There is little progress to report on bargaining because the administration doesn’t seem interested in bargaining. The Chief Negotiator for the administration was only willing to meet with UFF once during the entire month of September, and then only for two and a half hours. During that time, tentative agreement was reached on a few minor details concerning the grievance process (slight revisions in previous forms to reflect a local grievance structure). We cannot hope to reach agreement any time soon on the many major issues that remain to be bargained unless and until the administration agrees to pick up the pace.
At the only September meeting, the Chief Negotiator for the administration asked the UFF team to submit proposed dates for meeting in October. We proposed twenty (20) different dates and times. The response of the administration team? That they are willing to meet just once in the coming month, on October 29, and then for only 4 hours.
The UFF team has put on the table 30 proposals, corresponding to all of the articles in the former Collective Bargaining Agreement except for salaries, which the parties agreed to hold for last. The administration team has put proposals for only 11 articles on the table so far, and two of those eleven are simply to leave that article “vacant”—in other words to eliminate a former contract right. Though UFF presented a complete grievance proposal in June, we have not yet reached agreement on it, even though it has been the main focus of bargaining the past four months. (See previous bargaining reports archived at http://www.uff-fiu.org/nindex.php/uff.bargaining.html,)
It is time to let President Maidique know that the pace of negotiations is intolerable. We have been without a Collective Bargaining Agreement for almost two years now, since January 2003. The administration took its time recognizing UFF, despite overwhelming faculty support. Now, almost eight months after recognition, it is high time for the administration, at long last, to give bargaining with faculty the priority it deserves.
The Faculty Senate, which has been closely observing the lack of progress, debated the following resolution at its September 21 meeting: “The FIU Faculty Senate is deeply concerned over the slow pace at which negotiations of the new Faculty contract between FIU and UFF seem to be proceeding. We urge additional attention to be given by the Administration to this important matter so that Faculty and the Administrators can concentrate on other critical priorities.” The resolution passed unanimously, without abstentions.
We are asking faculty to unite in taking the first, simple step to demand that the administration stop dragging its feet. Next week is Faculty Convocation Week. UFF members will be distributing stickers at all events. Wear them on your lapel or on your academic robes. Send President Maidique the message:
FIU, Bargain Now!
The Board of Trustees has delegated the important job of collective bargaining to President Mitch Maidique. He has the power to make it happen. We aren’t sure he has the will. We need to tell him how important it is to the well-being of this faculty and of this university that he get his team to the table, prepared to bargain in good faith, now.