Over the past year, UFF and the FIU administration have proposed very different visions of our first local collective bargaining agreement.


UFF believes a university runs best on principles of democracy and shared governance.   We have developed our contract proposals after extensive consultation with the members of our bargaining unit.  We have come to the bargaining table committed to fight for the things faculty and librarians have told us are important.  Our goal has been to reach agreement quickly, trying to work wherever possible with the already compromised language of the previous collective bargaining agreement—preserving provisions that have worked for almost three decades and seeking improvements in areas we think are most critical to our bargaining unit members. 


The administration, on the other hand, has taken a radical approach—aiming to wipe out in a single bargaining cycle most of the contract rights and protections won over almost three decades of bargaining.  Rather than identifying key problem areas and seeking to bargain improvements, the administration has stubbornly refused even to put on the table proposals for contract language concerning many important terms and conditions of employment.  It has proposed again and again that rights previously covered by contract be left “VACANT.” Instead, it has demanded discretion to develop policies and enforce them as it sees fit, free of a grievance and arbitration process.


The underlying message is that the administration is “boss” and employees had better get used to it—used to taking orders and relinquishing control over their professional lives.   Employees are asked to trust that an institution built on principles of shared governance and collegiality will do better if it is managed from the top down.  Key protections—fair summer pay, due process in disciplinary actions, equitable assignments, fair evaluations according to clear standards, intellectual property rights—all would disappear from the contract if the administration has its way.   Here is a summary of the differences between UFF’s proposals and the adminstration’s.   






Would define academic freedom broadly to protect faculty in the discussion
of  all relevant matters
in the classroom,
 scholarship, research
and creative expression, all matters of university governance and
 individual expressive activities
unrelated to university duties. 




Would only protect faculty employees discussing their “own academic subjects”
in the classroom or performing assigned service
activities.  Would not
protect faculty from discipline for individual expressive activities
if they were not part of assigned
duties.  Would not protect
employees speaking out on issues of university



Protects contract rights to equitable assignment, expedited grievance in
case assignment is unreasonable, and employee’s rights to determine
where and when to carry out unscheduled
activities.  Annual evaluation
must be based on assignment.


In event of non-reappointment, requires a full year’s notice to employees
with more than two years service, and a semester’s notice for employees
in their first two years of service.





No longer any contract right to equitable assignment or to grievance and
arbitration process to resolve disputes over unreasonable or unfair


Under proposed policy, if an employee feels his assignment is unreasonable
or arbitrary, he “should proceed to address the matter through the
Provost’s review process.” 


Proposed policy reduces notice period for
non-reappointment.   Those
with 3 or more years of continuous service are entitled only to two consecutive
semesters notice.  Less than
three years of service means only one semester’s notice of





Would continue contract right to use reasonable amounts of paid sick leave
if there is a death in the immediate
family.  What is a reasonable
number of days would depend on circumstances, including such factors as travel
time required or responsibilities for making funeral arrangements.




Would eliminate contract right to use reasonable amounts of sick leave due
to death in family.


Proposed policy would restrict employee to three days of paid leave for death
in immediate family, no matter the circumstances.






Would protect long-standing employee contract rights to engage in outside
activities, both paid and unpaid, for purposes of service, extra income,
or increasing professional standing.  Employee would be required to report only those activities
that employee reasonably believed to create a potential conflict of interest,
and could engage in activities unless they were deemed to be a conflict in
an expedited grievance procedure.



Would eliminate contract protections for employee rights to engage in outside


Proposed Policy on Conflict of
Would require
employee to fill out a Report if considering any outside activity
(defined as any activity, compensated or uncompensated, which is not part
of the employee’s assigned duties and for which the University provides no
compensation).  This broad new
language appears to create an absurdity we doubt was intentional—literally
every activity not included in the assignment would be covered—from
brushing one’s teeth at bedtime to meeting one’s spouse for dinner and a
movie.  The previous contract
language avoided this absurdity by specifying that employees make a reasonable
judgment about what might be expected to create a conflict of
interest.  The administration
team insists, however, that it cannot agree in plain language to leave this
to employee judgment, but that employees will know what to
report.   Employee could
not engage in any outside activity until it has been
approved.  Would require a report to be filed annually, whether
or not there is any outside
activity.   Would prohibit
employees from compensated employment or service on BOT of any other colleges
or universities except under special
circumstances.  No expedited
grievance procedure to resolve disagreements between employees and supervisors.



An employee would have contract rights to a single evaluation file, which
the employee would have the right to examine and paginate, and copy free
of charge.  Clear rules would
govern about the contents of the file (no anonymous material, dates required
on material placed in the file, materials would have to go into file within
a reasonable time after receipt by custodian of the file, and materials shown
to be false could be removed from the file).


Maintains criteria for evaluation from previous
contract.   Would not allow
new and ill-defined criteria to be used as a basis for evaluation or tenure
or promotion decisions or burden faculty with entrepreneurial responsibilities
or meeting subjective core values or “collegiality”




























Retains clear protections for faculty with respect to English language
proficiency, including requirements that university provide and pay for resources
to help faculty improve English language skills if testing determines there
are deficiencies. 












Protects employees in assistance programs from risking that their attempts
to improve performance will be used against them as evidence of


Clearly defines contract rights of employees to remove anonymous materials
from evaluation file and clearly defines the processes to be used for evaluation
by supervisors, peers and





























Sustained performance review must be based solely on previous six years annual
evaluations.  Employee with
satisfactory annual evaluations must receive satisfactory sustained performance
evaluation.  Performance Improvement Plan only allowed where performance
has been consistently below satisfactory in one or more areas of



Contract protections for evaluation and requirements concerning evaluation
file would disappear. 


Proposed policy would require that all evaluation files be kept by Human
Resources and a charge for copies of materials in the file. There would be
no rules about what kinds of material could go into the
file.  Another proposed policy,
however, seems to allow “anonymous” complaints.


New policy would burden faculty with new evaluation
criteria.  For example, learning
objectives and outcomes assessment would be added as a basis for evaluation
of teaching.  Publication in
“professional journals” would change to publication
in  “professional refereed
journals.”  Instead of providing
that “research and creative activity that has not yet resulted in publication,
display or performance” could be taken into account, the proposed policy
would restrict the evaluation to “research and creative activity that has
resulted in publication, display and


Adds to assigned university duties “attending commencement ceremonies.”


Adds an entire section of evaluation criteria based on “contribution to or
further development of the University or community enterprise, including
evidence of initiative in identifying, developing and bringing a vision to
life, with an end result of creating a new venture, formed under conditions
of risk and considerable uncertainty. 
Entrepreneurial (or intrapreneurial) activities” become a new basis
for evaluation of faculty.  


Adds standards to be used for appraisal of progress toward tenure and promotion,
including evaluation of “collegiality” as a basis for tenure.


Under new policy for proficiency in spoken English, faculty would be required
to “establish proficiency.” The previous contract prohibited administration
from evaluating employee as deficient unless tests showed
deficiency.  Policy would
provide   no specifics for
procedures to be followed for correction of deficiencies, and would do away
with the requirement that administration make language instruction available
at no cost to employee found to be deficient in spoken


Performance Improvement Plan is added a criterion for annual evaluation of
tenured employees, when applicable. 


Policy would remove protection for employee participation in employee assistance
program from being used as evidence of a performance deficiency.


Under the proposed new policy, the “Performance Development Process” would
become part of the annual
evaluation.    Described
as a “year-round process,” this would provide “input for merit pay and reward
programs.”  Allows supervisor
to “solicit feedback” from a variety of sources, including peers, students
and “other constituents.”  Provides
no procedural safeguards for how this feedback is to be used or whether employee
has the right to know who provided information, because the former contract
protection against anonymous materials in the evaluation file would no longer

Requires employees to attend mandatory training on the PDP and the use of
the Performance Impact software tool. 
Requires that each faculty employee be evaluated using FIU’s Values
and Core Competencies, including Diversity & Respect, Honesty &
Integrity, Knowledge Excellence, Operational Excellence, Service Excellence,
Communications Skills, Critical Thinking Skills, Efficiency Management,
Leadership Skills, Personal Effectiveness Skills,
and   Team


Policy would require that third-year tenure review of progress toward tenure
would result in   either
notice of offer of further employment or notice of non-reappointment.


Policy would require sustained performance review of tenured employees after
five years, instead of after seven
years.  Does not provide the
protections provided in the previous
contract.  Does not insure that
sustained performance evaluation be based on annual evaluations or that a
tenured employee with satisfactory annual evaluations will be given a
satisfactory sustained performance
evaluation.  “Below satisfactory Sustained Performance Evaluation
in one or more areas” would result in imposition of Performance Improvement
Plan, and failure to meet goals established in plan could result in termination
of tenured employee.



Would provides contract right to grievance and arbitration process that sets
clear rules for review of administrative
decisions.  Proposed procedures
minimize harm to employee-supervisor relationships by allowing adequate time
for employees to work with UFF grievance representatives to define issues
and propose resolution prior to filing a formal



Would take away employee grievance and arbitration rights in all but a limited
number of circumstances.  Time allowed for employees to file grievances would
shrink to ten days, reducing the possibility of informal resolution.

Under the proposed policy for resolution of disputes employees with
problems would be told to try to work problems out by talking with their
supervisors: their court, their ball, their
rules.  Ironically, this is called
“FAIR”—an acronym for “fast and impartial resolution” of
problems.  We admit it sounds
fast.  But how impartial can
it be when the same supervisor who made a bad decision is the one who is
asked to review that bad
decision?   A grievance
process provides an avenue for review before a truly impartial third party.



Would protect employee rights in works and inventions except where a specific
written agreement gives the university an ownership interest or share of
the revenues derived from an employee’s invention or creative



Gives employees no contractual rights to their works and
inventions.  Proposes policy
for disclosure requirements and procedures to be followed by employees concerning
establishing ownership and revenue rights from their creative works and



Contract defines “job abandonment” as absence without authorized
leave for twelve or more consecutive
days.  If employee notifies the
university that absence is for reasons beyond employee’s control, the
employee will not be considered to have abandoned the



No contract protection or definition.


Proposed “Separations of Employment” policy greatly reduces previous
protections. It would allow an employee to be absent without leave only
three days before being automatically
terminated.  If employee notifies
the university that absence is for reasons beyond employee’s control,
university will decide whether employee is considered to have abandoned




Would protect employees with more than five years service from being laid
off before more recent hires.  Would give any employees who are laid off the right
to a year’s notice and two years’ recall rights.





Would shorten required layoff notice to two semesters for tenured employees
and as little as one month for non-tenured
employees.  Makes no distinction
in layoff protection between employees with more than five years service
and new hires. Recall rights would be reduced to one year.





Would add contractual protection against discrimination based on sexual
orientation to the protections against discrimination that have long been
protected by the collective bargaining agreement, not subject to unilateral
change and enforceable through grievance and arbitration.





Would eliminate any and all contract protections against discrimination.


Protection against discrimination (on the basis of sexual orientation would
be a matter of policy—subject to change by administrators who
may have different views on human rights or face changing political



Would strengthen contract rights to provide for six months parental leave
at full pay during fall or spring semester and at .33 FTE during summer semester.



No contract right to any parental leave, paid or unpaid.


Would provide parental leave as required by the FMLA, along with an additional
six months unpaid leave (employee may use accrued leave if



Would be based on the principle that no employee should be expected to take
a pay cut to fund merit raises for
others.  All employees would
receive a 4.5% increase in base retroactive to the first pay period in the
2004-05 fiscal or academic year, as applicable, to adjust for the inflation
that has eaten away at our salaries since our last across-the-board raise
in October 
2002.   In addition,
the proposal calls for funds of 1% of payroll to distribute for merit
(retroactive to 11/1/04) and 2% of payroll to distribute for market equity
increases (retroactive to 11/1/04), with .5% available for administrative
discretionary increases for special achievements, counteroffers and other


The summer salary formula would be spelled out in salary article: full pay
for summer courses.




Proposed three year deal would lock in low rates for faculty raises based
on a bad budget year.   Worse
yet, proposed raises would not be effective until 3/4/05 (which leads us
to believe the administration has been dragging its feet on negotiations
in part as a budgeting device). 
Proposal would give across the board increase of 3% and 1% for merit


Increases of 1% across the board and 2% merit funds would go into effect
in 11/1/05.  And a year later,
employees would receive another 1% across the board, with 2% in merit







Allows use of reasonable amounts of sick leave to care for spouse, grandparent,
parent, brother, sister, child, grandchild of both the employee and the spouse
and dependents living in the household.


Upon retirement or layoff, employee with ten or more years’ service has a
contractual right to lump sum payment for up to 480 hours of unused sick




No contract right to any sick leave.


Policy would not allow use of sick leave to care for spouse’s family



Policy would end lump sum payment to employees for unused sick leave (only
those with at least 10 years service on effective date of policy would be
grand fathered in).



Would continue the summer pay formula that has guaranteed faculty the right
to fair summer pay for each and every summer class and the right to equitable
summer assignments. 




Would take away contract right to fair summer pay and equitable summer

Proposed policy would cut summer pay, leaving pay for first class
intact for now, but giving deans discretion to decide what to pay those teaching
a second or third summer course and to assign extra duties for no extra




Would continue contract provision granting facilities and course releases
necessary for union officers to represent bargaining unit employees, including
bargaining and enforcement of contract rights through the grievance process.



Would do away with long-standing contract rights, providing no facilities
or course releases for union representation and instead forcing union to
purchase facilities and course releases. 


In addition to proposing that many of the rights guaranteed by previous
contracts be eliminated and replaced by policies, the administration has
proposed a number of new policies that increase burdens on employees already
being asked to do more with
less.   Here are some examples:


Information technology security policy:


New policy would require employees to promise to adhere to all laws, rules,
regulations and policies pertaining to computer security and protection of
electronic information resources.  Compliance requires familiarity with at least 18 federal
and state statutes and four different FIU policies on computer use listed
in the policy.



“New Employee


Would require all employees to attend on first day of employment (non-faculty)
or first available session following first day of employment


Professional development policy:


New policy would require every employee every year to set a Learning Goal
and take part in a minimum of 20 hours of professional
development.  Nothing in the
policy requires FIU to pay for this training.


Policy on Internal Recruitment, Promotions, Demotions, &


Purpose is to provide employees “internal career-pathing
opportunities.”   Provides
for a Compensation Manual to be used in raising or reducing salaries, depending
on the direction of an employee’s internal “career path.”



Policy on Solicitation, Distribution and


Would prohibit solicitation for a variety of reasons, including memberships,
except in non-work areas during the non-work time of all
involved.  Distribution of any
literature prohibited.  Posting
of materials on bulletin boards only with approval of
HR.  We can’t help but wonder
if this was drafted with employee union membership in mind.


Political activity:


New policy would require an employee who wanted to run for office to get
prior approval from the university
president.  If the president
decided this would interfere with duties, the employee would be forced to
take a leave of absence or resign. 
Establishes no process for appeal of the president’s


If employee wants to take time off from work for political activities, employee
must get approval from your supervisor. 
New policy doesn’t define what it means by participation in political
activities (is voting included?). 
Nothing in the policy seems to provide a check on supervisor’s discretion
in approving or denying this request for time
off.  What if only employees
whose views the supervisor agrees with are granted requested time for political




Would provide a procedure for docking pay of departing employees for “outstanding


Pre-Employment Requirements:


Policy would subject all prospective employees to criminal background checks
and fingerprinting.  Requires
English proficiency of all faculty employees with teaching assignments, but
does not spell out how that requirement will be interpreted or what remedies
will be provided to faculty who fail to meet requirements.














There are also several new benefits to be provided under policies,
and in fairness, we need to mention them:


Tuition Waiver Program:


Policy would allow employee, spouse and dependent children under 25 to enroll
for a combined maximum of 6 credits of in-state tuition per
semester.  See details of policy
for restrictions:  e.g. if
an employee received less than a B in the course, employee would be charged
for the tuition.



Same-Sex Domestic Partnership Health Insurance


Would provide financial assistance to employees in same-sex domestic partnerships
to obtain health insurance coverage for same-sex


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