Earlier today, the United Faculty of Florida filed suit in state court to challenge the arbitration ban in SB 266, which gives final decision-making authority to university presidents regarding personnel disputes. With this ban, the state of Florida has attempted to upend decades of precedent that have ensured the Sunshine State’s university faculty had fair and equitable treatment in our workplaces. Today, UFF draws a line in the sand and asks the courts to uphold that right against further attempts at partisan, authoritarian control of Florida’s State University System.
Without question, there is no justice in allowing the same university leaders who violate contractual agreements to serve as the final arbiters of whether they have acted fairly. This is why decades of labor practice have shown that third-party, neutral arbitration is a key component of enforcing contractual rights across Florida’s economy. In revoking this right, the Florida Legislature has violated state and federal law by impairing the existing union contracts at all twelve public universities represented by UFF and by undermining the right of the university system’s public employees to collectively bargain their working conditions. Nowhere is this violation seen more clearly than at New College of Florida, where UFF’s local chapter and an individual member have also joined suit as named plaintiffs.
It is a fundamental right of every American to receive a fair hearing before a neutral decisionmaker when their rights are under attack, in the workplace and beyond. In a year when the Florida Legislature decided to strip right after right from broad swaths of Florida’s people, UFF once again throws down the proverbial gauntlet in our fight to protect our members and their families, all of whom work every day to make Florida a better place for all people of all beliefs and backgrounds.UFF-Press-Release-SB-266-Litigation-UFF-Website-8-4-23