Members of the Faculty Collective Bargaining Unit,
I have good news. Your UFF bargaining team and the Board of Trustees/Administration bargaining team have agreed on salary increases for the past academic year, 2006-2007. In addition to the 3% across-the-board increase passed by the legislature and effective last October, there will be an additional 2% across-the-board increase retroactive to December 28, 2006.
Since both increases go into our base salaries, we feel very pleased that our minimum goal for salary increases—that faculty not fall behind the rise in the cost of living—has been met for yet another year. Our real incomes are not increasing. But unlike many years in the past, at least they are not declining.
Our bargaining team had hoped to bargain a two-year agreement, so that we would go into the coming academic year knowing what our salaries would be. Frankly, the teams tentatively agreed to the 2% retroactive increase in May, but we held off hoping to add the 2007-2008 raise to the package.
However, when Governor Crist announced a "financial crisis" and word came down to the universities to make plans to cut the budget, we could see that any agreement we might get now would not be a good one. So we proposed that we finish off 2006-2007 and wait until the dust clears on the budget before bargaining 2007-2008 salary increases. To the credit of the BOT/Administration team, and I presume to President Maidique and Provost Berkman, they accepted our proposal and did not try to renege on the 2% increase, despite the current uncertainty about this year’s budget.
Before the 2% retroactive raise can go into effect, it must be ratified by the bargaining unit and then by the Board of Trustees. We must wait two weeks after the agreement is announced before we can hold the ratification election. Download and read the salary article and consider yourself notified. We plan to conduct balloting on the BBC campus Wednesday, August 1, and on the UP campus Thursday, August 2. Further details will be forthcoming.
|Cast Your Ballot|
|BBC||Wednesday, August 1|
|UP||Thursday, August 2|
Assuming the proposal is ratified (50% plus 1 of those voting is required), we hope that the Board of Trustees could ratify by conference call soon after. If all goes well it is possible that we could receive the lump sum representing back pay from December 28, 2006, and see the 2% increase in our base pay, by August 29, the first payday of the new academic year.
Let me also report that the bargaining teams agreed in a Memorandum of Understanding in May that the minimum salary for a third course taught in the summer would rise from $5,500 to $5,775, in order to keep up with inflation. Both sides also agreed to try to bargain a policy on online courses this summer. And since the first locally-bargained three-year agreement expires at the end of 2007-2008 (time is flying so we must be having fun), the teams will begin bargaining a new agreement as early as October.
So your bargaining team has been—and will continue to be—working hard on your behalf. I think we owe them a tremendous vote of thanks. Lorna Veraldi, your Chief Negotiator, is not only tough as nails at the table, but leads the strategy sessions where our approach is worked out, and then does an enormous amount of work drafting and re-drafting our proposals. She is ably backed up by Joan Baker, Paul Warren, and John Radencich. Please let them know you appreciate their volunteer efforts.