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 United Faculty of Florida - Lake-Sumter State College Chapter

Letter to the District Board of Trustees, February

The union sent a letter to to each board member via email concerning their upcoming decision relating to Dr. David Walton. Read the letter here.

As the Board considers its Decision this month

We once again implore the District Board of Trustees to make the right decision and overturn the unjust action of President Sidor in terminating Dr. David Walton. Revisit our Statement below including the pertinent state board rules and administrative processes that were ignored. Also, be sure to review the words of the Editorial Board of the Orlando Sentinel for further confirmation of the right action to take. Proper resolution of this issue is necessary to get the college working environment back on track.

The Cost to the College

UFF-LSSC filed a public records request to the college for all of the charges their lawfirm, Allen, Norton & Blue has billed Lake-Sumter since we unionized. The charges total nearly $120,000 as of October. We sent a letter to the District Board of Trustees on this issue with some highlights. You can review all of the invoices here to see how the college is spending taxpayer and student tuition dollars.


MOU Voting Runs from Monday, November 8 until Wednesday, November 10

All faculty in the unit will receive an email addressed from Helios Voting Bot - it is not spam. Log into the system using the username and password provided in the email and vote on each of the three MOUs that were agreed upon at the table. Once you vote, you will get an email from the Helios system letting you know that your vote was registered. We will open the results at a public meeting on Wednesday evening over Zoom.

Topic: MOU Vote count

The Results are In, It's Unanimous!

vote tally

Faculty Vote on MOUs

The Union Bargaining Team and the College Administration have reached tentative agreements on three memoranda of understanding covering a one-time 3% pay bonus, stipends for the QEP co-directors, and a compensation framework for QEP participants. Each of these requires a vote by both the faculty unit and the District Board of Trustees. The faculty vote will take place electronically between November 8-10 as we have received permission from PERC to hold an electronic ballot. The faculty will have the opportunity to meet virtually to answer questions about these proposals on November 2 at 7:00 pm in Zoom. Please review each of the MOUs below, voting will take place over email - an automated system will send instructions to all faculty. It will be addressed from Helios Voting Bot.

MOU 2021 Non-Recurring Bonus
MOU QEP Co-Director Stipends
MOU QEP Participant Stipends

Bargaining after Two and a Half Years

It has now been two and a half years since we began the process to negotiate our first contract with the administration and three years since we officially unionized. Let's take a look back at that first session. The video below was taken at the time and explains what we hoped to accomplish - nothing has changed in our goals. Here is our full initial proposal, parts of which we still have not gotten counters to - though we have worked through and tentatively agreed to many portions.

A "Just Cause" Definition Reminder

Please review the Seven Tests of Just Cause from The University of California at Berkeley.

Hearing for Dr. David Walton Scheduled for Thursday, September 9

Dr. David Walton's administrative hearing will be in the South Lake boardroom at 9:00. It will be presided over by Brett Jones from the District Board of Trustees and will feature testimony from the administration and faculty. We trust that the facts surrouding this wrongful termination will come to light.

Orlando Sentinel Editorial

The Editorial Board of the Orlando Sentinel examined our situation and published a scathing article about Dr. Walton and the faculty's situation.

We were also covered statewide by The Florida Channel (beginning at 9:23)

Inside Higher Ed Article

Our situation is being covered nationally as well. Read this Inside Higher Ed article.

News Coverage from Orlando Weekly

Read news coverage concerning what happened to Dr. David Walton in this Orlando Weekly article.

Take action now!

The statewide United Faculty of Florida have posted a utility for the community to respond to the college's actions concerning Dr. David Walton. You can make your voice heard here.

Press Release from the United Faculty of Florida

The college's actions against Dr. David Walton have been noticed at the state level. Read the statewide UFF press release here.

UFF press

Full Membership Meeting

UFF-LSSC held a full membership meeting on Thursday, September 2 over Zoom. We reviewed updates on the adminstration's actions, bargaining, and adjustments in the Executive Council. Review the meeting minutes here.

UFF-LSSC Press Release

Read our press release on the current situation concerning the college's actions.

Information on HB 233, the new "Viewpoint Diversity" law

UFF leadership has provided us with some guidance on the the new "Viewpoint Diversity" law that took effect on July 1. Read the letter here and the full text of HB 233 here.

Statement on the Termination of Dr. David Walton

This month, the college president, Dr. Stanley Sidor, terminated Dr. David Walton, Assistant Professor of Anthropology. UFF-LSSC opposes this action as unjust. A quick review of his biography and CV demonstrates he is among the best LSSC professors and scholars. Dr. Walton serves as the only instructor at Lake-Sumter for Anthropology, Archaeology, and Geography courses and advises student groups across the college. In addition, due to his background in academic publication, he is the co-chair of the Institutional Review Board charged with guiding and approving scholarship and studies at the institution. Dr. Walton routinely receives stellar performance reviews from supervisors and course evaluations from his students. Our college will suffer due to this rash and unnecessary action by the administration.

Dr. Walton's case has been referred to the statewide UFF organization, and he has been provided with legal counsel to challenge his termination. This action is a threat to his academic career and livelihood as well as to the Lake-Sumter State College faculty at large. The administration did not follow existing processes or procedures when removing his continuing contract status (see state rule 6A-14.0411: Employment Contracts for Full-Time Faculty and Lake-Sumter State College administrative procedures PRO 5-15 Faculty Contracts, PRO 5-16 Separation of Employment, and PRO 5-06 Reduction in Force). This action has had a detrimental effect to the morale of the faculty we represent. Dr. Walton personally represents the college faculty at the bargaining table as we work to complete our first contract. We view this action as an attempt to sabotage that process and the progress we have made. It was brutal actions such as this, without due process, that led to the unionization drive in the first place several years ago. Trust in the administration to make sound decisions is at a perilous low.

At the June 23rd District Board of Trustees meeting, several of Dr. Walton's students addressed the group during the public comment period. They expressed their frustration with the college's decision to deprive them of a highly qualified professor and mentor. We agree with their assessment of the situation. The faculty only exist to support our students on their educational and career paths. We condemn this action and hope to overturn it for the sake of our member, Dr. David Walton, and the college as a whole.

Read Letters of Recommendation from Dr. Walton's colleagues.

Detrimental end of year firings by the college president, Dr. Stanley Sidor

The president called three faculty members into his office after the Memorial Day weekend to terminate them. One of which, Dr. David Walton is currently tenured on continuing contract (there will be much more on this action soon) and the other two are on annual contract. This action has effectively hollowed out the BAS in Strategic Leadership by firing the two PhD credentialed faculty members that have run this program for years. What is the plan? How does this serve our students and community? How will the developing partnerships be affected? We believe that the workforce programs at Lake-Sumter will suffer due to this action.

Faculty Morale

The college has not conducted an employee satisfaction survey in years, since the beginning of Dr. Sidor's time as president. We decided to ask our faculty how they felt so a survey was sent out. We received 45 replies (there are less than of 80 of us), the results were very telling.

morale survey results

May Bargaining Update

The team met with the administation on May 20 and discussed evaluations, privacy, workers comp, and QM. There were tentative agreements on the waivers and contract distribution clauses. We hope to bargain Workload and Compensation as soon at the state budget is finalized..

Chapter Election Results

We held our chapter elections and each candidate won by acclamation without any competition from rival nominees. Beginning in August, our new officers are Jeremy Norton, President; Dr. Peter Olen, Vice President; Dr. David Walton, Treasurer; and Daniel Weber, Secretary. Paperwork was sent to the state office to make it official.

The American Resue Plan

The American Federation of Teachers (of which we are a member) sent out some details on the most recent congressional legislation and its affect. Read the Higher Ed Fact Sheet here.

Letter sent the the Board, February

The union sent a letter to to each board member via email. Read the February update here.

Bargaining Update, February

Some major progress has taken place over the last couple of months leading to tentative agreements on articles including Continuing Contracts, Faculty Rank & Promotion, Staff & Program Development, Sabbatical Leave, and Academic Freedom.

COVID-MOU Approved by the District Board of Trustees

It is now official, the agreed upon fall COVID-MOU was approved by both the faculty unit and, now, the District Board of Trustees. Work continues on the spring COVID-MOU, the faculty submitted an update with the same policies with new dates. We still have not gotten a reply to this proposal.

Bargaining Update, November

The Bargaining Team met virtually with the administration on November 17. Tentatively agreements were met on Safe Workplace, Workers Compensation, and Grievance & Arbitration. We exchanged articles on and discussed Academic Freedom, SPD, and Tenure, Rank, & Promotion. We also agreed to bring the spring COVID MOU to the next meeting which will be on December 16. .

UFF-LSSC has won the Platinum Award from the FEA!


Due to our high faculty participation and membership totals, our local bargaining unit won the Platinum Award from the Florida Education Association (FEA). We maintained over a 70% membership density for the entire year. There were only 4 other UFF chapters who matched our cohesion.

Letter sent the the Board, September

The union sent a letter to to each board member via email prior to the Septbember board meeting. Read the September update here.

COVID MOU Agreed at the Table

After nearly six months, our COVID Memorandum of Understanding has been tentatively agreed to at the bargaining table. Read the agreement here.

Bargaining News Article in the Daily Commercial

The Board's insistence on conducting in-person negotiations was covered by the Leesburg newspaper. Read the article.

Letter sent the the Board, July

We continued our monthly update to the District Board of Trustees. The union sent the letter to to each board member via email prior to the July board meeting. Read the July update here.

July 13 Bargaining Session

The Bargaining Team met with the administration on Monday for the first time in 4 1/2 months. We met in person, against our stated preference and insistence, for two hours. Only two faculty members were able to attended due to the medical and safety concerns of other members. We arrived wearing additional PPE and sat at our own separate tables in the Magnolia Room. About twenty-five faculty members joined us remotely via Zoom. At the session, we discussed the proposed Memorandum of Understanding and the pandemic's impacts on our working conditions, our counter on Tenure and FR&P, the administration's new procedure on leave, and an update on Compensation. See our Bargaining Proposals page for the documents.

Covid Bargaining

Letter sent the the Board, June

We continued our monthly update to the District Board of Trustees. The union sent the letter to to each board member via email prior to the June board meeting. Read the June update here.

Letter sent the the Board, May

The union compiled a letter concerning bargaining and related issues and delivered it to each member of the District Board of Trustees via email. Read the letter here.

Bargaining Suspended due to COVID-19

Public meetings were suspended by the District Board of Trustees. Both the April 3 and April 23 sessions were cancelled by the college and no alternatives were given, online or otherwise. The UFF-LSSC Executive Council submitted a request for impact bargaining and a Memorandum of Understanding. These were sent to the administration on March 23 to address the changes in working conditions due to the pandemic. We have not gotten any official reply to our request. Read our letter to Dr. Sidor and our proposed MOU.

February Session

Our long session at South Lake resulted in tentative agreements on 11.8 (parking), 11.9 (college mail), 11.12 (legal assistance), and 11.13 (Weingarten rights). We also made headway on seven others: 5 (Grievance), 8 (Evaluation), 11.1 (bargaining unit rights), 11.3 (safe workspace), 11.4 (personnel files), 11.6 (outside employment) and 11.14 (academic freedom).

Results from the January session

Some more progress was made at our January 28 session in Leesburg. Tentative agreements were reached on articles 6.4, 6.9, 6.12 (leave articles), and article 7 (Reduction in Force). We also continued to work on Evaluations, Grievance, and began a discussion on Work Load. See our Bargaining Proposals page for more information and detail.

Florida Legislative Session watchlist

Per UFF, here are the current bills to watch in the legislature as they commence the session:

HB613/SB1402 - the general Higher Education bill. The House version contains a clause requiring a survey about "academic freedom" on campus. The Senate version does not. There are some good things in this bill, and we hope that the Senate version can prevail.

HB6001 - Guns on Campus. No on the agenda so far in the House, and there is no companion bill in the Senate. Hopefully, it will go away.

HB819/SB 1320 - Fee relief for graduate students. We support this, as GAs regularly pay 20-30% of their stipends in fees. They should not have to pay to work. These fees inhibit our ability to invite the best and brightest, as, often, we cannot compete with stipends from other institutions. Hopefully, these will be heard in committee.

December 3 Bargaining Session Cancelled

The December 3 bargaining session, orginally planned at South Lake, has been cancelled by the administration. We were prepared to present several proposals and continue our progress, but the college's attorney sent a message that they were not prepared to meet.

Progress Made

The November 21 Bargaining session featured discussions on domestic violence related leave, court related leave, FMLA, worker's comp, and grievance and arbitration. Tentative agreements were signed on 6.10 Court Related Leave and 6.11 Domestic Violence Related Leave. Our next Bargaining Session will be on December 3 at 3:00 in South Lake.. The documents discussed can be found on the Bargaining Proposals page.

Bargaining Continues

The October 30 Bargaining session featured discussions on Grievance and Arbitration, Reduction in Force, and Faculty Evaluation. A tentative agreement was signed on Non-Discrimination after some word-smithing. Our next Bargaining Session will be on November 21 from 3:30 - 6:30 in the Leesburg boardroom. The documents discussed can be found on the Bargaining Proposals page.

Faculty United

October 8 Session

A Memorandum of Understanding concerning Program Managers was agreed and signed. We also discussed Union Rights , Grievance and Arbitration (the administration provided a new proposal), and we presented an update to Evaluation. The documents can be found on the Bargaining Proposals page. Our next Bargaining Session will be on October 30 at 3:00 in the Leesburg boardroom.

Bargaining Session in October

LSSC Attends the Fall UFF Meeting

The Lake-Sumter union chapter was represented by our President, Dr. Debby Hicks and Senator Jeremy Norton.

UFF Fall 2019 Conference

Bargaining Session on September 3 cancelled due to the hurricane

Our next meeting will be on October 8 at 3:00

UFF-LSSC Chapter Officers Elected

We selected our inaugural officers at the August chapter meeting. They are: Dr. Debby Hicks - President, Nora Rackley - Vice President, Amber Karlins - Secretary, and Dr. David Walton - Treasurer. Jeremy Norton will serve as Senator to the statewide organization.

Bargaining Session update for July 25

The Bargaining Committee met for four hours with administrative team on Thursday, July 25 and discussed their counters to Article 6 (Union Rights), Article 8 (Faculty Evaluations), and Article 12 (Tenure, Promotion, and Rank) in addition to our counterproposals on the previous articles. No articles were agreed to at the session as it became obvious that additional work and discussion will be required. Our next session will be on September 3 from 5:00 - 7:00 in SB 210.

Bargaining Session update for June 3

The Bargaining Committee met again with the administrative team on Monday, June 3 to discuss Articles 1, 3, and 5. They delivered counter-proposals which were discussed during the two hour meeting. We reached a tentative agreement on Article 3.3 Non-Assignment after a minor change.

Bargaining began on April 9

The Bargaining Committee went to the negotiating table, for the first time, with the administration and their representative, attorney Brian Koji, on April 9. Numerous faculty members attended this session as opening statements were made by the members of the about our purpose and expectations. We presented an extensive initial proposal including thirteen articles as well as a preliminary program manager section. It was an excellent start to the process.

Faculty Unit approves the UFF-LSSC Constitution

Our inaugural UFF-LSSC Constitution and Bylaws were completed and approved by the unit. Please review for details.

Lake-Sumter State College Faculty Votes to Unionize

Lake-Sumter State College PERC Vote

The faculty of Lake-Sumter State College (LSSC) has spoken and by a vote of 62-6 becomes the newest United Faculty of Florida (UFF) chapter. The vote count followed a three-week period of balloting by mail and was certified by the Florida Public Employees Relations Commission. In all, 90 percent of the faculty voted in the election.

"This is a very important day for the faculty of Lake-Sumter State College," said Dr. Debby Hicks, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences. "Today we stood up for our students, ourselves and Lake-Sumter State College. We are moving in a new direction, and I am proud and excited to be a part of this movement."

"I want to congratulate the Lake-Sumter State College faculty as it becomes the thirtieth UFF chapter, as well as the thirteenth Florida college, to become part of the United Faculty of Florida," said Dr. Karen Morian, President of UFF. "This vote clearly demonstrates that these dedicated faculty members understand that their collective voice is vital to improving their institution. Their drive to more effectively serve their students and the communities of Lake and Sumter Counties is inspiring. I and all the members of UFF welcome these faculty members as the United Faculty of Florida-Lake Sumter State College (UFF-LSSC). We are excited to add their passion, expertise, and professionalism to our combined efforts to improve higher education in the state of Florida."

2022 United Faculty of Florida - Lake-Sumter State College Chapter