Spooky Seasons Greetings, My Macabre Members,
In our own version of an October Surprise, the last bargaining session was highly fruitful, cooperative, and hopefully has served to move both sides closer to a contract we can all agree on!
Bargaining Session #11 will be Wednesday, 10/14, 3:30-5:00PM. Zoom link below 👇👇
Some highlights before we go into the details:
FSU offered $400 one-time bonuses (an increase of $100 from their initial offer)
FSU clarified that they were always planning on automatically implementing last year's health insurance subsidy prices, and although the first subsidy paycheck deduction may be at last year's rates, once the contract is signed future deductions will be adjusted to reflect the increased amount FSU is covering (you won't see a sudden $236 dip in your paycheck, don't worry)
FSU is INTERESTED in standardizing appointments to the academic year!
You might recall that bargaining session #10 was rescheduled so that the FSU administration could have more time to do their homework. Well, to my great joy as both a course instructor and chief negotiator, it seems they actually did! FSU came back to the table with real numbers, having researched different aspects of our plan to End the Proration, and to our surprise and probably theirs as well, they acknowledged that the system they have in place right now is needlessly burdensome and it would make their lives a lot easier to do exactly what we've been telling them to do this whole time and standardize as many GA appointments as they could to the academic year.
Now of course, doing that would cost money, so it's not quite on the table YET. But FSU DID have hard numbers on how much it would cost them to bridge the winter break gap and pay all GAs (who are on both fall and spring appointments) continuously over the break: $372,000. In bargaining terms, that's NOTHING. For some perspective, the opening bonus offer they made us would cost $630,000.
Now, there's some obstacles between us and that sweet winter break pay. For one, to fix this problem permanently they'd have to agree to set aside that money every year... which they don't want to do. They're more willing to offer bigger money with bonuses because those are just one-offs, so they don't have to budget for that money next year, and the year after, and the year after. To fix the winter break gap the way we want them to, they would have to offer permanent money.
Oh, speaking of bonuses, did we mention...
Admin has now offered $400 bonuses to everyone on .5FTE.
Which is a nice good-faith increase of $100 from their last offer, but until we make actual, bankable progress on fixing the prorating issue and getting YOU the paychecks you rightfully deserve--over winter break, before the start of the semester, after finals week while you're still grading--we're not interested in even discussing bonuses.
Finally, on health insurance: Last year FSU made us sign an MOA ("Memorandum of Agreement") to make sure at the very least last year's health insurance subsidy rates would apply and they would pay their share until negotiations were settled. This year, apparently FSU was taking that as understood status quo. This is good news! Although there was much confusion around this, it has now been clarified. Your paycheck may be a few dozen dollars lighter in October (because health insurance rates went up), but it won't be $236 lighter, and it will even out once bargaining is closed and FSU covers even more of your health insurance premiums on a future paycheck.
It is late, late in the semester. FSU administration is most certainly losing patience with us by now. The goal is to get them as close as possible to our policy positions before that happens. And YOU, yes YOU, reading this on your phone or with your laptop balanced on your chest, can do something to help!
Send us your impact statements
Show up to bargaining (via Zoom! It's easier than ever!)
Peer-pressure your department colleagues to join too!
Vincenza Antonetta Berardo
Chief Negotiator, UFF-FSU-GAU
Florida State University