January 12, 2012. Questioning FAU administrators’ abrupt decision to increase class sizes and cancel courses, Work on NTT promotional structure continues, Calling all potential bargainers! Join UFF to fight Tallahassee’s anti-faculty agenda
Greetings. While you feasted on candied ham and disposed of unwanted fruitcakes over the holidays, your friendly faculty union has been busy preparing for the New Year. Already, we have contacted the administration regarding the sudden imposition of higher caps upon some faculty’s classes—some were as high as a 50% increase of students. We have alerted the administration that such unilateral decisions decreed only days before the semester are unfair to our faculty and the students. Syllabi suddenly need to be overhauled and quality sacrificed as the strain of a larger student body are imposed upon an already over-taxed, under-funded infrastructure. We will be discussing this further during consultation and bargaining.
We are completing old business by attempting to finalize a promotional structure for full-time Non-Tenure Track faculty. The main points of contention concern the transition time for long-time NTT faculty to apply for promotion and to pay our lowest paid NTT faculty a semi-livable salary. Our most recent meeting with administrators in this regard took place on January 11th.
Additionally, we will be bargaining the entire contract this semester. We will shortly be electronically distributing a bargaining survey. All faculty should fill it out as promptly as possible so we can better represent your interests at the bargaining table. We will also be announcing the bargaining dates when they become available so faculty can attend the meetings. Any faculty interested in bargaining should feel free to attend a bargaining workshop that we are holding on January 25 at 10:00 AM in room CU 222 (School of Communication Conference room). The meeting will be around three hours.
Needless to say, Tallahassee will be attempting to pass anti-union and anti-tenure legislation this spring. Although these two issues might not seem related, tenure and unionization are perceived by hostile lawmakers as impediments to privatizing public education and micromanaging faculty research, teaching, and governance from Tallahassee.
We not only need faculty to join the union so that we will be over 50% by the time July 1st rolls around, the date any anti-union legislation goes into effect, but we need your involvement. We need people to help with bargaining, grievances, recruiting, stewarding, writing, annotating, editing, analyzing—basically, any of the skills you have to offer. Assisting the union means dedicating as much time you feel comfortable with. Even offering two or three hours of help a month would be enormously beneficial. If you would like to talk with us to assist, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Furthermore, we will be having elections for union officers this semester. Feel free to nominate others or yourself for president, v.p., second vice-president, treasurer, secretary, or senator. Send nominations to: maris.hayashi(at)gmail.com.
One thing we are focused upon is changing the mass perception of public higher education and the faculty’s role within it. We are working on holding a teach-in sometime during the semester. If you would like to contribute, let us know. You can either be public with your involvement or work behind-the-scenes. Write to us at: president(at)uff-fau.org. We can use all the help out there. Before that, however, we encourage all faculty to write op-ed pieces to the local papers explaining tenure, the value of public higher education, the complimentary tasks of research and teaching, and so on. Only by flooding the public sphere with our voices can we begin to turnaround ill-informed perceptions of what we do—both within and off campus.
If you don’t see the value in the union, then ask yourself: why are some legislators so intent on breaking the union if it is so powerless, so meaningless and outdated? If the people who want to reduce your wages, stifle your research, outsource your classes, and generally treat you like a disposable workforce take the union seriously, maybe it is time that you do. Join. Write to us. Be involved. You deserve better.