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[last updated: March 19 2019]

Legislative Update #2

March 13, 2019

legislative update

An Abbreviated Report

Due to the NEA Higher Education Conference later this week and a light committee agenda, this will be a brief report on today’s action on CS/HB 839 and more specifically the “objective, nonpartisan, and statistically valid survey that enables comparisons among universities on the intellectual freedom and viewpoint diversity at each institution.”

The UFF Senate Position

As you may recall, the UFF Senate voted unanimously for the following resolution at its meeting in February.

Adopted Unanimously: February 17, 2019
Move that: Be it resolved that we, the members of the UFF, strongly oppose any attempt by the State of Florida to require the implementation of any survey intended to measure or evaluate the intellectual freedom and viewpoint diversity at institutions of higher learning. UFF has always supported the open and honest exchange of ideas, perspectives and claims of truth both inside and outside of the classroom. This process cannot be measured or characterized by a survey which by its nature would be purely subjective. Such an attempt would be open to political manipulation and could have a chilling effect on intellectual and academic freedom.

House Higher Education and Career Readiness Subcommittee Action

CS/HB 839 has the primary focus on improving the university performance funding model and, while not perfect, on that concern it goes a long way to the issue UFF has supported over the last few years. That is a model fairer to all universities and not just preeminent ones that provides recurring funds and has no automatic punitive component. Why then insert a divisive survey in the bill to evaluate, in our opinion, divisiveness?

According to Rep. Ray Rodrigues (R-Ft. Myers), other states have done this. We ask which states and what were the results? The measure passed the committee by a straight party-line vote of 11-5 vote which was divisive.

Thanks to Democrats Ramon Alexander (Tallahassee), Joe Casello (Boynton Beach), Joy Goff-Marcil (Maitland), Michael Grieco (North Bay Village), and Carlos Smith (Winter Park) for their support! Also, thanks to Matthew Lata, FSU Chapter President and UFF Government Relations Chair for his testimony!

[last updated: March 19 2019]

Legislative Update #1

March 8, 2019

legislative update

Legislative Session Begins – Fund Our Future

On March 4th, the day before session began, FEA and UFF members were involved in many events statewide to support the FEA campaign #FundOurFutureFL. One example was members from the Leon Classroom Teachers Association and all five Tallahassee UFF chapters rallying and waving signs in front of the Old Capitol building. They were joined by FEA President Fed Ingram, FEA VP Andrew Spar, and Leon Superintendent Rocky Hanna.

Later Monday, forty UFF leaders from Broward College, UF GAU, FSU, FSU GAU, FAMU, FAMU GAU, and TCC had lunch with AFT President Randi Weingarten. Prior to Weingarten’s challenging remarks to rally for Fund Our Future, all seven chapter leaders had the opportunity to tell President Weingarten of the successes and challenges of their chapter.

From FEA Frontline – Thanks to Stephanie Kunkel

The House Oversight, Transparency & Public Management Subcommittee considered and voted out HB 13 on Tuesday. Sponsored by Rep. Jayer Williamson (R-Pace), HB 13 is a continuation of attacks against Florida workers who currently enjoy all rights protected under the state Constitution’s collective bargaining provisions. FEA members, police, firefighters and state workers will all be affected by this bill, which would prohibit public sector collective bargaining agreements from including any provisions to allow union release time. Thus, local union presidents and other release-time members would be prohibited from receiving paid time for union activities during normal work hours.

The measure passed the committee by 9-5 vote, but not without vigorous opposition from some members. Rep. Javier Fernandez (D-Coral Gables) offered an amendment to retain member employees’ rights to continue union activities without interference. As we expected, the amendment failed.

We thank Rep. Anna Eskamani (D-Orlando) and especially Rep. Rene Plasencia (R-Titusville), who spoke passionately in opposition to the bill. Rep. Eskamani recapped just a few of the rights we enjoy because of unions. Rep. Plasencia shared that he was the lone member of the teachers’ union who served as his school site union representative. He also reminded the committee that he has watched his party attack teachers and personal friends who are firefighters over the past several legislative sessions. He said that this time around he would do more than vote no and told the committee why he strongly opposed the measure.

UFF President Karen Morian provided testimony to the committee as to why this bill abridges a union’s right to collectively bargain and is unconstitutional.

Who’s coming to Tallahassee?

This session we will again be working closely with the AFL-CIO Working Families Lobby Corps to lobby legislators in Tallahassee on pro-public education issues and against anti-union legislation. If you haven’t already, be sure to let us know via the AFL-CIO Working Families Lobby Corps “I’m coming” when to expect you, and book your hotels ASAP.

Joining the AFL-CIO Lobby Corps this week were Bobby Mermer and Andrea Medina from UF GAU Chapter and Anissa Harris and James Norton from Broward College.

UFF Sponsors Capital Report

On Mondays and Thursdays during session, UFF is sponsoring the Capital Report on Mondays and Thursdays at 6:30 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. The program originates from WFSU and is carried on many NPR stations. The program also streams live, and archives can be found at this link: https://news.wfsu.org/programs/capital-report.

The sponsorship is announced before and at the end of the program. The program is repeated at 9:30 P.M. Listening to the Capital Report is an excellent way to monitor the events of the day in the Florida Legislature.


The challenge laid out to the Legislature by Governor DeSantis at the State of the State address was “Be Bold!” But the start of this session seemed to be a replay of the past sessions. Boldness is perceived to be attacking teachers and faculty rights and offering vouchers and bonuses instead of real funding for schools, colleges, and universities.

Being BOLD is Rep. Plasencia, Rep. Eskamani, and Rep. Fernendez who informed the committee members, but their straight talk was ignored by the committee members who were directed to vote YES on HB 13 without considering the facts or the constitutionality of the proposed bill.

[last updated: March 19 2019]

How FIU Spends Its Money - 2017

Spending Street Sign

This report presents an analysis of the trends in Florida International University (FIU) expenditures on faculty and administration personnel for the academic years 2013-14 through 2016-17. Particular attention is given to the changes in the number, composition, and salaries of faculty and administrators at FIU in the context of increasing university expenditures and rising student enrollment, and changes in tuition revenue during the academic years 2013-14 through 2016-17.

Data show that FIU personnel decisions have contributed towards administrative bloat between 2013-14 and 2016-17, expanding the resources devoted to administration at the expense of instruction, research, and service. During this period, administrative personnel hires and and total personnel expenditures have outpaced those of faculty. Furthermore, faculty’s share of personnel expenditures has declined as the share of administration personnel expenditures has increased.

Previous reports were produced in 2004, 2007, 2009, 2011, and 2014. This report extends the analysis of FIU’s expenditures through the 2016-17 academic year and supports prior findings of administrative bloat at FIU.

[last updated: August 31 2017]

Knowing your Rights and Understanding Common Issues

Know Your Rights

The first e-mail blast of every month will present one topic from the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) that affects every FIU faculty member. The creation of this series is the result of a suggestion at our UFF Spring Chapter meeting. It is part of our ongoing effort to inform all faculty not only of their rights under the CBA, but to inform all faculty of the value of being a UFF member. Our CBA is the outcome of years of dedicated UFF Bargaining teams who see value in protecting our rights. Lastly, this is a legally binding agreement and must be adhered to by all parties.

Types of Leave

These are the types of leaves available to FIU faculty.

  • Holidays
  • Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Entitlements
  • Parental Leave
  • Leaves Due to Illness/Injury
  • Annual Leave
  • Administrative Leaves
  • Bereavement Leave
  • Leave Without Pay

This week we explore Sick Leave.

In future weeks we will explore other specific types of leaves.

[last updated: June 18 2016]

Review more of your rights on the Contract Page

The Real Reason College Tuition Costs So Much

tuition overload logo

BOULDER, Colo. - ONCE upon a time in America, baby boomers paid for college with the money they made from their summer jobs. Then, over the course of the next few decades, public funding for higher education was slashed. These radical cuts forced universities to raise tuition year after year, which in turn forced the millennial generation to take on crushing educational debt loads, and everyone lived unhappily ever after.

Read more ...

[last updated: October 30 2016]


Join the campaign for the Future of Higher Education

CFHE logo

The Campaign for the Future of Higher Education is organized around SEVEN CORE PRINCIPLES that must define quality higher education for the 21st century.

The mission of the campaign is to ENSURE THAT AFFORDABLE QUALITY HIGHER EDUCATION is accessible to all sectors of our society in the coming decades. This is a time of great change in higher education.

Visit the CFHE site.

[last updated: October 30 2016]

Contact Us

Chapter President Eric Dwyer
Grievance Chairperson Lauren Christos

UFF-FIU By-Laws | Contact the webmaster at Webmaster

[last updated: March 19 2019]