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Chapter Meeting Agenda – Fall 2021

PDF Version with Links

UFF-FIU Chapter Meeting Agenda

October 22, 2021: 10:00am-12:00pm

WEAR RED

Zoom: Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84572844877?pwd=WktTRjVPMitneHN2NmlNbWN2WFF6QT09
Meeting ID: 845 7284 4877
Passcode: 379851

  1. Approval of Minutes
  2. Approval of Agenda
  3. Legislative Affairs Update
  4. Treasurer’s Report
  5. Bargaining Report
  6. Membership Report
  7. Grievance Report
  8. President’s Report
  9. UFF-FIU Listens – Member’s voices
  10. Old Business
  11. New Business
  12. Good of the Chapter
  13. Adjournment

 

CBA Ratification Results

The CBA Ratification Election was held from September 12, 2021 at 12:00am until September 14, 2021 at 5pm.

The ratification passed with almost 95% approval.

Yes – I approve the CBA: 489 votes (94.8%)
No – I reject the CBA: 27 votes (5.2%)

Total votes: 516.

Proposed Collective Bargaining Agreement for 2021-2024

Fellow FIU faculty:


Important Update: For the Self-supporting Summer Supplemental Assignments, it has been agreed that a scrivener error occurred in the language for the salary rate for the summer programs. The specification of the rate should have included the words “no less than”. The final wording of Article 13.2, item 3-b-i-i, should read:

“These rates shall be set to no less than the fall/spring overload course equivalent for the individual program.”


After more than a year of bargaining, the FIU chapter of the United Faculty ofFlorida and the FIU administration have signed a series of tentative agreements for the new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) covering the years 2021-2024.

UFF-FIU will hold an online ratification vote for the new CBA on Monday, September 13th and Tuesday, September 14th, 2021.

When voting opens, detailed instructions and an access link will be sent to your FIU email via ElectionBuddy, a secure third-party election service. All in-unit faculty, regardless of UFF-FIU membership, are eligible to vote YES or NO on ratification of the new CBA.

Voting will open through the online system at 12:01am on Monday, September 13th and remain open through 5:00pm on Tuesday, September 14th. Results will be announced immediately upon the final counting of ballots at a special virtual meeting at 6:00pm on Tuesday, September 14th (visit the CBA page for the link to the meeting).

Below you will find an executive summary of the new agreements. You can view the new CBA in its entirety here.

We anticipate that the FIU Board of Trustees will vote on the ratification of the agreement at their meeting on Tuesday, September 14th.

Prior to the ratification, all in-unit faculty are invited to attend a virtual ratification meeting on Thursday, September 9th from 12:00pm – 2:00pm (Link to Meeting).

At this meeting, representatives from the UFF-FIU bargaining team will be on hand to answer questions about the bargaining process and the new agreements.

In solidarity,
UFF-FIU Bargaining Committee
Charles G. Shields, Chair


Executive Summary of Tentative Agreements for CBA 2021-2024


Important Update: For the Self-supporting Summer Supplemental Assignments, it has been agreed that a scrivener error occurred in the language for the salary rate for the summer programs. The specification of the rate should have included the words “no less than”. The final wording of Article 13.2, item 3-b-i-i, should read:

“These rates shall be set to no less than the fall/spring overload course equivalent for the individual program.”


The most recent “full book” CBA expired July 1st, 2021. During “full book” years, the entirety of the collective bargaining agreement is subject to negotiation except for those items where both parties agree to maintain the status quo. Negotiations for the new agreement began during the summer of 2020 and concluded August 18th, 2021. UFF-FIU and the administration reached agreements on changes to following items; the remainder of the CBA therefore remains unamended.

Page numbers listed below reference the new amended CBA, linked above.

Academic freedom
The new agreement affirms that academic freedom is a contractually protected right (previous CBA language defined academic freedom as a “principle”) and specifies that academic freedom includes pedagogical decisions (pg. 11)
Bereavement
Annual bereavement leave has been increased from 3 to 7 days, and qualifying categories for bereavement have been expanded to include “parents, children, spouse, or surviving spouse of the family member, or any other relative by blood, marriage, domestic partnership, or adoption” (pg. 107)
Conflict of interest
The agreement adopts a new set of policies to address concerns raised by recent state legislation which altered some definitions relevant to conflict of interest policies and federal regulations pertaining to certain foreign entities. The policy continues annual reporting requirements but provides clearer guidance on which outside activities are required to be reported and which are not. The new policy also strikes a previous provision that exposed faculty to financial liability if they pursued and lost a conflict of interest dispute (pp. 122-127)
Emeritus status
To qualify for emeritus status, faculty must uphold principles of academic responsibility in addition to other qualifications already present in the CBA(pp. 135-136)
Family and Medical Leave
Language has been adjusted to measure leave in days rather than in hours for consonance with legislative language. No substantive policy changes were made (pp. 90-96)
Minimum salaries
The agreement adopts, for the first time, minimum salaries for all eligible faculty, implemented over two years. As of year 2, the minimum salary forfaculty with a doctoral degree will be $60,000 and the minimum for faculty with a master’s level degree or equivalent will be $55,000. This agreement significantly benefits a number of structurally underpaid library and teaching faculty and sets an important standard for the future of faculty salaries at FIU (pp. 34-35).
Observation for evaluative purposes
The same procedures for evaluative observations will now apply to all courses regardless of the mode of delivery (i.e., face-to-face, online, or otherwise). Supervisors must provide notice before accessing instructor Canvas shells (pg. 72)
Patent/inventions policy
The process for filing patents has been amended to distinguish inventions made through independent efforts from those made with university-supported research. (Previous language was less clear and may have been interpreted to allow the university to assert patents over inventions made independently). The distribution of ownership of patents made with university-supported research has been streamlined such that faculty automatically receive 40% and the need to negotiate with supervisors is eliminated (pp. 113-121). Additionally, the policy on patents/inventions has been separated from the policy on works/copyrights (pp. 108-112).
Release time
Release time available for faculty to carry out the UFF chapter’s obligations in representing the unit and administering the CBA have been increased from 7 to 10 units during fall and spring and from 3 to 6 units in summer (pp. 9-10)
Salaries
The salary agreement extends across two years; in the first year (2021-2022), all eligible faculty will receive a one-time non-recurring payment of 2% of their base salary or $2000, whichever is greater, and in the second year, all eligible faculty will receive an increase to their base salary of 2% or $2000, whichever is greater. The second-year raise is contingent on funding and may be reopened for negotiation. The administration must notify UFF of the university’s budgetary outlook for the second year no more than 10 days after the governor signs the budget (pp. 31-32)
Self-supporting summer supplemental assignments
The agreement sets pay rates for self-supporting summer supplemental courses (aka “auxiliary” programs offered as summer supplement assignments) as equal to pay rates for the same courses offered during fall and spring, permits academic units to set those rates, and requires the administration to provide UFF with an annual report of the salary schedule for these programs (p. 60).

Important Update: For the Self-supporting Summer Supplemental Assignments, it has been agreed that a scrivener error occurred in the language for the salary rate for the summer programs. The specification of the rate should have included the words “no less than”. The final wording of Article 13.2, item 3-b-i-i, should read:

“These rates shall be set to no less than the fall/spring overload course equivalent for the individual program.”


 

An Open Letter to the FIU Community Regarding the Covid-19 Response

Dear Colleagues,

We are writing to communicate the understandable frustration of our faculty at Florida International University for the lack of a coherent response from the FIU administration regarding the rise of the Delta variant and hospitalizations across Miami-Dade County and throughout the state of Florida.

Despite numerous overtures from UFF-FIU, the FIU administration has chosen  to not openly consult the faculty union about a safe return to campus for our entire community. Given the rapidly developing situation, we believe this status-quo is no longer tenable. Shared governance, which is essential to the university community, enables faculty to be confident that decisions regarding the health, safety, and reputation of the university are made collectively. Consistently making crucial decisions about university operations without the input of faculty not only violates the spirit of shared governance, but undermines the faculty’s confidence that these decisions are being made in the best interests of the entire university community.

In the past few weeks, the administration has worked to address some of the concerns voiced by the faculty. Elements of the administration’s proposals are unfeasible or would violate faculty’s academic freedom. We are concerned about the policy requiring faculty to make specific changes to course design in the form of ‘make-up’ assignments, as it is untenable and not in the interest of student success.  Restrictions on academic freedom undermine both the right of faculty to make effective pedagogical choices, and the right of students to have access to the course materials necessary for their success.

We believe the interests of the university community, administration, students, and faculty are all aligned in our desire to balance the ongoing health risks, student success, and economic hardships. However, at this time we are compelled to raise these issues as we believe the current repopulation plan endangers our members, members of the university community and their families, and the long term health and reputation of our institution. Northern Illinois University has modelled how campus administration and faculty unions can address our current COVID-19 spike and work collaboratively.  As Dr. Aileen Marty recently noted in a letter, “the situation in Florida is grave and getting worse; it would be IRRESPONSIBLE to add ‘fuel to fire’ by sending people to school without using the available means to reduce risk, including vaccinating all eligible people and the use of masks for all capable persons […] whether they are vaccinated or not, and maximum high-quality ventilation.”

We implore FIU’s administration to reflect on the success FIU has had throughout this pandemic in balancing these interests with the input of UFF-FIU. We’d like to continue to be a national model of shared governance. Let’s do this together.  Let’s do this right.

In Solidarity,

UFF-FIU Executive Committee

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