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APPENDIX C

GRIEVANCE FORM

STEP 2

This is a chapter grievance filed on behalf of the UFF-UF bargaining unit.

I. Date received by the Office of Human Resource Services (as authenticated by receipt, postmark, or
date recorded on fax, as applicable) _______________________ (must be received within 60 days of the
date of the act or omission giving rise to the grievance, or within 15 days of the Notice of Discipline in
grievances involving disciplinary action) by:

Personal delivery _____

U. S. Mail _____

Fax _____ E-mail X

GRIEVANT STEP 2 GRIEVANCE REPRESENTATIVE

NAME UFF NAME: Churchill Roberts(print)


(print)

CAMPUS MAILING ADDRESSES:

COLLEGE: COLLEGE: Journalism and Communications

DEPT: DEPT: Telecommunication

DEPT ADDRESS: DEPT ADDRESS:

308 Yon Hall 3040A Weimer Hall

UFF PHONE: 352-519-4130 PHONE: 392-1545 (office) 352-284-2557 (cell)

UFF PRESIDENT PAUL ORTIZ PHONE:

352-392-7168

If grievant is represented by the UFF or legal counsel, all University communications should go to the
grievant’s representative. Other addresses to which University mailings pertaining to grievance shall be
sent:

_____________________________________

_____________________________________

____________________________________
II. GRIEVANCE

Article(s) and Sections(s) of Agreement allegedly violated:

2.1, 3, 7, 8.1, 8.3, 10, 11.2, 14.1(d), 14.5, 15.2, 31

Statement of grievance:

On Friday, October 9, 2020, President Kent Fuchs issued a public communication


(twitter.com/UF/status/1314…) indicating the University’s intent to increase the number of University
courses taught face-to-face during the Spring 2021 semester to levels comparable to the beginning of
the Spring 2020 semester, and intimated that doing so was necessary in order to ensure that Ron
DeSantis, Governor of Florida, did not severely cut the University’s budget for the 2020-2021 fiscal year.

In the weeks prior to and following the President’s announcement, faculty across the University have
sought to continue to teach courses remotely during the Spring 2021 semester. The University
administration has ignored group requests, like this petition signed by over 3000 members of the
University of Florida community
(https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScbSdLfNeDuKQWRATKGdazwkpsTrFH8K3PXTkRpfqklgyb_
zw/viewform?gxids=7757 ).

At the same time, individual requests to teach remotely in the Spring 2021 semester have been
subjected to unreasonably long and complex bureaucratic processes, or unreasonably, arbitrarily, or
capriciously denied, in one or more of the following ways:

Faculty have been told that only those who fall within high risk categories as defined by the Center for
Disease Control (CDC) will be allowed to teach remotely. Faculty have been told that they must submit
requests to teach remotely using forms created by the University of Florida and available on the
University’s ADA website. One form must be prepared by a doctor. The website (here:
https://ada.ufl.edu/covid-19/medical-documentation/) containing this form states that “No
accommodation(s) can be processed without medical documentation of the disability.” Doctors are
refusing to fill out this form for faculty who do not have a “disability” within the meaning of the
Americans with Disability Act (ADA), even if those faculty members have medical conditions that are
considered high risk by the CDC. Because of this, some faculty have been discouraged from making
requests to teach remotely.

The forms on the University of Florida ADA website have changed repeatedly over the past month,
without notice to employees. This makes it difficult for faculty to prepare and present their requests to
teach remotely and has discouraged some faculty from making requests to teach remotely.

The forms on the University of Florida ADA website list only some of the conditions that the CDC
considers high risk, while leaving out others (CDC guidelines here:
https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2020/p0625-update-expands-covid-19.html ) . As a result, faculty
whose medical conditions are high risk according to the CDC guidelines but are not on the specific list
supplied by the University of Florida have been discouraged from making requests to teach remotely.
The forms on the University of Florida ADA website do not list age as a risk group, even though CDC
guidelines are clear that:

As you get older, your risk for severe illness from COVID-19 increases. For example, people in their 50s
are at higher risk for severe illness than people in their 40s. Similarly, people in their 60s or 70s are, in
general, at higher risk for severe illness than people in their 50s. (CDC guidelines here:
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/older-adults.html)

Because of the University of Florida form, faculty in their 50s, 60s, and older have been discouraged
from making requests to teach remotely.

The forms on the University of Florida ADA website do not permit faculty who live with high risk people
to request to teach remotely. This means that faculty members who live with high risk children, parents,
spouses, or other people are not able to make requests to teach remotely. Instead, they must either ask
to go on leave without pay, or put the people they live with at risk.

The forms on the University of Florida ADA website do not permit people who have child care
responsibilities to ask to teach remotely. This places a burden on faculty who have child care
responsibilities for children whose school remains remote in spring 2021, or whose school goes into
quarantine in spring 2021. Studies have shown that this burden has fallen most heavily on women (see:
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/06/science/covid-universities-women.html).

The University of Florida has made no provision to allow faculty who do not fall into a high risk category
to request permission to teach remotely in Spring 2021. Yet most classroom buildings at the University
of Florida lack windows that open, appropriate ventilation, or other protections against the increased
exposure to the aerosols that spread COVID-19 (see here:
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/protecting-against-covids-aerosol-threat/). Nor have the
public restrooms used by students, faculty, and others on campus been refitted with toilet lids to
protect from aerosol plumes (see here: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/16/health/coronavirus-
toilets-flushing.html). By denying faculty who do not fit within the narrow band of risk identified in the
University of Florida’s forms the ability to ask to teach remotely, the University of Florida is requiring
them to work in unsafe workplaces.

The University of Florida’s plan for spring 2021 teaching requires compliance with social distancing
requirements set by the CDC. This means that only some students will be allowed to take face-to-face
classes, and most students will be required to sign up for an online course that is taught simultaneously
to the face-to-face class. This style of teaching, called Hy-Flex, is unsuitable for many classes that require
discussion or conversation between students. The University of Florida administration has refused to
discuss the pedagogical harms caused by a blanket requirement of Hy-Flex teaching. As a result, the
University administration has failed to “provide faculty members with the necessary facilities and
resources for carrying out their assigned duties and responsibilities.”

Remedy sought:
Cease and desist from requiring bargaining unit members to perform work face-to-face which can be
performed remotely. Any and all such other relief as is just and appropriate.

__________________________________________________________

__X__ UFF

_____ Legal Counsel ______________________________________

_____ Myself ______________________________________

If the grievant elects self-representation or to be represented by legal counsel, the UFF shall also be
notified in writing of the date, time, and place of any meeting or hearing called for the purpose of
discussing the grievance, shall have the right to have an observer present at all meetings and/or
hearings called for the purpose of discussing such grievance, and shall be sent copies of all decisions at
the same time as they are sent to the other parties. No resolution of any individually processed
grievance can be inconsistent with the terms of this Agreement.

I understand and agree that by filing this grievance, I waive whatever rights I may have under chapter
120 of the Florida Statutes with regard to the matters I have raised herein and under all other University
procedures which may be available to address these matters.

Signature of Grievant Date 11/1/2020

(Grievant must sign if grievance is to be processed.)

The decision of the hearing officer shall be transmitted, by personal delivery with written
documentation of receipt or by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the grievant, the grievant’s
representative, the UFF Grievance Chair, and the Provost or designee within fifteen (15) days following
the conclusion of the meeting.

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

Board of Trustees–United Faculty of Florida

(Page 3 of 3)
UF Chapter of United Faculty of Florida (UFF-UF)

UF Chapter of Graduate Assistants United (GAU-UF)

Face-to-Face Mandate: University of Florida

Healthy Learning Environment or Administrative/Political Expediency?

OUR DEMANDS

The United Faculty of Florida, UF Chapter (UFF-UF) and the Graduate Assistants United, UF
Chapter (GAU-UF) along with support from organizations and community members demand the
following immediate actions from! the University of Florida:

• Immediately adopt a policy whereby all courses that can be taught in remote mode be
scheduled for online delivery.
o We appreciate the concerns that led to this joint suggestion. As highlighted in the
statement from the Board of Governors and in President Fuchs’s video message
and Faculty Senate report, the University will resume face-to-face courses and
activities in spring based on the pedagogical needs of students and the curriculum,
consistent with CDC guidelines.

• Increase transparency regarding the mandate to maximize face-to-face


teaching/learning/working; and, reveal to the public where this directive originated along
with the reasoning behind it.
o Statement from the Florida Board of Governors: “The Florida Board of Governors
is strongly encouraging the state universities to resume as many face-to-face
courses and activities in spring as they can safely do within CDC guidelines. As
we have done this Fall, each university is working within its own curriculum,
physical capacity, and unique circumstances to provide a high-quality education
consistent with the CDC guidelines. The universities continue to emphasize the
importance of compliance with those guidelines through a shared responsibility
within the campus and the local community.” President Fuchs has also shared his
reasoning related to the decision making for our Spring plan in his video on
October 9 and at the October 15 Faculty Senate meeting. The first issue was
related to our student and future student body. Nationwide enrollment this year
for first-year students is down 16%, across all types of institutions (community
colleges through research universities). Freshman applications here at UF for
next year are down 23%. Our students are telling us that the majority of them
want to be here in Gainesville to benefit from what a residential campus offers, a
student experience that enriches their lives and provides them with an education
surrounded by other students, faculty and staff. Our students deserve this
opportunity. More importantly, we have learned over the past several months
how to keep our faculty, staff and students as safe as possible with in-person
teaching and learning. After nearly four months since students started returning to
the classrooms and labs at UF, the local contact tracers report that they are not
seeing transmission in classroom or lab settings. Further, our best shared
opportunity to retain full funding for our University, and thereby protect the jobs
of our employees, is to provide more of our students with the full educational
experience and opportunities they had before COVID.

The second issue involves the potential erosion of our University’s resource base,
starting next year. In contrast to other top public research universities, the
majority of our core budget, the budget that pays most faculty and staff salaries, is
from the state. Our state is facing enormous budget challenges next year. In the
current year we received a reduction of 6% in our core state budget allocation.
There is risk that the reduction could be significantly greater next year. If
policymakers believe that UF is offering less than the full pre-COVID student
experience that students and their families are demanding, then the risk increases
that we will receive less than the full state allocation. This could result in similar
impacts as in 2008 and 2009, where UF lost 500 faculty positions, which we only
recently regained. Our aspirations are not merely to restore the lost 6%, but in
order to be a top-5 public research university we must also compensate our
faculty and staff closer to the level of our national peers, and without a stable or
growing budget allocation we cannot do that.

• Expand accommodations beyond those outlined under standard ADA qualifications:


include those individuals the CDC identifies as at increased risk for serious illness due to
COVID as well as those residing with or caregiving for individuals who are at an
increased risk.
The ADA does not provide for accommodations for an employee who may have an
“associated disability” resulting from living with a vulnerable person. However, the
University has and will continue to take steps consistent with CDC guidelines to reduce
the chance of COVID-19 transmission in the workplace, including in classrooms. This is
in an effort to help protect faculty, staff and students and their families and others living
in their household.

• Remove the October 19 deadline for requesting special accommodations, thereby,


allowing faculty, graduate assistants and staff to apply as determined by their health
condition and susceptibility to COVID-19 infection.
Consistent with the ADA, a request for accommodation can be requested at any time.
Any deadline goal dates that have been communicated thus far were created due to the
timing of advance registration, in an effort to review accommodation requests
concurrently with spring semester assignments. Requests for accommodations and
supporting medical documentation should have been submitted by then in order to help
facilitate timely planning for the next semester. However, all accommodation requests
submitted after the October 19th deadline will be processed under the same analysis as
those submitted prior to the October 19th deadline.