Florida Poly faculty the latest to join statewide faculty union
LAKELAND — By an overwhelming 38 to 6 vote, the faculty of Florida Polytechnic University have elected to become the newest chapter of the United Faculty of Florida.
The union now represents faculty members at all 12 of Florida’s public universities.
The vote means faculty get crucial leverage at the fledgling university, associate professor David Foster said in a statement.
“Faculty came to this brand new institution to redefine STEM education and build a new university from the ground up,” said Foster, who teaches computer engineering. “Collective bargaining unionization ensures that faculty are an important voice at Florida Poly from the very beginning.”
He said faculty and the Board of Trustees can now work together “as equals under state law” to push for the best possible education for the university’s students. Foster also emphasized the benefits of stability and legitimacy he said will help the university attract and keep top-notch faculty.
Florida Poly said in a statement that it respects the faculty's decision.
"Accordingly, we look forward to working with the faculty and the union to make sure Florida Poly students receive the best education possible,” the statement said.
Union president Jennifer Proffitt offered her congratulations in a statement.
The move to unionize isn’t about confrontation, she said. It’s about making sure faculty get to shape the university.
“This vote is based on the premise that the faculty, who are the cornerstone of this institution, should have a collective voice in determining what is best for the university and the students it serves,” she said.
The union represents more than 20,000 faculty members across the state.