Over the years, UFF-FAU has achieved numerous victories for individual faculty members and for the faculty as a whole. Many victories occur informally — for instance, when a faculty member brings the CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) to her chair to get an unjust assignment of responsibility remedied, or when a faculty member uses the leave of absence criteria outlined in the CBA to successfully apply for a sabbatical. Other victories are more dramatic — for instance, when a faculty member wins a grievance against a denial of tenure, when a faculty member successfully grieves against an inappropriate disciplinary procedure, or when a faculty member successfully challenges administration actions that violate his or her intellectual property rights, such as patent rights.
Here are a few achievements of which we’re particularly proud:
- 2013: When the administration announced that the FAU football stadium would be named after The GEO Group, a for-profit prison company, the university received negative national publicity. UFF-FAU informally joined with student and community groups to protest, and the plan was cancelled.
- 2012: When a student accused an FAU instructor of telling his class to “stomp on Jesus” (actually a standard, non-required exercise about the emotional power of written words), some local media distorted the incident and the university received thousands of angry e-mails. The FAU administration responded by publicly criticizing the faculty member’s actions, silenced him, and also failed to defend academic freedom. UFF-FAU intervened to successfully defend the instructor, a union member, who without the contractual protections for his academic freedom might well have been quietly fired. A later report by a University Faculty Senate committee exonerated the faculty member and criticized administration actions. See the report at: http://fau.edu/ufsgov/Final%20AFDPC%20Report%206-24-2013.pdf.
- 2012: At the last minute the FAU provost announced draconian cuts to the summer schedule. The union joined with students to protest, and some of the cuts were rescinded.
- 2010-2015: Despite years with few salary increases, UFF-FAU has made progress in bargaining, especially in establishing a promotion structure for instructors, benefits for same-sex partners, paid parental leave, and progress toward free tuition for faculty dependents.
- 2009-2010: When FAU announced plans to terminate five tenured faculty in the College of Engineering, UFF-FAU, working with the support of its affiliates and outside legal counsel, filed a grievance that, after going to binding arbitration, led to an order that reinstated four faculty members who were union members (the other faculty member voluntarily retired). In his decision, the arbitrator called the terminations “arbitrary and capricious” and in direct violation of the lay-off procedures specified in the CBA.
- 2005: UFF joined with others around the state to beat back the Florida version of the “Academic Bill of Rights” measures that were being introduced in state legislatures around the country. This bill would have monitored the political content of university classes and stood as a threat to key tenets of academic freedom.