Vote on your 2005—2008 Collective Bargaining Agreement

United Faculty of Florida
Florida International University

RATIFICATION BULLETIN
BOT-UFF Collective Bargaining Agreement
2005—2008

Vote on your 2005—2008 Collective Bargaining Agreement:

Tuesday, February 14, 2006 (Biscayne Bay Campus)
or
Wednesday, February 15, 2006 (University Park and Engineering Center)

The United Faculty of Florida at FIU negotiators and the FIU Board of Trustees (BOT) negotiators reached tentative agreement on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) on December 30, 2005. The Executive Committee of the FIU Board of Trustees approved the agreement on January 18, 2006. All faculty and librarians in the bargaining unit—not just UFF members—are eligible to vote to accept or reject the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

If you vote “yes” to ratify, the new CBA provisions will take effect immediately, and 2005-2006 raises will be retroactive to August, 2005. If you vote “no”, negotiators must return to the bargaining table to renegotiate an agreement that is satisfactory to you. The UFF-FIU Bargaining Team and Executive Council urge you to vote “yes” on this new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

The complete text of the new agreement is posted on the UFF website at http://www.uff-fiu.org/. A copy of the text is also available at the Reserve Desk of the library at both the UP and BBC campuses. Highlights of the Agreement are summarized below.

In order to safeguard the integrity of the voting process, as well as to make voting as convenient as possible, voting will take place at the following locations and times:

Biscayne Bay Campus: Tuesday, February 14, 10am – 6pm, AC-I near main stairwell and Oasis Café.

Engineering Center: Wednesday, February 15, 10am – 6pm, Main Lobby Counter

University Park Campus: Wednesday, February 15, 10am – 6pm, Green Library, 1st Floor Lobby

Note: ONLY members of departments housed in the Engineering Center may vote at the Engineering Center, and members of those departments may vote ONLY at the Engineering Center. All other faculty may vote at BBC on February 14 or at UP on February 15.

If you will be unable to cast your ballot at the above times and locations, you may request an absentee ballot to be mailed to you by sending an email to alan.gummerson@uff-fiu.org or by dropping a note to Alan Gummerson, Department of Economics, DM-315B, UP Campus. A ballot will be sent to the address you specify. Absentee ballots must be returned to DM-315B by 6pm February 15.

Ballots will be counted at 6pm, February 15, in GL-220. Anyone in the bargaining unit is invited to witness the ballot counting.

Members of the UFF Bargaining Team will be available to answer any questions about the new Agreement at a series of informational meetings. The locations and times of these informational meetings are as follows:

Biscayne Bay Campus: Tuesday, February 7, 12:30 – 2:00pm, AC-1 Room 130, pizza and soda provided.

Engineering Center: Wednesday, February 8, 12:30 – 2:00pm, EC 2300, pizza and soda provided.

University Park Campus: Thursday, February 9, 12:30 – 2:00pm, MARC Pavilion, pizza and soda provided.

The Agreement, which is the first to be bargained locally, preserves and strengthens many of the rights and protections in the previous statewide bargaining agreement—the collective work of almost three decades of UFF representation of faculty in all Florida’s state universities. Here is a summary of the highlights, including changes to the previous collective bargaining agreement:

Highlights of the Proposed Collective Bargaining Agreement:

SALARIES

The Agreement provides raises in addition to the 3.6% across-the-board increased for 2005-2006 that went into effect August 1, 2005.

Funds totaling 1.4% of the bargaining unit payroll will be distributed as merit raises according to departmental criteria and retroactive to the beginning of Academic Year 2005-2006.

Raises for those receiving promotions will be retroactively increased. Those promoted to Associate Professor, Associate University Librarian, Associate Scholar/Scientist/Engineer or Research Associate will receive a promotion increase of 10%. Those promoted to Professor, Scholar/Scientist, Engineer or University Librarian will receive a promotion increase of 12%. These increases had been 9% in the previous statewide CBA.

Discretionary funds capped at 1% of the bargaining unit payroll will be available to the administration to use for additional raises and awards for such purposes as counter-offers, litigation settlements, and special awards, including Faculty Senate awards, Distinguished University Professor, Summer Faculty Research Awards, and similar special situations.

Salary increases for 2006-07 and 2007-08 will be negotiated prior to the beginning of those contract years.

SUMMER PAY

Compensation for teaching summer courses will be increased to 12.5% for the first course (based on a 3-credit course). Compensation for the second summer course will stay at 11%, as it was under the previous formula. The minimum payment for teaching a third summer course will be $5500; individual compensation over that minimum is subject to negotiation between individuals and their departments. Other summer duties will be subject to additional compensation, as under the previous agreement. However, in the summer term only, non-credit generating activities may be paid as OPS, even if such activities do not exceed the available established FTE for the employee’s position.

NONDISCRIMINATION

For the first time, sexual orientation will be protected in the nondiscrimination provision of the CBA (Article 6). This achieves a long-standing UFF goal.

PAID PARENTAL LEAVE

The new CBA adds a significant new benefit: a six-month parental leave at full pay once in an employee’s FIU career. No other Florida university offers such a benefit. Indeed, we believe this new provision will make FIU a national leader in helping employees balance work and life in a family-friendly environment.

SAME-SEX DOMESTIC PARTNER HEALTH INSURANCE STIPENDS

The new agreement makes available to UFF bargaining unit employees health insurance stipends for same-sex domestic partners.

TUITION BENEFITS FOR FAMILY MEMBERS

The new agreement makes available to UFF bargaining unit employees up to six credits of FIU courses each semester for themselves or their family members tuition free.

INCREASED SABBATICALS

The new CBA would double the number of competitive sabbaticals, making available at least one sabbatical at full pay for one semester and one sabbatical at two-thirds pay for two semesters for each 40 tenured employees. In addition, it preserves the previous CBA provisions for non-competitive sabbaticals and professional development leave.

PROCEDURES FOR GRIEVANCE AND ARBITRATION AND FOR NEUTRAL, INTERNAL RESOLUTION OF POLICY DISPUTES:

An important basis for achieving tentative agreement on the new CBA was to convert many of the articles of the previous CBA to bargained BOT-UFF Policies enforceable through a neutral, internal process. The tentative agreement creates two parallel dispute resolution mechanisms. One is the traditional grievance and arbitration process for resolving grievances arising from the contract itself. The second is a neutral, internal process, identical to the grievance process in its initial stages, but ending in a review by a three-party panel subject to the rules of arbitration. That panel will consist of two employees, one chosen by the UFF as its partisan and one chosen by the administration as its partisan. The third member of the panel, who will chair the proceeding, will be chosen from a neutral pool of former FIU employees and alumni trained as labor arbitrators. These dual dispute resolution processes represent a compromise intended to preserve due process for employees before a panel with greater familiarity with the institution and the academic workplace.

SUMMARY OF SIGNIFICANT CHANGES IN THE PROPOSED AGREEMENT, BY ARTICLE.

(Significant changes between Articles in the expired 2001-2003 Agreement and Articles and Policies in the proposed 2005-2008 Agreement, including renumbering of certain Articles and conversion of others to BOT-UFF Policies.)

Article 3: UFF Privileges

Released time for UFF-FIU activities to include a total of six (6) units of released time per semester (Spring and Fall) and three (3) units of released time in the summer for purposes of carrying out UFF’s obligations in representing employees and administering the Agreement. This is the first contract in which released time is awarded to the UFF-FIU chapter, rather than on a statewide basis. A unit of released time consists of a reduction in teaching load of one course for teaching employees or 10 hours per week for non-teaching employees. Released time not used in a particular semester may be banked for future use. UFF-FIU will also have increased office and storage space on campus to meet increased local chapter obligations.

Article 5: Academic Freedom and Responsibility

Strengthens previous protections to protect employee freedom to present and discuss all relevant matters in the classroom, all avenues of scholarship and research, all matters of university governance, and to speak, write or act as an individual, all without institutional discipline or restraint.

Article 6: Nondiscrimination

Language has been added that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Article 8: Layoff and Recall (Previously Article 13)

Strengthens language providing employees’ right to advance notice in the event of a layoff and the UFF’s right to bargain over proposed use of non-unit faculty in units where employees have been laid off.

Article 9: Tenure (Previously Article 15)

Preserves procedures governing tenure applications. Provides that an employee shall normally be considered for tenure only once, rather than allowing an employee being considered for tenure prior to the sixth year to withdraw from consideration without prejudice. Makes annual tenure appraisals a part of the tenure file, but not the sole basis for a decision concerning tenure.

Article 10: Grievance Procedure and Arbitration (Previously Article 20)

Changes the previous grievance process to reflect local control by the Board of Trustees. Instead of a Step 1 decision by the local university administration and a Step 2 hearing before the former Board of Regents, there will be a 30-day period at Step 1 aimed at informal resolution of grievances and a Step 2 decision by the FIU President, after which the UFF may elect to take a grievance to arbitration. New CBA would give the UFF for the first time the right to bring grievances on behalf of groups of employees.

Article 11: Salaries (Previously Article 23)

See highlights, above. Increases promotion raises. Provides for per capita distribution to departments/units of merit raise funds. For the first time, caps administration discretionary salary spending and provides for regular reports to the UFF of all discretionary raises.

Article 12: UFF Insurance Deductions (Previously Article 25)

Article 13: Payroll Deduction (Previously Article 26)

Articles renumbered.

Article 14: Maintenance of Benefits (Previously Article 26)

Tenure, rank, earned benefits, years of service, history of assignments, and record of evaluations that an employee had at FIU prior to the creation of the FIU Board of Trustees shall be recognized, credited, or used, as applicable.

Article 15: Miscellaneous Provisions (Previously Article 28)

Article 16: Severability (Previously Article 29)

Article 17: Amendment and Duration (Previously Article 30)

Article 18: Totality of Agreement (Previously Article 31)

Article 19: Definitions (Previously Article 32)

Articles renumbered.

Conversion of previous CBA Articles to bargained BOT-UFF Policies.

Many rights, benefits and protections that previously were included in CBA Articles have been converted to bargained BOT-UFF Policies and are contained in Appendix G of the proposed CBA. All of these Policies have been bargained. None may be changed without further bargaining. Violations of employee rights and protections set out in these policies are subject to resolution through a neutral, internal process governed by the rules of arbitration. These BOT-UFF Policies and significant changes to previous Articles, are as follows:

1. BOT-UFF Policy, Appointment (Previously Article 8)

Instead of annual contracts, employees will receive an initial letter of offer setting out information that previously appeared in annual contracts and an annual notice at the beginning of each annual and summer appointment showing beginning and ending dates, salary rate, number of pay periods and biweekly rate of pay. Any proposed change in terms set out in the initial appointment will be provided in advance in writing to the employee.

The previous summer compensation formula has been replaced with language that sets out compensation rates that increases the amount paid for a first summer course to 12.5% per 3-credit course, maintains the amount paid for the second summer course under the previous formula at 11% per 3-credit course, and sets a minimum payment for the third summer course, regardless of the employee’s 9-month salary, at $5500. Individual employees may negotiate higher rates for the third course with their departmental supervisors. Extra compensation, non-credit generating activities during summer only may be paid as OPS.

Fixed multi-year appointments would now be available for hiring individuals with substantial, highly specialized professional experience who do not have the terminal degrees that would qualify them for tenure earning positions.

2. BOT-UFF Policy, Assignment of Responsibilities (Previously Article 9)

Provides new language ensuring sufficient equipment and materials, including photocopies, to allow employees to perform assigned teaching, research and service responsibilities and to accommodate students assigned to classes. Provides that bargaining over employee notice and travel expenses to secondary place of employment may be reopened if FIU establishes a new campus, center, or similar worksite.

3. BOT-UFF Policy, Employee Performance Evaluation (Previously Article 10)

Adds language concerning development of procedures for third-year peer review of faculty on tenure-earning lines.

4. BOT-UFF Policy, Evaluation File (Previously Article 11)

Adds language protecting employee Social Security Numbers from unauthorized disclosure.

5. BOT-UFF Policy, Access to Official Personnel Records

This was not previously covered in the CBA. New policy gives employee rights to inspection, response to, and free copies of materials maintained in employee file by Division of Human Resources, while protecting the long-standing principle that the only file that can be the basis for evaluation of performance is the departmental Evaluation File.

6. BOT-UFF Policy, Non-Reappointment (Previously Article 12)

Preserves rights to adequate advance written notice of nonreappointment based on length of service.

7. BOT-UFF Policy, Promotions (Previously Article 14)

Preserves procedures governing applications for promotion. Makes promotion appraisals a part of the promotion file, but not the sole basis for a promotion decision.

8. BOT-UFF Policy, Disciplinary Action and Job Abandonment (Previously Article 16)

Preserves the principle of progressive discipline, advance written notice of the basis for possible disciplinary action, and due process through either the grievance or neutral, internal dispute resolution process for those employees accused of misconduct, as well as clear definitions of job abandonment.

9. BOT-UFF Policy, Leaves (Previously Article 17)

Adds six-month paid parental leave on a one-time basis for new parents. Changes 12-month period for FMLA leave to rolling year based on first day of FMLA leave taken. Preserves retirement payout for unused sick leave for all current employees after ten years service, but no longer provides retirement payout for unused sick leave to employees hired after July 1, 2006. Adds three paid days of bereavement leave to the ability to use reasonable amounts of annual leave, sick leave or unpaid leave in the event of a death in the employee’s family.

10. BOT-UFF Policy, Inventions and Works (Previously Article 18)

Retains language from previous CBA concerning copyrights and patents, but provides for additional collective bargaining by a working group of three members appointed by UFF and three members appointed by the Vice President for Research. This working group will develop a policy or policies to be put into a written Memorandum of Understanding signed by the UFF and the administration and ratified as part of the next BOT-UFF Agreement.

11. BOT-UFF Policy, Conflict of Interest/Outside Activity (Previously Article 19)

Retains previous language concerning reporting of potential conflicts and outside activities, including expedited procedure for resolving disputes over whether outside activities constitute a conflict of interest.

12. BOT-UFF Policy, Other Employee Rights (Previously Article 21)

Preserves such rights to office space, safe working conditions, and control over working papers.

13. BOT-UFF Policy, Professional Development Leave and Sabbaticals (Previously Article 22)

Preserves professional development leaves and non-competitive sabbaticals under the terms set forth in the previous CBA, but doubles the number of competitive sabbaticals available to tenured employees by adding a two-semester, two-thirds pay sabbatical for every 40 tenured employees to the previous contract provision for a one-semester, full pay sabbatical for every 40 tenured employees. Provides new faculty participation in making recommendations concerning grant of professional development leaves.

14. BOT-UFF Policy, Benefits (Previously Article 24)

Adds free faculty parking decal for retired employees. Extends university policies granting same-sex domestic partner insurance stipends and free university courses for employees and families to bargaining unit employees.

15. BOT-UFF Policy for Neutral, Internal Resolution of Policy Disputes

Creates a process for complaints over alleged violations of bargained policies, including expedited review for complaints concerning conflict of interest/outside activities and assignment dispute resolution. Process is identical to grievance process at Step 1 (informal resolution) and Step 2 (hearing and decision by President or designee). UFF is allowed to bring complaint on behalf of groups of employees and may take complaints to Step 3 hearing before a Panel consisting of two partisan employees representing administration and UFF and chaired by a neutral former employee or alumnus.

Contact Us

Chapter President Eric Dwyer
Grievance Chairperson Lauren Christos
Treasurer For information about the UFF-FIU budget, please contact Delano Gray

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[last updated: February 06 2006]