Profs call arbitration preferable to pickets
The UH faculty says it would not strike if a panel cleared logjams
The University of Hawaii faculty union is proposing in contract negotiations to give away its right to strike for a form of binding arbitration, University of Hawaii Professional Assembly Executive Director J.N. Musto told the Board of Regents last week.
UHPA, state and UH negotiators began talks in May on a new contract. The current six-year contract, which gave professors an average 31 percent raise, expires June 30.
Before the last contract, UHPA went out on strike for 12 days in 2001 before reaching a two-year deal.
"We don't believe it is in the interest of either the faculty or the state of Hawaii to face that consequence," Musto told regents Thursday. "I think this offers stability."
The regents got an update on contract negotiations from administrators during a closed-door session.
Musto testified during the public-comment portion of the meeting.
Making a decision soon on the proposal is "critical," Musto said, to establish ground rules for the negotiations.
Under the no-strike proposal, which would apply only to the current contract negotiation, if either side declares an impasse or if there is no settlement by Feb. 1, both sides would submit complete contract proposals to a three-person arbitration panel.
Each side would pick one arbitrator, and the two arbitrators would select the final panel member.
The arbitration panel would select one of the two complete contract proposals.
"That puts the burden on each party to write something reasonable," Musto said.
Arbitration would ensure that a deal is reached in time to be funded by the Legislature, Musto said.
UH President David McClain said that, other than confirming negotiations have begun, he had no comment on the UHPA proposal or the progress of the talks.