After first petitioning the state in February, the faculty at State College of Florida has become the newest United Faculty of Florida chapter.
The 75-24 vote was certified by the Florida Public Employees Relations Committee on Monday. The 99 votes represent more than 90 percent of the SCF faculty. UFF represents more than 20,000 faculty members at 11 state universities, St. Leo University, 10 colleges and at four graduate assistant chapters.
8 The number of eligible faculty who did not vote either way in the union process
The union movement began after the college’s board of trustees voted to end continuing contracts, commonly known as tenure, to qualified faculty members.
“The State College of Florida faculty, over campuses and through departments, have come together to support each other in gaining a seat at the table,” said Courtney Ruffner Grieneisen, a literature professor and leader of the union movement. “We have asked to be heard, to be taken seriously, to be respected by our board of trustees and administration and have been met with silence.”
In May, Ruffner Grieneisen and other union supporters alleged the college was delaying the union vote in an effort to create an anti-union coalition on campus. Ruffner Grieneisen said she was pleased with the turnout for the ballot, adding there was still a lot of legwork ahead for union members.
“Right now, we have to work on our bylaws and find people who are interested to run for office,” she said. “That’s our next move.”
Carol Probstfeld, SCF president, said she was grateful to the faculty who participated in the process.
“I am grateful to all the faculty who participated, and it is very important that their voices were heard in the process,” she said in a statement Tuesday. “As we navigate this change, our mission remains the same, and our dedication to our students will always be our first priority.”