The green and gold “USF Part Time Faculty Deserve a Fair Contract!” signs that are scattered across campus are now covered with “thank you” stickers.
After 10 months of negotiations, the part-time faculty union (PTFA) and the University have come to an agreement on the faculty contract regarding pay, healthcare benefits and other employment details.
While PTFA President John Higgins said there are parts of the proposed contract that neither the part-time faculty nor administrators will be completely satisfied with, he thought it was a successful outcome.
“[After the last negotiation meeting], both sides came back to the negotiating table with what seemed to be a renewed sense of compromise to seal a deal,” Higgins said. “We all want what’s best for USF and our students; we just have different ideas about how to get there.”
The contract was negotiated based on meetings and surveys given to adjunct faculty. PTFA leadership listened to faculty members’ input and concerns regarding salary, benefits and job security.
The next step is for the part-time faculty to vote on the contract, which will take place on April 24-26. All adjunct faculty members are eligible to vote.
In a statement, Provost Donald E. Heller said, “We are pleased to have reached an agreement that recognizes the important and valued contributions of our part-time faculty to USF’s teaching mission. We look forward to hearing the results of the USFFA-PT contract ratification when members vote later this month.”
The University would not comment beyond this statement.
During contract negotiations, the union filed a charge against the university with the National Labor Relations Board, which included allegations of a breach of contract, failure to provide information and accusations of threats by University leadership. The union has since withdrawn all grievances and the NLRB charge, according to Higgins.
“In one instance, we realized that administration actually had already provided the information to the union, but the heated climate led to miscommunications,” Higgins said. “The union believes that the complaint of retaliation for union activity can be resolved through mediated discussions with [the] administration, but we are ready to re-file with the NLRB if necessary,” Higgins said.
Within the negotiation meetings, Higgins and the PTFA Executive Board represent the union. David Philpott, director of employee and labor relations at USF, and Vice Provost Jeff Hamrick, advocate on behalf of the University.
Higgins said that the PTFA received support from USF students, full-time faculty and staff, as well as outside campus unions, demonstrating strong community support. Students and USF staff signed petitions, wore buttons, put up posters and attended events.
“Solidarity does make a difference,” Higgins said.