Legislative Matters Matter

The Florida legislature is in session and you should be paying attention. There are a large number of bills in the works that, if passed, will have a tremendous effect on your job, whether or not you’re a union member.

We are tracking about a dozen bills at the moment. We won’t go through all of them here, but here’s our hot-take on the Top 4 of the Worst Bills This Session:

HB997/SB220 – This bill would allow university presidential searches to be made outside of Sunshine laws. If you recall the last president search we had that was in the Sunshine, you can imagine the potential negative consequences of this bill.

SB86 – This bill would potentially limit Bright Futures scholarships for students in majors not approved by the legislature as potentially leading to high-income careers. If you believe as we do that the purpose of higher education is something greater than simply career development, this bill should cause you concern. We are very pleased that our Administration is strongly opposed to this bill and working with their peers across the SUS to make their opinion known to the legislature.

HB233/SB264 – This bill has grown to about a dozen pages of bad ideas, including an “intellectual diversity” survey of faculty and allowing students to post recordings of faculty lectures or comments on social media. Ever played ‘devil’s advocate’ to make a point in a class? Would you like a clip of your work, taken out of context, to be the next viral video on Facebook, TicTok, or Reddit?

HB835/SB1014 – This bill would require public employee union chapters (like ours!) to have over 50% of the eligible employees as members. Failure to maintain 50% membership will result in decertification.

We’d like you to consider the gains made by our chapter through our Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). If our chapter is decertified, you can bet those gains will be quickly erased. We get cost-of-living adjustments, new promotion and raise structures, and benefits like additional opportunities to use parental leaves because your bargaining team fights for them. Yeah, yeah, we know that because Florida is a so-called “right to work” state, in-unit faculty have been able to enjoy the benefits of having a well-negotiated CBA without being a member of the union. If HB835/SB1014 becomes law, these benefits and protections we all have will be threatened. We understand there are many reasons why you may not be a member. We are asking you to consider joining now – before these bills become law – to send a clear message to the legislation that public sector employees value their unions.

Need another reason to join? If you’re a member, you can be represented by UFF in grievances over questionable evaluations or supervisor actions, for example. And not to brag, but we’ve got a solid track record of wins at arbitration. Still have questions? Reach out to a member of your UFF leadership team. A membership form can be found here – fill it out and send it in today.

In solidarity,
Your UFF-UWF Leadership

FEA Legislative session updates: https://feaweb.org/issues-action/2021-legislative-session/

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