After multiple emails from administrators and faculty union representatives were sent to faculty hinting at an impasse over reaching a decision on collective bargaining, both sides will come to the table once again Friday for another session.
Though USF President Judy Genshaft’s email to faculty stated “it now looks as though (the university will) move to impasse proceedings,” an email statement on behalf of the bargaining team from Media and Public Affairs coordinator Adam Freeman said the university will “continue to bargain in good faith at Friday’s meeting in the hopes of reaching an agreement.”
“Impasse proceedings remain a possibility, but USF is always open to discussing new ideas and will consider new proposals that may be introduced,” the email stated. “We look forward to the eventual resolution and implementation of salary increases for our dedicated faculty.”
Though there is no deadline for declaring an impasse, negotiation for the 2013-16 collective bargaining agreement began in September 2012.
Since then, Chief Negotiator for the Faculty Union Bob Welker said faculty has not seen any raises aside from the $1,000 bonus provided by the state. In light of the 3 percent deduction required by the state for all employees to put toward their pension plans, Welker said the union’s bargaining team could not agree on a contract until a “decent raise” package is offered.
Genshaft announced in 2013 that $8 million would be distributed in performance or merit-based raises at the beginning of the fall semester. But Welker said the money has yet to be distributed until an agreement can be reached and that the university has saved money in the interim.
“There’s no financial crisis,” he said. “(The university) said (it) had $8 million, so where’s the beef? You talk a good game, but let’s put the money where the words are.”
Furthermore, he said, until an agreement is reached, no cap on salaries will exist for summer courses – meaning some could earn up to $25,000 over the summer for teaching a 3-hour course load, he said. And if the costs of summer school were to become such that they couldn’t be funded by sufficient enrollment, classes could be canceled.
In an earlier email, Genshaft said the university offered to “retain the current summer salary rate of 12.5 percent of a faculty member’s nine-month salary, with a cap of $12,500” in an earlier proposal.
In the statement, Freeman said the university’s team “remains confident that it has made fair proposals that would have maintained the current summer funding structure and promptly provided raises to reward and compensate faculty for the value they bring to the university.”
The bargaining session will take place at 3 p.m. Friday.