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Unions await BOTs decision

At its meeting today, the USF Board of Trustees (BOT) will determine the fate of faculty, staff and University Police (UP) employment contracts that have been in the works for more than a year.

Representative unions for university employees have ratified changes made to their respective contracts during collective bargaining sessions with the BOT bargaining unit. Now, they must wait.

Tuesday marked the end of the ratification process for the USF chapter of the United Faculty of Florida (UFF), the USF chapter of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and the USF chapter of the Police Benevolent Association (PBA), who have amended the staff, faculty and UP contracts, respectively.

On Sept. 24, the bargaining units came to a tentative agreement upon the final language of all remaining articles in the three agreements. Now the changes, which would be in effect for three years, must be ratified by the BOT bargaining unit.

President of the USF chapter of AFSCME Bill McClelland said the staff’s bargaining process only focused on a few articles, mainly dealing with the salaries of the estimated 1,600 employees they represent.

The sessions resulted in the staff’s “overwhelming” ratification of the agreement and their first pay increase in more than five years, a welcomed change in the face of elevated costs of living, McClelland said.

“I think a few people were disappointed because they thought we should have gotten more money,” he said. “But there were very few people who voted against it. It was very clear that the overwhelming majority of the staff supported it. “

The staff contract now includes a 1.5 percent base pay increase to employees who have earned a performance rating of “Achieved” or higher since July 1 and have been employed since January.

In addition to the base pay increase, employees who have achieved a performance rating of “Exemplary” since July 1 will receive another base salary increase of $400, and employees with a performance rating of “Commendable” since July 1 will see a $250 increase.

President of USF’s chapter of UFF Sherman Dorn said faculty union members also voted “overwhelmingly for ratification.”

The UFF bargaining unit, which had been entangled in the collective bargaining process for 16 months, saw more than 90 percent of its members ratify the agreement, a decision Dorn staunchly supported.

“This bargaining round has gone on for 16 months and we’ve made several small agreements in that time that are being rolled up into this contract,” he said. “I will be much more relieved after it is ratified by both parties.”

That agreement includes a domestic partner health insurance stipend program, which was implemented through a Memorandum of Understanding in January, an increase in the ratio of one-semester full-pay sabbatical slots to eligible tenured faculty members and a continuation of supplemental summer teaching pay, with a cap of $12,500.

In addition, the agreement preserves the language of the original layoff policy, continues offering a 9 percent base raise and doubles the flat amount of base raises for promotions for tenured and library faculty members and sets promotion raises for instructors at 6 percent.

The PBA also saw a ratification of its agreement, which UP spokesman Lt. Christopher Daniel said went “very smoothly.”

The new contract includes base salary increases based on a five-tier performance scale for those who have been employed since Oct. 1. Employees who received a rating of “one” on their most recent evaluation will receive a salary increase of 3.25 percent and those with an evaluation of “two” will receive

a 2.75 percent increase. Those with a rating of “three” will receive a 2 percent increase.

For employees rated on a three-tier scale, those who received an “E” rating, for “Exceeds Performance Standards,” will receive a 3.25 percent increase in pay and those with an “A” rating, for “Achieves

Performance Standards,” will get a 2 percent increase.

Associate Provost and member of the BOT bargaining unit Kofi Glover recently said to The Oracle that if the BOT ratifies all contracts, they will take effect immediately. However, all salary raises depend on how fast paperwork can be processed.

Employees who receive two or more written reprimands within one year will be ineligible for salary increases.

“The requirement in the agreement is that it will be 60 days after the board has approved,” Glover said. “But we are trying to work hard and make it effective even before those 60 days.”

If the ratification process fails, all units will return to the collective bargaining process, Dorn said.