Out-of-unit faculty and staff receive 2 percent raise

Barbara Corbellini Duarte / Asst. News Director

Out-of-unit faculty and staff received a 2 percent across-the-board increase to be reflected on the paycheck for October, yet most union members already expected the same increase.

“The purpose of the decision to grant increases is to really reward our faculty and staff who are doing an outstanding job at this University,” said Jaffus Hardrick, vice president in the Division of Human Resources.

Out-of-unit employees are those that do not qualify to be part of the union, so they are not covered by the collective bargaining agreement. In Florida, an employee that has an in-unit job is covered the by the union contract even if he or she decides not to join the union. According to Joann Cuesta-Gomez, director of Employee of Labor Relations in the Division of Human Resources, 49.68 percent of University’s employees are active out-of-unit.

“If your job is in-unit, you get all the benefits within the contract, but you are not required to pay union dues,” said Lorna Veraldi, associate professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and member of United Faculty of Florida.

In addition to the increase, few out-of-unit employers who show exceptional performance will be rewarded with a 1 percent bonus pool.

“The 1 percent is what we call the merit pool, and that pool is really allocated for the super stars, those individuals who are truly going above and beyond just the normal standards,” Hardrick said.

According to Hardrick, discussions about the increase started about a year ago and the president is responsible for making the final analysis and decision.

There are five unions within the University. Three of them had a equal raise already foreseen for this same time of the year on their collective bargaining agreement.

“What the University has typically done, and I kind of understand the thinking behind this, they don’t want other employees to look at the union contract and say, ‘Jeez, I wish I had a union too,’” Veraldi said.

Veraldi observed that when UFF bargains for an increase for its unit members, the University has often offered the same increase to out-of-unit employees.

The 2 percent raise and the 1 percent merit bonus have been under the UFF bargaining agreement since 2011. The bargaining contracts of Dade County Police Benevolent Association Lieutenants and Dade County Police Benevolent Association also had the same increase arranged for the fiscal year of 2012-2013.

Hardrick recognized that the raise was also made to let the out-of-unit employees know how much the University values them.

“Yes, in the collective bargain agreement is already determined that they are getting an increase, we also want our out-of-unit staff to know that we value them.”

Cuesta-Gomez explained that the unions receive almost the same increase, but because the contracts have different periods of time, the unions receive the increase in different times as well.

This is the case of the Service Employees International Union, a health care union that includes nurses and lab technicians among others. According to Cuesta-Gomez, SEIU will be in negotiations in December for a new contract.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees is in negotiations with the University for a new contract. The union has a collective bargaining session with the University scheduled for Aug. 30 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at GC 1235, when members hope to add the need for just cause to their contracts, which means an employee can only be fired if he or she has caused misconduct.

“We don’t have just cause in their contract, but we do have a disciplinary process that we follow just as if it was in a contract,” Cuesta-Gomez said.

She explained that in the disciplinary process, a supervisor cannot take any termination action without coming to HR, where they will analyze the sides of the story before firing an employee. According to Cuesta-Gomes, this process provides the same protection as if it were in a contract.

David Cowart, groundskeeper and president of AFSCME, hopes to get into an agreement with the University soon.

The payroll department will manage the increases. To receive the increase, out-of-unit employees must have been working since Sept. 29 of 2011 and meet the required performance standards in the most recent evaluation.

According to Cuesta-Gomes, at the moment there is no employee that does not meet the required performance standards.

“I am very proud and pleased.”

1 Comment on "Out-of-unit faculty and staff receive 2 percent raise"

  1. I’ve been an adjunct at FIU for six years without any pay raise, and I have to say it was very frustrating to see this and other announcements and articles everywhere I turned announcing a raise I’m not eligible for. I know adjuncts don’t have the same workload as full-time faculty, but we still work hard, and I feel like we’re being treated like we don’t just because we’re adjuncts.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.