgets to be a statement of our community’s values. We will provide actual financial resources to the work of supporting those value priorities.
UCF Faculty Hiring and Retention
- We plan to complete a comprehensive, university-wide analysis and review of faculty salaries, awards, TIP/RIA/SoTL eligibility, workloads, spousal hiring practices and more to identify individuals and groups who have been discriminated against
- We will work to remedy the ways in which systematic racism are embedded in hiring and promotion policies and practices by looking at hiring data and bargaining change to hiring requirements
Climate and Faculty Advocacy
- We will review policies and practices around policing and surveillance on our campuses as part of the conditions of employment that make navigating UCF’s campus more difficult for some members of the bargaining unit than for others
- We commit to engaging in difficult dialogues about race and its intersections with other systems of oppression by hosting regular town halls and workshops that can lead to more collective insight into needed action
- We are committed to upholding the policies of nondiscrimination as outlined in our CBA Article 6.1 and will not tolerate discrimination or harassment of any kind. Our Council will include an Equity and Advocacy Committee that will be an essential part of union leadership, ensuring an equity lens guides all of our work as does advocacy and support for faculty who experience harassment and discrimination
There is tremendous faculty expertise and lived experience to be leveraged to drive change within our chapter and at our university. We are dedicated to community-based, participatory approaches to identification of both problems and solutions. Doing ethical meaningful work on behalf of our union members and campus community requires the support from and solidarity among everyone. Integrity means together.