Does UFF prevent deans from giving out raises?

No. In addition to the 9% and 12% raises negotiated to accompany promotion to associate and full professor (or senior and university instructor), there are several ways in which faculty can receive raises: through across-the-board cost-of-living increases given to all faculty; through merit pay based on review by one’s peers within one’s department or unit; through market equity adjustments to alleviate the unfairness of salary compression and inversion; and at the discretion of the administration.

UFF-FAU surveys of faculty consistently reveal that faculty prefer the first three means over the fourth: Across-the-board raises benefit all equally, merit-based increases are dependent on evaluation by those who best understand the value of one’s work, and market equity adjustments partially address the problem of senior faculty salaries lagging behind national averages. But raises given solely at the discretion of the administration may be used capriciously to reward “favorites” without respect for meritorious performance. One of the reasons faculty organized the union in the seventies was that two colleagues could receive the same annual evaluation, but their dean could give one a $50 raise and the other a $5000 raise. There was no accountability for administrators.  The union contract has largely put a stop to this unfairness. (If something like this is still going on in your college, you need to join the union, organize with your colleagues, and talk to the union grievance chair.)

However, UFF recognizes that deans require a certain amount of discretion to respond to extraordinary situations in which a salary increase is mandated. These are specified in the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) as occurring when a dean makes a counter-offer, when a faculty member performs extraordinary accomplishments, when a faculty member has increased duties and responsibilities, and similar situations.

In short, UFF does not oppose the administration raising salaries. However, if funds exist for substantial raises these should be administered either across-the-board or through transparent, peer-review systems that provide a primary role for faculty, and not according to the fiat of individual administrators.

Recently it has become clear that the FAU Board of Trustees (BOT), most of whom have little or no experience running a university, seeks to impose a new evaluation system on FAU faculty. A majority of the BOT opposes across-the-board raises. More important, with faculty committees voting on merit salary increases, a majority of faculty members usually receive such merit-based increases. The BOT would apparently like to reverse this priority, creating a situation in which most or all salary increases are awarded to a small number of academic “stars,” and most faculty receive few or no salary increases. Thus they seek to add to faculty evaluations more categories above “excellent” or “outstanding” performance, making it more and more difficult to meet the standards for meritorious performance, imposing unrealistic criteria for evaluation, and substituting their own judgment for that of the faculty. This has become a point of contention in negotiations and consultations with the administrators who represent the BOT.