Tuesday, April 24, 2001

Pay terms
disappoint many
UHPA members

Voting continues this
week on a contract for
university faculty

By Rosemarie Bernardo

The tentative contract agreement between UH professors and the state is not receiving overwhelming support. Following a meeting yesterday where contract details were explained, some professors and lecturers said they deserve more pay.

Strike logo During the meeting, University of Hawaii Professional Assembly board member Jerome Comcowich passed out flyers to colleagues entreating, "Proposed Settlement Pathetic, Vote No!"

"The message that is being sent here by the state seems to reflect that we have less value to the university and the community," said Comcowich, a specialist with the School of Ocean & Earth Science & Technology.

Joel Fischer, a member of UHPA's board of directors and collective bargaining committee, said, "We did very well on the provisions of the settlement."

"But the overall percentage, an average 10 percent, is so low that it's almost disgraceful for the faculty," said Fischer, adding the proposed pay increase will make it difficult to recruit or retain professors.

Nearly 100 members of the bargaining unit attended the meeting yesterday in Kuykendall Auditorium at the University of Hawaii-Manoa.

Professors at all 10 campuses in the UH system will be voting through the week whether to ratify or reject the new contract offer.

The 13-day strike ended last Tuesday night with a proposed two-year contract offering an across-the-board raise of $2,325 for professors in the first year, a 6 percent raise in the second year and a 1 percent merit raise each year.

Lecturers would receive a 3 percent increase each year. But Kapa Oliveira, a lecturer for the Hawaiian language program for the past five years, left the meeting disappointed.

"The contract isn't all that we had hoped for," said Oliveira. "It translates into virtually nothing. It really just is a token offer for lecturers."

Oliveira plans to confer with other lecturers before making a decision to vote for or against the proposed agreement.

In addition to the flat raise for the first year, professors will receive $1,155 on June 15 to complete the spring semester, including working weekends and nights. The university will also provide total health fund premiums for the month of April.

Fischer said the fee is solely to reimburse faculty members for time lost because of the strike. "We're all trying to finish the semester for the kids."

UHPA Executive Director J.N. Musto said if the tentative agreement is not ratified, negotiators will have to go back to the bargaining table.

"We will not resume a strike," he added.

>> HSTA Web site
>> UHPA Web site
>> State Web site
>> Governor's strike Web site
>> DOE Web site

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