From the President

January 2012

Dear United Faculty of Florida Members:

Last week – Week Three of the 2012 Legislative Session – UFF-FIU Vice President Teresa Lucas and I spent two full days in Tallahassee advocating for Faculty, FIU, and Higher Education. On Tuesday we visited the offices of all the Senators in the Miami-Dade and Broward delegation as well as the Senators that attended the UFF/UF Miami Dade dinner that we hosted last December. On Wednesday we visited – along with students, Trustees and President Rosenberg – several other key Legislators to thank them for their support for FIU. It was a productive series of meetings.

Senator Thad Altman, UF-Miami Dade Advocate Ana Ciereszko, UFF-FIU Senator Kathleen Wilson, UFF-FIU President Teresa Lucas

These activities are part of our first ever government relations campaign : Last fall UFF-FIU met one-on-one with over 1/3 of the entire Florida Senate! Not only did we visit our Senators, but we raised $5K in UFF-PAC funds and hosted a dinner in Tallahassee together with United Faculty of Miami Dade College for 10 swing-vote Republican Senators. Thank you to those who contributed! Following is the list of Senators with whom we have spoken either in their home offices or in Tallahassee, and who have heard our message of support for public higher education, our right to collective bargaining and dues deductions, and support for FIU:

Thad Altman
Ellyn Bogdanoff
Oscar Braynon
Larcenia Bullard
Charlie Dean
Nancy Detert
Miguel Diaz de la Portilla
Greg Evers
Anitere Flores
Rene Garcia
Jack Latvala
Jim Norman
Nan Rich
TJeremy Ring

Building a Better Florida: Priorities for the 2012 Legislative Session

  1. Do NOT support union decertification. FIU has a long tradition of collective bargaining, which offers democracy for employees and stability to our educational institution. Last year’s legislation targeted public sector unions– it did not apply to any of the other 364 organizations for which the state of Florida offers payroll deductions. Florida is a ‘Right to Work’ state, we choose to participate. Denying this choice is denying our freedom of speech.
  2. Do NOT support the Texas plan or the Governor’s reduction of Liberal
    Arts programs in order to fund more STEM programs. Our 46,000 students
    (and their parents) do not want the Governor choosing their majors or
    their professors. Critical thinking and academic freedom are essential to educate a competent workforce that can compete globally.

  3. Do NOT support further reductions to public employee pensions or health benefits. We are paying an additional 3% into our retirement without a corresponding increase in benefits. This is a state INCOME TAX which is hurting our local economies.
  4. Support FIU.
    1. Maintain the current level of operating expenses, which
      is already insufficient. 
    2. Support PECO (Public Educational Capital
      Outlay) funds in order for FIU to meet the needs of our students as we
      continue to grow.
    3. Fully fund the FIU College of Medicine by approving the grant request for $946,000 in incremental start-up funds for year 6 of implementation to become accredited.

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