The United Faculty of Florida delivered more than 180 signed cards from faculty members at the St. Petersburg College to the Florida Public Employees Relations Committee, calling for certification of a faculty collective bargaining unit at the college.
In accordance with state law, the faculty must submit a petition accompanied by 30 percent signed statements indicating the faculty’s “desire to be represented for purposes of collective bargaining by the petitioning employee organization.” The signed cards from SPC represent about 50 percent of the proposed bargaining unit. This action follows a recent union certification vote at Tallahassee Community College, where faculty voted for representation by UFF by a 139-22 vote.
“I believe that if there is to be true shared governance at SPC, then faculty needs a collective bargaining unit in order to have a shared and collective voice at the college,” said George M. Greenlee, economics professor at the Clearwater campus. “Real shared governance will allow our students to reach their highest potential.”
Juan Flores, communications professor at the Tarpon Springs campus, said, “In essence, our voice — our experienced and hands-on concerns — are not being heard by the Legislature or even the governor. This is why we seek greater, more organized representation. This is why we seek to establish a union at SPC. Democracy teaches us to do that.”
David Manson, music professor at the Gibbs campus, said, “These are challenging times for higher education as forces seek to transform public colleges into diploma mills. The faculty at St. Petersburg believe that collective bargaining will give greater voice to those who teach and will serve our students better.”
Dr. Jennifer Proffitt, president of the United Faculty of Florida and communications professor at Florida State University, said, “SPC is the only public higher education institution in the greater Tampa Bay area that does not have a collective bargaining agreement for its faculty. This faculty deserves to be treated equitably by SPC administration and its board of trustees and has decided that a collective voice will enhance the college’s mission and growth.”