Wednesday, April 14, 1999

Kamehameha faculty,
Bishop Estate reach
tentative contract

By Helen Altonn


Kamehameha Schools faculty members have reached agreement with their employer on a proposed contract that addresses primary concerns about grievance procedures, free speech and confidentiality.

"The frustrating part was it took us approximately 10 months to get back to what our original proposal was," Larry McElheny, Faculty Association president, said today. "This thing could have probably been resolved in two or three sessions."

"On the upside, we do now have our first contract and we just hope the estate doesn't make the same mistakes next time and that we can turn this into a collaborative, rather than an adversarial relationship, and build on it."

Kekoa Paulsen, Kamehameha Schools Bishop Estate spokesman, said, "We're pleased that we've been able to reach a tentative agreement with the faculty. Hopefully this will be taken as a signal for the institution to move forward and taken as a sign of continued collaboration and agreement."

An informational meeting is scheduled April 21 on the contract. Faculty members will vote on it April 28.

Teacher-negotiators at a news conference last month denounced what they said were adversarial, punitive, controlling and delaying tactics by their employer -- the Bishop Estate.

Attorney Dean Choy, representing the faculty union, said the parties reached agreement in principle Thursday.

A National Labor Relations Board hearing was scheduled yesterday on charges of unfair labor practices filed by the faculty union against the estate. However, the hearing was postponed after the charges were negotiated, he said.

One involved not allowing teachers to meet on campus -- a right allowed under the proposed contract.

Another issue was a pay raise other employees received in August but not the faculty. The contract gives them the pay raise retroactive to August.

The third charge dealt with removal of a $1,750 annual stipend for grade-level chairpersons. They will receive that retroactively to August.

Choy said there are contract provisions that will allow the union to grieve any overly broad designation of information that is confidential or proprietary before it can be used to discipline anyone.

The first contract is the toughest, Choy said, adding that this agreement is cause for relief and celebration. "There's a hope that a true healing process can begin and a measure of trust that is embodied in this contract ... will be responsibly discharged over the next school year."

The contract will end in June 2000, and negotiations will begin in March on the next one.

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