UFF-UNF’s fight for a raise in faculty salaries

Heydi Ortiz and Courtney Green

You might have noticed the signs near the Student Union: UNF faculty are being paid 17% less than the median salary range of faculty at other State University System institutions. 

The UNF chapter of The United Faculty of Florida (UFF) wants to change that. It’s asking for more funding from the Board of Trustees of UNF. Members of UFF consist of those who are active in teaching, research, and service and represent higher education faculty in the state of Florida.

They’re asking the BOT for a fair and equitable contract that would raise faculty salaries by 9% as a reasonable start to addressing what they call insufficient salaries.

The need to address the gap in faculty salaries has been an ongoing concern and frustration for years according to UNF-UFF.

Almost two years earlier, UFF-UNF delivered the same message of concern.

“We have staff who are paid (some would say underpaid) wages that are not livable, and we have staff and faculty who have not seen meaningful wage increases in years. Meanwhile high-ranking administrators have received salary increases despite already being handsomely compensated,” said the former Faculty Associate president, Radha Pyati in a letter to then UNF President John Delaney from November of 2017. 

According to UFF’s current President, Kally Malcom, this is something UNF students should be actively worried about. 

“UNF students should be concerned about faculty pay. We want to attract, reward and retain the best faculty in the nation, a population in the most direct contact with what matters here at UNF: students,” said Malcom, who in addition to being an Associate Professor of Art and Photography, is also the president of UFF-UNF. “While we don’t have access to the data — the University has it — we have reason to believe salary compression and inversion affects a significant percentage of faculty. We’d like to study it jointly and then work with administration to address the issue together.”

In other words, UFF believes employees with the same skill-set and experience are being paid less, or at least differently. Malcom says UFF-UNF had an agreement with the BOT to study salary compression and inversion, but she says the administration decided not to follow through with the agreement.

Back in 2017, the BOT also set a goal for UNF administration to focus on raising faculty pay “above the median,” among other Florida State University Systems (SUS) within budget constraints. Yet, it’s now two years later and UFF-UNF claims they haven’t seen a change based on annual studies done by the National Education Association. In fact, the annual studies have consistently placed UNF faculty at the bottom of Florida State University System for more than a decade.

So, what is the university doing to fix this? 

The Board of Trustees’ latest proposal from August 2019 offers UNF faculty a raise between 1 and 3%– a raise UFF-UNF says is insufficient to their proposal for a 9% raise.

When Spinnaker reached out to the University for comment on the matter of faculty pay, the University said they did not comment on ongoing collective bargaining negotiations. 

According to UFF, there was an agreement to create a Task Force that would look into salary compression and inversion, but the University says no agreement to form the task force was actually reached because neither party could agree on what the task force would do at a meeting the parties had back in March of 2019.

UFF wanted the Task Force to “assess the extent and occurrence of C&I at UNF and to seek solutions to solve it,” according to a letter penned by Dr. Gundlach in response to a March 28, 2019 meeting between the Board of Trustees and UNF administration.

Meanwhile, the University wanted the meeting to be about “defining” salary compression and inversion at UNF. 

Spinnaker will update this story as it progresses.


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