Dr. Musto argued that this change in drug benefit replaced the carrot of saving money on co-pays by using mail order purchase of drugs with the stick of establishing a list of drugs that are required to be purchased by mail because they are deemed to be maintenance drugs for chronic conditions, such as, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or pain.  However, these drugs are also used to treat acute illness where you might need an immediate prescription filled.  Further, the consequences of this change will have significant impact on local pharmacists’ ability to remain economically viable, especially in rural areas, and on the island of Moloka`i and Lana`i .  The purchase of drugs is only part of the treatment process, and having access to personal pharmacists is essential to balancing an individual’s drugs and also encouraging the continuation of drug treatments.  There is a broader public policy to consider, where it’s supporting the local economy or maintaining a high level of patient care.  The mail order requirements, for all cases, puts a special burden on employee-beneficiaries.  Finally, the new program with InformedRx will not coordinate benefits for those with dual coverage from a spouse, therefore, the co-payments for the drugs will have to be made with the order to InformedRx and then the employee-beneficiary will have to submit a request for payment from the co-insurer, e.g., HMSA or Tri-Care.  A significant number of public employees from the state and counties, in addition to faculty at UH, have written to UHPA objecting to these changes.

NEA’s Strong Opposition to the Taxation of Health Care Benefits

Congress has returned from the July 4 recess and expects to work over the next five weeks on final versions of health care reform legislation.  The House is looking to pass their health care reform legislation before the August recess.  The outlook for passing legislation in the Senate by that time, however, is slim to none. 

Senate: Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT) – who is leading the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee’s reform effort in Chair Edward Kennedy’s (D-MA) absence –  indicated at the end of June that the goal is to merge the HELP and the Senate Finance Committee bills by the August recess and hold a floor vote after Labor Day.  Senator Dodd is reportedly now temporarily out due to a death in the family and Senators Harkin (D-IA) and Mikulski (D-MD) are shepherding the HELP bill.  Senator Mikulski said she expects the HELP bill to be finished by July 12.  However, she does not think the Senate bill will reach the floor before the August recess; she hopes the bill will get to President Obama for signature by Thanksgiving.  The HELP bill includes a strong public option.

The Senate Finance Committee (Chair Max Baucus (D-MT)) is still working on a finalized health reform bill, which is expected to include health insurance cooperatives as an alternative to a nationwide, government-sponsored public health insurance plan option.  It might also (or exclusively) include a “trigger” option, which would produce a public plan only if private health insurers fail to provide sufficient competition.  Committee members have reached agreements on many proposals but remain divided on the government-sponsored health insurance option, how to finance reform (i.e., taxing employee’s health care benefits or taking other finance-generating steps), and whether employers should be required to cover at least part of the cost of workers’ health care. 

As reported in the media, Senator Reid’s involvement has slowed down the taxation of benefits as a revenue source and reinforced the inclusion of a public plan.  This will delay action in the Finance Committee, which will need to find alternative revenue sources.  A direct income tax on high income payers is being mentioned as a possibility.  It is possible that the Finance Committee may still try to keep the tax exclusion on the table with a much higher cap, but Senator Reid’s intervention has definitely made taxing benefits a tougher task for the committee. 

House: The House’s Tri-Committee bill is, for the most part, a good bill and includes a public health insurance plan option.  Details on how the House bill would finance health care reform have not been formally released, although we have heard that it may do so through a value-added tax and a tax on sugary drinks and alcohol, among other revenue-raising provisions.  We do not expect the House to support taxing health care benefits.

NEA Activities:
NEA’s three priorities are 1) support for quality, affordable health care for all, 2) opposition to the taxation of health care benefits and 3) support for the inclusion of a government-sponsored public health insurance option. 

NEA is very active in the health care debate.  Our Government Relations, Collective Bargaining, Public Relations, and Campaigns and Elections Departments are working closely together to ensure a coordinated Association message and strategy.  We are playing a leading role with health care coalitions that help promote our agenda, developing policy proposals, mobilizing members, and promoting our interests in the legislative process.  NEA staff and leaders are currently meeting with key people at the White House, in the House of Representatives, and in the Senate.  On Monday, July 13, NEA President Dennis Van Roekel will join other labor leaders in a meeting with President Obama to discuss health care reform.  President Van Roekel will reiterate NEA’s position, emphasizing NEA’s continued strong opposition to any taxation of health benefits.

Delegates at the NEA RA wrote 8,000 postcards to the Senate with NEA’s message.  The postcards will be hand-delivered by NEA.  In addition, delegates sent over 1,300 e-mail messages to Congress on health care reform.

Click to view the NEA brief outlining their opposition to taxation of benefits. 

April 2009 BOARD NOTES



The 35th UHPA Annual Membership meeting was held prior to the Board’s meeting at UH-Manoa.  At that meeting, the results of the Board of Directors’ election were announced.  They are:

Leeward Community College………….. James De Ste Croix, Professor of English

Maui Community College
……………….. Vincent Linares, Professor of English

UH-West Oahu…………………………….. Adrienne Valdez, Labor Education Specialist, CLEAR

UH-Manoa………………………………….. Martha Crosby, Chair & Professor of Information & Computer Science

UH-Manoa………………………………….. Paulette Feeney, Program Specialist, Outreach College

UH-Manoa………………………………….. Jonathan Osorio, Professor of Hawaiian Studies

UH-Manoa………………………………….. L. Thomas Ramsey, Professor of Mathematics

UH-Manoa………………………………….. John Wendell, Professor of Accounting

Hawaii CC Director John Cole will be retiring from the University of Hawaii at the end of spring semester.  To enable UHPA to find a replacement for his unexpired term on the UHPA Board of Directors, Director Cole submitted his resignation effective April 26, 2009.  Directors thanked him for his contributions and service to UHPA with a parting gift and bid him fond aloha. 

Upon the resignation of Josh Cooper, the Bylaws state that whoever is elected will begin serving immediately.  Therefore, Vincent Linares was officially welcomed to the UHPA Board of Directors. 

Directors welcomed NEA Higher Education Director Sally Pestana.  She is planning to meet with Hawaii’s congressional leaders the early part of May, and she asked Directors to let her know if they wished her to pass on any stories or concerns to them related to issues facing their campuses. 

Executive Director J. N. Musto shared with Directors some of the topics that were discussed in a meeting with UH-Manoa Chancellor Virginia Hinshaw that morning.  The Chancellor and Vice Chancellor for Administration, Finance and Operations Kathleen Cutshaw have been invited to address faculty at the UH-Manoa bargaining update meetings on April 29th and 30th. 

There was lengthy discussion about program cuts, health benefits, the Governor’s ideas about furloughs and the state budget. 

The UHPA Executive Committee took only one action on behalf of the Board of Directors.  They adopted the staff and attorney’s recommendation to appeal the grievance case of a UH-Manoa faculty member to arbitration challenging a denial of a special salary adjustment request based on salary inequities. 

UHPA President Chernisky conveyed the Board’s appreciation to Directors Brenda Cartwright and Adrienne Valdez for their work on the UHPA grants for the Hawaii Great Teachers Seminar.  They reported that two UHPA grants of up to $1,500 were awarded to Kristi Ayers and Barbara Briscoe, both of Leeward Community College, to attend the Hawaii Great Teachers Seminar this August. 

As a result of the survey responses from faculty members and feedback from Faculty Representatives, Chair Richard Nettell informed Directors that the Faculty Representative Committee reports the following suggestions:  1) There should be more informational meetings, perhaps on every campus. 2) There should be training workshops for Faculty Representatives so they have a better understanding of their role and responsibilities.  3) The composition of the Primary Academic Units should be reorganized or expanded.  4) The Faculty Forum should be open to include more faculty members and not be limited to Faculty Representatives. 

Chair Dennis Vanairsdale reported that the IFAC is currently working on UHPA’s budget for the next fiscal year, which will be presented to the Board for adoption in June.  They also reviewed the lobbyist contract of Radcliffe and Associates.  Directors unanimously passed a motion to approve the consultant contract with Radcliffe and Associates to provide lobbying services for a one year renewal beginning July 1, 2009, at the current monthly retainer of $5,000 plus applicable excise tax with modifications to further describe specific activities.  

Directors reviewed and unanimously passed a motion to approve the proposed Standing Rules and Procedures Governing the Nomination and Election of the UHPA Directors as amended on the floor. 

N&E Chair Sharon Rowe reported that in response to the Board vacancy created by the resignation of John Cole, she emailed the Hawaii CC Faculty Representatives to see if anyone would be interested in being a candidate. The Officer of Elections will notify the active UHPA membership of the procedure to be followed for placing an individual on the ballot. 

Directors reviewed and passed a motion to adopt the Standing Rules for the Elections of Officers and Members of the Executive Committee as amended on the floor 

Directors unanimously passed a motion that all standing or operating rules approved prior to the adoption and approval of the Amended and Restated Articles of Incorporation of the UHPA and the Amended and Restated Bylaws of the UHPA, are hereby rescinded this date.  The Board of Directors, from time to time, may adopt new operating and standing rules as needed which are consistent with the Amended and Restated Bylaws of the UHPA.  It was explained that rescinding the rules was the most expedient way to deal with obsolete operational rules that are still in effect.  The motion pertains only to standing and operational rules, and no policies of the Board were eliminated. 

The UH Alumni’s annual awards dinner on May 7 at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel Hawaii Ballroom will be honoring UH President David and Mrs. McClain.  Directors unanimously passed a motion to approve the purchase of a standard table in the amount of $1,500 for the annual UH Distinguished Alumni Awards Dinner. 

The election of UHPA officers were conducted at this meeting.  The Standing Rules and Procedures adopted earlier were followed.  Elected to office are: 

Office of President……………………… Duane Stevens, Professor of Meteorology, UH-Manoa 

Office of Vice President……………….. Dennis Vanairsdale, Professor of Business Education, Kapiolani CC 

Office of Secretary…………………….. Karla Hayashi, Instructor of English, UH-Hilo 

Office of Treasurer…………………….. Adrienne Valdez, Labor Education Specialist, UH-West Oahu 

Except for the President, who serves an initial two-year term, all officers immediately begin serving one year terms.  

Following the Standing Rules and Procedures adopted, the slate of newly elected officers was placed on a ballot for election to UHPA’s Executive Committee.  All officers were elected to serve on the Executive Committee. 

The Executive Committee is comprised of seven members.  The nominations and elections for the remaining three at-large seats were conducted.  Elected to serve with the four UHPA officers on the Executive Committee are:  Brenda Cartwright, Associate Professor of Kinesiology & Rehabilitation Science, UH-Manoa; Paulette Feeney, Program Specialist, UH-Manoa; and Vincent Linares, Professor of English, Maui CC.  Executive Committee members’ terms are effective upon their election and they serve until the next annual election.#

2009 Social Security & Medicare Fact Sheet

Attached is the 2009 Edition of the Social Security and Medicare Fact Sheet prepared by BNA (Bureau of National Affairs) for NEA’s distribution and use.  The Fact Sheet contains a summary of benefits under the Social Security and Medicare program.  The Medicare section includes information on eligibility,  coverage, and premiums for Parts A and B.

UHPA Seeks Contract Extension

During the term of this Agreement, the parties, each on the call of the other, shall meet to bargain in good faith on matters covered herein. In the event that agreement cannot be reached on these matters, the current language of the Agreement shall continue in force and effect and Article XIX, No Strike or Lockout, shall control, the actions of the parties.”

The denial of the grievance means that UHPA and UH will immediately seek arbitration. Efforts are underway to expedite this process so that a decision can be rendered as quickly as possible to determine the status of the contract and its continuation.

In the interests of fully protecting the continuation of the contract UHPA has filed a prohibited practice with the Hawaii Labor Relations Board. This prohibited practice seeks to stop the University or Governor from unilaterally altering the terms and condition of employment of the collective bargaining agreement. The complaint charges the employer with abandoning the contract by refusing to implement the Duration clause. 

The Labor Board is asked to recognize the pending arbitration and defer to its’ completion and to order the parties to maintain the Agreement during this time. If there is no deferral to arbitration, the Labor Board shall issue an order to maintain the Agreement in full force and effect until the charges of contract abandonment are resolved.

As this situation changes faculty members will be informed via this web site.


The Governor has failed to negotiate in good faith refusing to accept contract offers and solutions presented by every public sector union. The response is a consistent “No” with a threat to face either furloughs or job loss for a failure to accept the draconian approach the Governor demands. Her position means that 20% of Hawaii’s public employees cover 92% of the deficit. The Governor needs to return to the bargaining table with an attitude adjustment prepared to seriously consider alternatives offered by the unions.

The Legislature has taken the first step to address state employee concerns by adopting a balanced budget that did not require furloughs or layoffs of state employees.

Now the Legislature needs to take further steps to address the state’s deficit by returning in special session designed to tackle revenue issues. These include using moneys from the rainy-day and hurricane relief funds. Other options could be temporary increases in the general excise or income tax.

All four unions, UHPA, HSTA, HGEA, and UPW, continue to work together to seek negotiated settlements for each respective contract using a variety of options from court challenges to prohibited practice charges with the Hawaii Labor Board. All unions believe that the best outcomes are brought about by a negotiated settlement not the unilateral actions of Governor Lingle.

EUTF Board Has Approved the Extension of the Current Health Benefit Plans with the Same Revised Rates (as July and August) through September 30, 2009

The EUTF has attempted to save $11 million by switching the drug rider coverage to a company called informedRx, for maintenance drugs, e.g., high blood pressure.  This change has created a number of questions concerning both coverage and maintenance of coordination of benefits with HMSA affecting co-pays.  The EUTF has scheduled a series of meetings to try and answers these questions.  Attached is the EUTF meeting schedule and a fact sheet.

UHPA is working with Trustees John Radcliffe and Carl Daeufer to address the assumptions that were made by the consultants to the EUTF that recommended the changes.  We will continue to monitor the situation.

The special limited open enrollment period for hardship cases ended June 12, 2009.  Changes made during this period will be effective July 1, 2009 through
September 30, 2009.  

Action Alert!

On Tuesday, June 30, 2009 there will be a Unity Rally from 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. at the State Capitol Building supporting all unions to demonstrate support in achieving fair and equitable contracts. UHPA will be participating and encourages all faculty members to attend the event.  Bus shuttles will be available from various sites on Oahu. Click to view the Unity Rally Flyer (Oahu).

The Unity Rally on the Big Island is scheduled for June 30th from 4:30 – 5:30 p.m. at Bay Front (by Kamehameha Statue).  Click to view the Unity Rally Flyer (Big Island).


  • McKinley HS,
    Main Lot (Departs 3:30, 3:50, 4:10, 4:30 p.m.)
  • Kawananakoa MS,
    Funchal St. (Departs 3:30, 3:50, 4:10, 4:30 p.m.)
  • Kakaako Park,
    Main Lot (Departs 3:30, 3:50, 4:10, 4:30 p.m.)
  • University of
    Hawaii, Sinclair Circle (Departs 3:30, 4:00, 4:30 p.m.)
  • Kapolei Hale,
    Main Lot (Departs 4:15 p.m.)
  • Leeward
    Community College, Main Lot (Departs 4:15 p.m.)
  • Windward
    Community College, Student/Public Parking Lot
    (Departs 4:15 p.m.)


  • Royal
  • Central
  • Capitol
    Basement–metered parking until 4:30 p.m.
  • City
    Hall via Alapai St.–paid parking
  • Kalanimoku
    Basement–metered parking
  • Iolani
    Palace–metered parking until 4:30 p.m.
  • Department
    of Health–metered parking until 4:30 p.m.
  • Alii Place