HGEA members at UH, colleges face pay cuts of up to 19%


POSTED: Saturday, August 15, 2009

The more than 2,000 Hawaii Government Employees Association members working at the University of Hawaii and community colleges are targeted for pay cuts of up to 19 percent, according to documents filed for next month's union-management arbitration hearings.

The documents, available to HGEA members on its private Web site, report that the employer's (University of Hawaii) final position is a wage reduction of 14 percent, effective July 1, 2009, and “;an additional 5 percent wage reduction effective July 1, 2010, dependent on state general fund restrictions.”;

Because the Lingle administration is not responsible for personnel at UH, layoffs are under the purview of the Board of Regents.

Other HGEA-represented bargaining units have been offered a 14 percent pay cut or some form of pay cut and furloughs by the Lingle administration.

The union proposed no pay raise for the HGEA members at UH, but added that it would consider “;a supplemental agreement to be negotiated for the purposes of implementing a furlough plan.”;

Earlier in the bargaining, the HGEA had proposed one furlough day a month for the next two years, which would translate into a 5 percent pay cut.

The other state worker union at the UH, the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly, is not involved with the binding arbitration hearings. It reports that the UH administration has asked the UHPA faculty to agree to a 5 percent pay cut this year with another 5 percent next year if there are further restrictions in state funding.

In other state worker bargaining news yesterday, the HGEA has filed a complaint with the Hawaii Labor Relations Board about Gov. Linda Lingle's threatened layoffs.

The union says the layoffs, or reductions in force, “;violate our collective-bargaining agreements and her own policies and procedures.”;

The union argued in a statement published on its Web page that Lingle's layoffs must be made because of lack of work or funds, according to the state contract, but the state is using state money to pay private contractors to do work done by workers slated for layoffs.

The state released yesterday a summary of its proposed layoff list. It shows that 1,144 state employees are represented by unions, while 50 are excluded or exempt positions.

Lingle has already said that nonunion state workers will be subject to a three-day-a-month furlough plan.

Included in that group are the 93 state public defenders.

John Tonaki, the state public defender, said his office is preparing for furloughs.

“;There hasn't been an executive order issued yet, but we are preparing for our attorneys to be furloughed,”; he said.

The Office of the Public Defender, which represents the indigent accused of a crime, will take off three Fridays a month as a furlough. The only exception would be if an attorney is involved in a jury trial. Those lawyers, Tonaki said, would take the furlough days when the trial is completed.