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MOU Ratification Meetings

As shared on July 6th, we have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the administration concerning the impact of COVID-19 on Fall faculty work. Both parties will move forward with scheduling ratification votes. Prior to the ratification, all in-unit faculty are invited to attend our virtual ratification meetings, on Wednesday, August 5th from 11am-1pm and Wednesday, August 12th from 1pm-3pm via Zoom. Details have been sent to faculty’s FIU emails, but contact us ASAP if you did not receive them. Note that incoming faculty are not currently on our contact lists!

At these meeting, representatives from the UFF-FIU Bargaining Team will be available to answer any questions about the bargaining process and the MOU. Furthermore, under the remote-work order, UFF-FIU will proceed with an online ratification vote to be held shortly after 9-month faculty return to contract.


MOU HIGHLIGHTS

No faculty will be compelled to return from remote work:
2) “No faculty with self-identified health concerns, or who have responsibilities to care for someone who has a health vulnerability, will be required to work in a non-remote setting in the Fall 2020 or Spring 2021 semesters.”

3) “All faculty who otherwise would be assigned such work if not for the health and safety concerns related to the COVID-19 global pandemic will receive alternative increases in teaching, research, and/or service effort to correspond with any reduced effort in such areas.”

This means that faculty who express health concerns and will not be returning from remote work will not receive any reduction in their FTE assignment.

No negative impact on evaluations:
11) “Student course evaluations shall not negatively impact annual evaluations. However, they may be used to positive effect.”

20) “Any lack of research productivity as impacted by this situation for faculty with research assignments during AY20-21 shall not negatively impact annual evaluations.”

25) Extended promotion and tenure protections

Faculty own all course content:
7) “Faculty shall maintain ownership of all course content, even if it is presented in an online format.”

These emergency conditions do not set precedents for future remote/online work:

13) “The decision to move to modified course modalities and course sizes has arisen only from the unique circumstances arising from the COVID-19 global pandemic and with guidelines developed by the FIU Repopulating Task Force and consistent with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines and evidence-based approaches. As during the Summer 2020 term, the move to these new modalities does not set precedents for or inherently consent to these modalities for future instructional work.”

 

Statement in Support of Lawsuit to Protect K-12 Teachers, Students, and Communities

Yesterday, the Florida Education Association (FEA) along with Florida educators and parents sued Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, State Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran, the Florida Department of Education, The Florida State Board of Education, and Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez to halt the reopening of public K-12 schools amidst a surge in COVID cases in the state.

UFF-FIU has been working diligently since the outbreak of the COVID pandemic to ensure that no FIU faculty will be compelled to return to campus until public health experts indicate that it is truly safe to do so. During these times, UFF-FIU is committed to ensuring the health, safety, and wellbeing of our faculty.

Therefore, we stand in solidarity with the FEA, our K-12 faculty colleagues, and concerned parents who have filed suit to force the Governor and Commissioner of Education to fulfill their Constitutional responsibilities to ensure the health and safety of our teachers and students in our schools. We also support our colleagues’ demand that reopening decisions should be made by district superintendents in consultation with public health officials.

MOU on Fall Faculty Work

We are very pleased to share our newly signed Memorandum of Understanding with the FIU administration concerning Fall faculty work. Moving forward, we are going to schedule a ratification vote for shortly after 9-month faculty are back on contracts and will be sending more information about that process in the coming weeks. We will also be scheduling a Q&A meeting about the agreement in the upcoming weeks.

Click here to view the MOU in PDF form

A few important highlights:

Returning from Remote Work:

2) “No faculty with self-identified health concerns, or who have responsibilities to care for someone who has a health vulnerability, will be required to work in a non-remote setting in the Fall 2020 or Spring 2021 semesters.”

This means that faculty will not be compelled to return from remote work if they have any health concerns.

3) “All faculty who otherwise would be assigned such work if not for the health and safety concerns related to the COVID-19 global pandemic will receive alternative increases in teaching, research, and/or service effort to correspond with any reduced effort in such areas.”

This means that faculty who express health concerns and will not be returning from remote work will not receive any reduction in their FTE assignment.

For those Agreeing to Teach Face-to-Face:

18) “Faculty will not be responsible for enforcing social distancing or face covering policies. Faculty have the right to ask a non-compliant student to leave a particular class but must report the non-compliant behavior to the Office of Student Conduct. Faculty have the right to end a class session any time in which they do not feel safe due to students not following established classroom health and safety protocols. Faculty must report any such incidents to their Department Chair/Director.”

Impact on Evaluations

11) “Student course evaluations shall not negatively impact annual evaluations. However, they may be used to positive effect.”

20) “Any lack of research productivity as impacted by this situation for faculty with research assignments during AY20-21 shall not negatively impact annual evaluations.”

25) Extended promotion and tenure protections

Additional Notable Items
:

7) “Faculty shall maintain ownership of all course content, even if it is presented in an online format.”

13) “The decision to move to modified course modalities and course sizes has arisen only from the unique circumstances arising from the COVID-19 global pandemic and with guidelines developed by the FIU Repopulating Task Force and consistent with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines and evidence-based approaches. As during the Summer 2020 term, the move to these new modalities does not set precedents for or inherently consent to these modalities for future instructional work.”

Statement from Leg Affairs Chair on Budget Vetoes

UFF-FIU Legislative Affairs Chair Jim Burns:

On June 29th, Governor DeSantis signed the state budget for fiscal year 2020-2021. An announcement on the Governor’s Website noted that despite the challenges confronting Florida due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the budget “ensures the state’s priorities are protected and funded.” An examination of the $1 billion in spending vetoed by Governor DeSantis, however, demonstrates whose interests he does not consider a priority. The veto list heavily targets K-12 and higher education funding, programs for the poor, youth, women, senior citizens, and those with special needs, aid to local governments, water treatment projects, and food security, among other social spending cuts.

 

Governor DeSantis delivered the state budget with the pretext that the COVID-19 pandemic had forced him to make difficult spending choices. As in previous fiscal crises, however, the state government has chosen to prioritize low, or no, taxes for corporations and the wealthy and public sector austerity for those most in need.

 

The UFF-FIU Legislative Affairs Committee will closely monitor legislation and funding decisions that impact higher education in the State of Florida, communicate that information to our colleagues, and formulate strategies to advocate for education as a crucial public good. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a host of social, political, legal, and economic injustices as well as the long-term failure of state and national legislation and policy into stark focus. We, as a union and a university can and must do better.

 

2020-21 Budget & Veto Impacts to FIU & SUS

Link to the full list of vetoes by Governor DeSantis: https://www.flgov.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/2020-Veto-List.pdf

FIU-specific Budget items (from President Rosenberg’s letter):

New Funding:

  • $17 million in recurring operational support for student success and research excellence (supporting the FIU strategic plan)
  • $8.2 million in PECO funding for New Engineering expansion on the corner of 8th Street and 107th Avenue on the MMC Campus
  • $2 million for the Targeted STEM Initiative VETOED
  • $1 million recurring for the new Adam Smith Center for the Study of Economic Freedom
  • $750,000 to purchase specialty equipment for the Individualized Pediatric Cancer Treatment Program VETOED

Continued Funding:

  • $2.5 million for Green Family Foundation NeighborhoodHELP®
  • $3.5 million for FIUnique
  • $969,689 for the Public Loss Model

State University System Funding:

  • Performance Funding: Maintain current funding with no increase
  • World Class Faculty and Scholar Program & the Professional and Graduate Degree Excellence Program: Maintain current funding
  • Tuition Increase: None
  • PECO: $85.9 million system total after $20 million in vetoes
  • CITF: $48 million (FIU’s share is $7.0 million)
  • PECO Maintenance: None
  • PECO Bonding: Bonding is not authorized
  • PO&M: None
  • Universities of Distinction: $15 million (Distribution to be determined by the Board of Governors) VETOED
  • The Washington Center University Scholarships for Internships (TWC.edu): $350,000 VETOED

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