Szymanski offers faculty $1,500 bonus, but read the fine print

Carter Mudgett, Editor in Chief

On his final day in office last Friday, President Szymanski offered faculty and staff a $1,500 bonus, but visiting instructors would miss out, and the university wants union concessions in return. 

Leaving UNF in the hands of Interim President Pam Chally, Szymanski has officially transitioned to the role of CEO and executive director of MedNexus following a presidency marked by countless praise and an equal amount of controversy

The overarching message of his email was that UNF had set aside a “one-time lump sum payment in the amount of $1,500” for all budgeted employees this year. However, the email also said that employees would be required to “bargain” with UNF before receiving this payment. 

Spinnaker reached out to the United Faculty of Florida at the University of North Florida (UFF-UNF) for the faculty’s thoughts on Szymanski’s bonus offer. 

UFF-UNF President Nicholas de Villiers declined to comment, opting to wait to share his take until after faculty have had time to share their opinions and the proposal could be bargained at the bargaining table. However, he shared an all-faculty email about this offer with Spinnaker. 

Sent by the UFF-UNF president and vice president, this email unpacks the fine print of Szymanski’s offer. View the entire email here

As written, the $1,500 bonus proposal, if accepted, would be “forgoing all current and planned negotiations for salaries, compression and inversion adjustments, and the cost of living adjustments for 2021-2022,” according to UFF-UNF. 

Further, the bonus says that any visiting or adjunct faculty member is automatically ineligible for this one-time offer. This also applies to any faculty members who were issued a notice of non-reappointment to their position.

Piling on, this bonus is “subject to taxes and withholdings” according to the email. Moreover, the written acknowledgment or record of receiving this payment, otherwise known as a receipt of payment, would take up to a year to complete, as stated within the UFF-UNF email. 

Photo by Justin Nedrow

At the table during negotiations, UFF-UNF wrote that they had suggested an alternative to UNF where faculty would “receive the money that was set aside for the bonus more quickly and the UNF administration and Board of Trustees would realize their goal of recognizing the efforts of the faculty in a more timely fashion.” 

However, the email does not detail whether or not that suggestion was heard or accepted. 

De Villiers also attached a snapshot of the salaries from the Florida SUS institutions, which are all PhD-granting institutions from a National Education Association salary report. As shown below, UNF ranks the lowest of the bunch according to de Villiers.

Szymanski’s era has ended at UNF. As negotiations commence to unpack the baggage of this one-time offer, Spinnaker will be there to keep you updated. 


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