Contract rejected; UH, union head for mediation


POSTED: Friday, October 09, 2009

The University of Hawaii faculty union says its representatives and management will meet with a federal mediator Wednesday after members voted overwhelmingly to reject a contract offer that called for a 5 percent pay cut and other concessions to help UH deal with budget cuts.

The vote “;disappointed”; UH President M.R.C. Greenwood. “;The highest priority of our offer was to protect students. There would be no loss of instructional days and the resulting salary savings would have helped minimize program cuts and layoffs,”; Greenwood said in a news release.

University of Hawaii Professional Assembly Executive Director J.N. Musto, at a news conference yesterday, called for restoration of funding for the university and for a tax increase to support public education.

“;This is an issue of public policy,”; Musto said, adding that Gov. Linda Lingle and the Legislature must decide how much of a priority to give to education.





        A total of $198 million is to be cut from the University of Hawaii budget for fiscal years 2010 and 2011.



» Legislature: $92 million


» Governor: $106 million




How UH planned to handle the cuts totaling $198 million:


» $86 million: Tuition, other funds, program reductions and other savings


» $44 million: Federal stimulus funds


» $44 million: Salary reductions **


» $12 million: Payroll lag *


» $8 million: Energy savings


» $4 million: Executive pay cuts


* The payroll lag will push one paycheck into the next fiscal year and give a one-time savings this fiscal year.


** The salary reductions include anticipated salary cuts and furloughs from Hawaii Government Employees Association and United Public Workers members. But most of the cost savings would come from University of Hawaii Professional Assembly members.


Source: UH budget briefing on Aug. 27




“;We do not believe — nor do we believe that the evidence demonstrates — that our faculty are overpaid,”; Musto said.

Senate President Colleen Hanabusa said a tax increase is on the table for lawmakers. But she said it is too early to tell whether it will pass or whether there will be enough votes to override a veto.

Lingle reiterated yesterday her opposition to a tax increase.

“;From my perspective, this is a time for everybody to pull together — everybody give up a little something so the state can get through this difficult time,”; she said. “;I think whether any union approves or doesn't approve of a contract, it doesn't create any more money for the government, so that means something else has to be done.”;

UH officials had been planning to save $22 million this year through worker salary reductions and another $12 million through a payroll lag that would push one paycheck into the next fiscal year.

University officials have said they are looking at further budget cuts this spring that will likely mean hiring fewer lecturers, possible layoffs and fewer and more crowded classes for students.

Musto said the assumption that faculty must take a pay cut to save classes for students is “;a false choice.”;

“;We are willing to negotiate a settlement that will address the problems they (university officials) are facing if it meets the needs of the faculty as well,”; Musto said.





        About the organization:

UHPA represents about 3,700 faculty members at Manoa, West Oahu, Hilo and the seven community college campuses. Members include instructors, professors, librarians, specialists, extension agents and researchers.


UHPA has been the bargaining agent for UH faculty since Nov. 1, 1974.


The union last went on strike in April 2001 for 13 days.


Union members cast ballots and voted 1,968-315 in an online poll to reject the “;last, best, final offer”; by the UH administration, which included a 5 percent pay cut, a payroll lag and increased health insurance payments.


UHPA said average faculty salaries at the Manoa campus range from $58,439 for an instructor to $133,611 for a full professor. Average salaries at Kapiolani Community College range from $52,892 for an instructor to $88,380 for a professor.


;[Preview]    UHPA Opposes New Contract Terms

University of Hawaii professors have overwhelmingly rejected proposed terms of a new working contract.

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