Some UH staff still on duty during break


POSTED: Sunday, December 27, 2009

The libraries are closed. Classes are not in session and most of the University of Hawaii's unionized office staff are on paid leave.

But there are still a lot of people working at UH-Manoa and some other campuses during Christmas and New Year's break.

“;For the remaining staff, it's like Santa's workshop,”; said David Hafner, the UH-Manoa associate director of facilities.

United Public Workers employees, mostly maintenance workers, are still reporting to work and have a variety of projects lined up, Hafner said.

UPW workers were waxing floors (since there's little foot traffic during the break), fixing up offices, and preparing to move the Outreach College and Psychology Department before the spring semester starts, Hafner said.

Researchers and staff continued to work on projects in the School of Ocean and Earth Science Technology, Biomedical and other research buildings.

Administrators, who took 6 percent to 10 percent pay cuts without additional days off, were working in buildings without air conditioning or from home.

Even some Hawaii Government Employees Association workers were still on the job in the student services office and finishing grades, which were due at UH-Manoa at 4 p.m. Tuesday.





        What's open and closed at UH-Manoa

        » Hamilton and Sinclair libraries
        » Campus Center
        » Art Gallery


OPEN (except for Christmas and New Year's
        » Most student affairs offices
        » Most research buildings
        » University Health Services
        » UH-Manoa Bookstore
        » Lyon Arboretum
        » Waikiki Aquarium


Instead of furloughs twice a month, HGEA employees at UH agreed in October to take a 5 percent pay cut and received paid leave days on the four days before Christmas and New Year's and Spring Break.

The same offer was made to the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly, which represents faculty.

But UPW and the faculty union workers have not yet reached an agreement with the state and UH and are still required to come to work unless they take vacation.

HGEA members who are working during final two weeks of the year—including campus security, computer support and some staff—will take other paid days off.

Earlier in the week, some 220 schoolchildren played on Maile Way for a Na Pua No'eau enrichment program to encourage gifted and talented native Hawaiian students to attend college.

At Snyder Hall, contractor Glenn Hazama was installing fire alarms.

“;It's a lot better with no students going in and out of the hall and no clutter,”; Hazama said.

“;We're working,”; said UH English professor Craig House, who held student conferences earlier in the week and is editing a 300-page journal published by the UH-Manoa Center for Biographical Research.

“;This is the busiest time of year,”; he said.

Masters student Trish Tolentino said the biggest drawback of the campus closure is the loss of access to the library.

“;I think it affects a lot of Ph.D. students,”; she said. “;I was planning on going to the Hawaii Pacific collection and I can't do that research.”;