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An Insightful Response to Lee Cataluna’s Column

aloha Lee,

I am very disappointed to read your position on the UHPA negotiations with the state in your column this past week.  The dispute over the contract is not as simple as a 5% pay cut. If you or anyone else in the media who are oversimplifying the issue would care to do more research on what you write (which the media has not been willing to do), you would more fully understand the true issues at stake.  You should read Professor Susan Schultz’ response to Greenwood’s memo to the UH community, or the text of Professor Jon Osorio’s speech at the teach-in on campus last week or listen to the numerous voices across our campuses expressing our collective frustration,  to gain a better understanding of what is really going on at the university, and what UHPA’s rejection of the contract offering is really about.

What is at stake here is not simply about a pay cut.  It is a moral issue that comes down to this: do we as a state, as a society, value education as we continually say we do, or don’t we?  Are we willing to “share the pain” of sacrificing for the good of education as a whole?  As the state “P-20” panel looks to ways to better integrate public education from pre-school through post-high, the state is demonstrating through their lack of funding and numerous cuts and take-backs that this is mere lip service aimed at winning re-election for savvy politicians, rather than real change and investment for our larger community.

As an UHPA member, I support the position my union has taken on our contract negotiations for several reasons.  First, I do not believe the Lingle administration has considered the interest of the state (including employees) in the contract offers, and I don’t feel pay cuts and/or furloughs are the best way to manage the current economic crisis.  The Lingle administration is trying to make UHPA accept a payroll lag as part of the new contract, which would result in a higher than 5% pay cut.  This, after UHPA took the state to court over the legality of the payroll lag during the last round of contract negotiations; the court, by the way, ruled in UHPA’s favor and against the state.  So why should we be forced to accept something which has already been settled?  There are also employee health benefit contribution shares and other benefits issues to be considered.

Second, I do not trust the UH administration, who is not being forthright with important issues such as retrenchment–the administration will not promise entire programs and positions will not be cut.  In addition, I am appalled at the horribly adversarial position the administration—led by a brand spanking new president, chosen from a dubious selection process, fresh from scandal and controversy at the institution she has come from, and good chums with the chancellor—has taken against the faculty.  Is this the best we can do for public education in Hawai’i?  Is this the kind of leadership the university and community it serves deserves? How does this position best serve Hawai’i?

Some people say that UHPA members are overpaid.  As a relatively new tenure track assistant professor in the humanities, I can honestly say I make nowhere near the $84,000 “average” salary being quoted in the media, and do not feel that constitutes overpayment in a career that requires a Master’s degree for some positions, a PhD for most.  By ridiculing our salary, you are also suggesting that public educators don’t deserve a decent wage for the work we do, which is an insult to all public educators and the education process; that is exactly what was intimated in your column, and through the state and UH administration’s mistitled, “last, best, and final” offer.  In addition, I don’t have any “cushy” consulting jobs on the side, as perhaps professors in selected fields, such as business or the sciences might have.  And really, if that is the case, isn’t that what professors—scholars, researchers, intellectuals and teachers—offer the communities we live in, our expertise we spent many hours and dollars in post-graduate education acquiring, so we can assist our communities, with our hard-earned expertise and knowledge, be better communities?  I don’t begrudge my plumber or lawyer or even elected official their salaries, because I value their expertise in these fields. Each profession has something valuable to offer society as a whole, if we are to be a vibrant, healthy community.

UHPA has been inaccurately portrayed in the media as pampered intellectuals, “haoles” from somewhere else.  There are a number of UHPA members—myself included—who are public school all the way, kindergarten through post-doctorate degree, born and raised in Hawai’i.  I dreamed of teaching at the University to work with local kids who I could relate to, who could have a teacher and mentor who they could relate it.  I come from a public school education on Kaua’i—where you and I were classmates at Kapa’a Middle School—where students have limited exposure to career possibilities, typically constrained to service industry jobs in tourism, the military, and until very recently, the plantation.  As a professor in a public university, I have the opportunity to teach and mentor many local students who, like me, struggled to even get to college, to break free from the “I am just a local kid, I am not smart and I am not worthy” mentality.  They struggle with their loyalty to family back home on Kaua’i or Moloka’i who don’t see why they are “wasting their time” with a college degree when they could be working in the hotel. Without a college education, I might ask, would you have had the chance to be a successful news anchor or columnist? Do you not feel your professors and mentors deserve to be fairly compensated for helping you and other hopeful students like you and I achieve our educational and professional goals?

Like most students, I worked long, long hours to even get to college.  I also paid huge costs in tuition, fees and books through the many years it took to obtain a BA, MA, and PhD.  I am still paying over $30,000 in student loans, and have colleagues in other fields—such as medicine, who are now teaching our young doctors in training—saddled with over $100,000 in school loan debts.  For those of you who are happily pursuing careers which don’t require the same level of education, perhaps if you had to spend the amount of time, money, and sacrifice we have had to invest to work at the post-high level of public education, you would have more understanding.

You and I are classmates.  We are the same age, and maybe have the same dream—to live and work in our homeland, the place we were born and raised and love.   I am 43 and divorced, struggling on one paycheck to pay rent and bills and just survive.  I can adjust to a 5% pay cut, if it were just that.  I cannot afford another estimated $200 a month in increased health benefit costs.  I cannot afford to lose one pay check in a payroll lag.  I cannot afford to put my trust in a state administration who continues to devalue public education at all levels.  I cannot afford to blindly follow a university administration who aligns itself with the state, effectively thrusting itself in an adversarial position against faculty, students, and ultimately, against public education.

This is not about a 5% pay cut.  This is about the foundation of democracy.  It is about the ethical stance of our state leadership on this issue.  Is public education a right, or a privilege?  For those of us who have dedicated our lives and careers to public service in the realm of education, it is the most basic of rights if we still value a free society based on democracy—the participation of all citizens for our collective betterment.  The United States continues to slip further behind in education than other western countries, and this is tied to our political and economic success.  Hawai’i’s educational ranking is also poor. I have traveled to third world countries with high illiteracy rates, where education is a low priority for the general population, where democracy is non-existent and only a selected few enjoy economic success.  Is this Hawai’i’s future as well?

I am completely dismayed that you chose to pit one level of public educator against another.  UHPA members have much sympathy for public school teachers and the deplorable conditions many of them work in: some of us have our children in those classes, some of our best friends and family members are HSTA members, some of us have even been HSTA members.  Some of us have worked, and continue to work, to support public education at all levels; we volunteer our time to our children’s schools, PTA, sports events, and so on.  Some of us don’t have children, but we do our part too—by supporting fundraisers, sewing costumes for the school play, making lei for our nieces’ and nephews’ May Day programs, volunteering to teach or coach.  In the past, I’ve been a literacy mentor in elementary schools on windward O’ahu.  Currently, I volunteer my time to teach writing in afterschool programs on the Wai’anae coast, driving on my days off from my home in Kane’ohe, trying not to look at my gas gauge, swallowing the cost with the usual teacher manta, “it’s for the kids.” As much as the general public paints us as ivory tower elites who don’t know what’s going on in the “real world,” we are part of communities across the islands—and yes, some of us live in Kalihi, in Wai’anae, in Waimanalo and Palolo valley.

University teachers do teach fewer classes than primary and secondary educators, not because we are the pampered elite, but because we work at a research university.  We are not paid to just teach classes.  We are paid to conduct our research, to run programs, to mentor and advise students, and for a host of other professional duties.  In the UH system, we have nationally and internationally recognized professors, researchers, and programs in many areas, from sciences to the arts, which demonstrate our excellence and commitment to these fields.  High profile projects, such as GMO or astronomy or sustainable technological advances make the news, but areas such as literatures of Hawai’i and the Pacific, drama, music, indigenous languages and area studies are also top notch,  due in part to the time, effort, research and mentoring that we as faculty do.

Many of us teach overload courses to make ends meet.  We allow extra students into our classes, or allow students to sit in; some class sections can easily have 36 students, others 60 to 100 or more.  While this means extra work for us, we do so to help students get through their programs faster (especially in light of tuition increases). Most, if not all of us serve as student advisors in our programs; some of us serve as graduate faculty and mentor the next generation of scholars and leaders in our fields, many of whom are Hawai’i students, and who will live and work in Hawai’i, contributing to our social and cultural fabric of life here as much as they will to the economy as employed, tax-paying citizens.   Students from other states or countries also contribute to the political, cultural, social and economic ties created through or fostered by their time in Hawai’i as part of the UH ‘ohana.  Many will serve as word-of-mouth ambassadors for the state and the university, with positive results for both.

Moreover, UHPA is not immune from the same shoddy teaching environment faced by other public educators.  The recent condemnation of Gartley Hall is but one small example (and one entire department, psychology, is now homeless).  I started my time at UH Manoa as an undergraduate student in the mid-1980s.  A few new buildings have appeared on campus.  Some of them (like the POST building) were so poorly funded they remain unfinished years later.  Many of our remaining classrooms and facilities have seen few if any upgrades, and typically they are only cosmetic ones.  The classrooms I teach in contain broken equipment—including tables and chairs for students—grossly stained carpets, cracked or broken plaster, windows inoperable due to rust or other mechanical malfunction.  Much of the furniture is older than me.  For decades the elevator in our building (Kuykendall Hall) has left disabled students stranded in, or locked out from the building, which is not ADA compliant.  It is only a matter of time before a lawsuit from serious injury or loss of life happens, and just hoping it won’t occur should not be par for the course.  We have an inefficient air conditioning system which breeds mold, resulting in a completely wasteful system in which classroom windows MUST be left open—wasting thousands in energy dollars—because closing them creates unsafe air quality, and hazardous respiratory conditions.  It is very difficult for me to accept that salary cuts are necessary, when every day I go to work I see the incredible waste of money poured into inefficient and ineffective facilities, which linger year after year.  Elsewhere on campus, the Hamilton library roof has leaked for years, resulting in some collections perpetually covered in plastic tarps, and moldy air quality so bad I can’t be on the second floor longer than 15 minutes or an asthma attack will commence.

UHPA is an easy target for public pressure and ridicule to accept the contract, because our last contract included a substantial 11% raise, which you bring up. But you failed to mention that this raise was to make up for inadequate levels of pay from previous contracts, and was an attempt to attain parity with similar educational institutions on the continental U.S.  With the proposed current pay cut, combined with increased employee health benefit contributions, the payroll lag, and taking inflation into account, we will not be losing just 5% of our pay, we will be economically worst off than before our last round of contract negotiations. That we are the ire of tax payers’ money is equally insulting—are we not taxpayers ourselves, who contribute to the economy?  Will employee recruitment and retention go the way of the “low bid contract,” where only those willing to take the most meager salary are left to teach? It may be the most cost effective for the state, but is that how we build quality public education?

UHPA is an easy target because post-secondary education is not viewed to be as valuable as primary and secondary education, despite many economic indicators that a high school diploma is no longer enough for sustained success in the work force.  However, without support for public education at all levels, including for HSTA, we will be even less relevant, because our students at the secondary level will be even less prepared for college.  This is the first step to eroding democracy. It is also outrageous and ironic that while our Hawai’i-born president calls upon educational institutions across the nation to increase school hours, Hawai’i is severely cutting back instruction days in the public schools, slashing pay and benefits for school employees, demonstrating in every possible way that public education in Hawai’i is not valued by our political leadership here.

You are correct that this is a very real economic crisis, one that we—as tax payers and citizens, not just university professors—are equally concerned with. And our union negotiators—as well as lawmakers, other union representatives, business leaders and other smart people in our community have all said the governor’s position is not the only way to successfully deal with this crisis.  Lingle has been presented multiple options to choose from to help ease the economic crunch; balancing the state budget on the back of public employees and education is unfathomable.  It is immoral and wrong.

You conclude your column by saying that we are smart people.  We are very smart people, and our overwhelming rejection of the current contract offering demonstrates that.  The community applauds us when we find breakthroughs in cancer treatment, or discover a way to eradicate fruit flies, or save papaya crops from damage, or when their children obtain their hard earned diplomas from our institution.  Maybe, just maybe, these kids will be saved from a life of hard labor in a sugar or pineapple field, from scrubbing hotel toilets or counter help at the fast food drive through.  Maybe they will be able to earn a descent wage and be able to stay home in Hawai’i, and not feel forced to move to another state, like my sister, and many, many others who can no longer to survive here.  Maybe, with a college education, they will be the next scholar to find a cure for cancer, find the breakthrough to make solar and wind technology more viable, and electric cars a closer reality.  Maybe, just maybe they will be the next generation of politicians and civic leaders and media commentators who will finally understand that state budgets cannot be balanced by sacrificing public education.   UHPA professors may not garner the most sympathy when compared to other publicly employed educators.  But the last I checked, the average primary and secondary classroom teacher was not on the cutting edge of these kinds of discoveries which benefit our communities and our economy.  Rather, they were hard at work doing their jobs—educating our children.  At the same time, we have been hard at work doing ours—educating and mentoring our future political, economic, and community leaders, conducting our research, finding breakthroughs, contributing new knowledge to established fields, creating or investing in new ones.

Recently, I find myself contemplating leaving education, and possibly leaving Hawai’i.  After struggling for 20 years with getting my own education, specializing in Hawaiian and Pacific literature, and running a journal to promote Hawaiian writers (‘Oiwi), I’m not sure I can take it anymore.  I never thought I would even consider leaving Hawai’i, but as a professional educator working in this field for most of my adult life—the culmination of which was supposed to be my professor position at UHM—I have never felt so devalued by an employer.  Sometimes I feel that all I struggled through to achieve an education was worthless—sometimes I wonder if I would have been better off staying in my hotel job just out of high school, because maybe I could have bought a house here, something I have already given up on as an educated professional.  But I realize that this is how those who don’t value education want us to feel, so they will continue to impose their own will on our society, shaping it to suit their political agendas and budget priorities, rather than do the hard work they were elected and chosen to do—serve their communities, and support public education.

Let’s be clear: the dismantling and erosion of public education is the dismantling and erosion of democracy itself.  Public education is a right, not a privilege. A good educational system must be funded in all aspects.  A good education should not be just for those who can afford private institutions.  We must have leadership who not just say they support education, but actually make painful choices to lend it full support.  Or, we must be prepared to concede that true democracy and the betterment of our community is no longer our common goal.   As a journalist who values our community, as a writer who has garnered success from working within and writing about the unique values and character of our Hawai’i communities, as a local girl who is a beneficiary of public education, and as a friend who I grew up and shared experiences with, surely you can understand that.

me ke aloha,
ku’ualoha ho’omanawanui

Faculty Respond to Honolulu Advertiser Columnist Lee Cataluna

Click here to link to Lee Cataluna’s column.

RESPONSES:

Dear Ms Cataluna,

I read your commentary with interest since I am an UHPA member and an instructor at Hawaii Community College.

I wonder if you have ever visited our campus. My department is housed in a portable building with no running water. The chairs my students sit on have “territory of Hawaii” stamped on the underside. We teach in buildings that are old, falling apart, and termite-ridden. We have no spiffy student lounge or campus center. We have faculty working out of closet spaces. The students sit on benches recycled from the local morgue while waiting for their next class. Why? Because we have no money, we never have, and any money we do have, we put into the people that keep the place running and to serve our students. There are 15 sections, full to bursting point, of remedial reading classes. There are 18 sections of remedial writing. We have classes for to 4th grade level readers because the failure of public schools. These are students who have nowhere to go and no future. We are their last stop. There are no ivory towers on our campus. We are well aware of the economic situation. It is all around us. I don’t know where you got the average salary figure from, mine is quite a lot less than the average. I don’t know where you got the impression that we don’t work hard or care about our teaching or our students.

I would like you to take a realistic view. Look at where our state is, look where we need to go. What resources do we have? It is the same as at our campus, it is our people, our faculty and our students. We already lost out on the infrastructure, and now you want to dismantle what little we have left, our people, our only resource left. Where is that going to leave our island community?

I would like to know, how would you feel if your employer gave you an offer of a lower salary, reduction in benefits, and no guarantee that you would keep your job? Would you at least have the expectation that you could negotiate? Do you always accept the first offer when you negotiate? Do you do research and try to figure out other options, or just roll over and take whatever is on the table?

I probably would be willing to take a cut, and I know that some of my colleagues would do the same if we knew that people and programs would not be cut. We did not get that promise–did you know that? Do you care? Don’t we have the right to a fair bargaining process? Are you denying us that? Are you really taking such a primitive view of this budget situation that all you have to do is add and subtract and hey presto you have a budget?   Unlike the DOE, the UH system brings money into the state coffers and to the local economy. You would like to see that brought to a halt? How much more struggling do you want to see our Big Island community undergo, once jobs are cut and students are turned away? The money is there, the leadership is not. That is my reality.

Sherri Fujita
Hawaii CC Instructor

Dear Ms. Cataluna,

As I am sure you’ve heard already, there was considerable shock among the UH faculty and students in response to your column today.  There are so many vital issues involved in the faculty vote that I would have hoped you would have researched beyond the President’s clearly PR message to investigate the other side.  I am forwarding a video of our student/faculty teach-in last week.  Please know that although the salary averages promologated by the media are hugely inflated no faculty member I have spoken with would have any objection at all to “sacrificing” 5% of our pay for the good of the university and the state.  Given the increases in health premiums, the amount is actually more than twice that percentage.  Nevertheless, we have a broad faculty concensus, that the contract proposed by the University Administration, if accepted, assumes our support for irreparable cuts in faculty and programs that would gut the university.  Many of us have years of involvement in university politics that makes this abundantly clear.  This is what we are working so hard to prevent.  We want to protect education in this state, and so far we are the only ones standing up for it.  You can question our motives if you like–though, as you know, most of us are do-gooders and tree-huggers and our knee-jerk response was certainly to “help-out.” But at least take into consideration what we say we are trying to do before blindly enforcing an easy public view that we are lazy and money-grubbing in our protest.  I hope you know better than that.

Joan D. Peters

Professor of English

Dear Lee Cataluna-

I read with horror your alarmingly ignorant column this morning. It’s too bad you were not at last week’s Teach-In on campus. You would have learned that when we add up the proposed pay-roll lag, 5% salary reduction, and increase in employees’ contribution to health care, what most UH faculty face is closer to a 14% reduction in wages. You are a smart woman, so Linda Lingle and the UH administration must be doing a good job of spinning the issue if they can get you to accept the 5% figure so unquestioningly.

When you mention the salary increases in the last contract, you neglect to note that those were negotiated by the administration because the faculty was substantially underpaid relative to peer and benchmark institutions. Even after those raises, we remain underpaid by these same comparisons in ways that do not even account for the greater cost of living in the islands.

Here’s a suggestion: when the UH administration puts out an average salary statistic, ask them to break it down further.  You’ll find that those teaching the majority of UH students are making no where close to $84,000.

When you praise school teachers for not expecting “taxpayers to bleed more money to keep them unaffected by the recession,” and advise that the “university faculty cannot expect that their unwillingness to take a pay cut should then be borne on the backs of people who are already hurting,” you forget that the faculty are also among those very taxpayers and that we too are hurting. Why do you so blithely accept Lingle’s short-sighted reasoning that public workers alone—rather than all Hawai‘i residents— should be shouldering the burden of the state’s shortfalls? Why are you so willing to degrade public education, when we lag behind other states at the k-12 level in educational indicators, and when the work done at UH actually fuels the economy in this state? Like the DOE, the university has taken year after year of devastating cuts, leaving many programs and most of the buildings—at UHM in particular—in dangerous disrepair. You think we aren’t hurting over here? You think all we care about is what we imagine we deserve?

Here’s a suggestion: Talk to the Psychology professors whose classes, research projects, and offices had to be relocated when Gartley Hall was found too unsafe for occupation. Talk to the students sitting on the floor in classrooms that won’t accommodate the many students that a professor has accepted over the class enrollment limit because we don’t want to hurt the progress of students towards their degrees. The truth is, public education has been taking more than its fair share of the hits all along. Our vote against the contract is not selfish; it is asking the state to wake up and see that public education is at a breaking point in this state, one from which we may never fully recover. We have to stand up for public education because clearly the UH administration will not.

When you write that “[t]he image of a college professor, teaching a few courses each semester for students who want to be there and taking consulting gigs on the side is not quite as compelling,” you reinforce a widespread misperception of what university teachers actually do.

Here’s a suggestion: Why doesn’t the Honolulu Advertiser assign a reporter to shadow a few faculty members and report on the work we put in hour by hour, day by day, to provide quality education and economic fuel for the citizens of this state?

You say, “Raising taxes on an already struggling community to pay salaries that average $84,000 is an insulting suggestion.” I’m a tenured professor who has worked at UHM for 15 years, and I don’t make anywhere near that “average.” I am insulted by your suggestion that I am not part of that struggling community. I am insulted by your suggestion that this state can afford to sacrifice public education, at all levels, without serious repercussions that will prove more costly to address long after the state’s financial outlook has improved.

Here’s a suggestion: Demand that the governor do away with furlough days so that Hawai‘i won’t have the dubious distinction of being the state with the shortest school year in the nation. Tell the negotiators to take retrenchment off the table and see what the faculty response to that would be.

More than anything in your column, I am insulted by the way you pit the UH faculty against teachers in the DOE. This divide and conquer approach serves no one, least all of the students of this state.

Laura E. Lyons
Associate Professor and Graduate Director
Department of English-UHM

Lee Cataluna plays a strong hand when she talks about the plight
of Hawaii’s K-12 teachers. About that plight, here are some anecdotal
numbers from my home.

My daughter, who taught at Castle High School last year, worked
in a tiny, dark, dusty, termite-infested, un-air-conditioned classroom. The fan that kept the room barely habitable was her own present to
the taxpayers, as was the printer she used for class materials.
Paper for printing and copying is strictly rationed at Castle, and after a
teacher has used her quota she has to buy her own or do without.

When my daughter was in school herself, I didn’t see much of
that sad shabbiness first-hand. Like many (most?) Manoa faculty, I sent
my daughter to a private school: Punahou, where the teachers live
quite well, thank you. But most of the Advertiser’s readers probably
know better than we do about how their children’s teachers live.
So yes, I went into a state of status annoyance when I figured
out that Coach McMackin’s 7% pay cut is roughly equal to my entire salary. But my daughter’s salary at Castle was only about a third of mine. And yes, on school nights she too went to bed late and got up early.

Jonathan Morse

 

Just the Facts about Tuition Increases

Historically, as the Hawaii legislature increased state funds for higher education there was an expectation that student tuition would also rise, but those funds were returned to the state as general revenues. During the Cayetano administration, the governor and the legislature moved to allow the UH to keep its tuitions, so that any increases would increase UH’s total budget.  The goal was to establish a fixed percentage of the state budget allocated to the UH system, but allowing the UH budget to grow through increased tuition.  At the time, UH was receiving about 13.5% of the state’s budget, but returning tuitions.  The legislature and the governor felt there was no incentive for the Board of Regents to raise the tuition rates, especially on out-of-state students, thus the plan.  Earl Anzai, the then Director of State Department of Budget & Finance stated that if the change were made, the percentage of state revenues to UH would not decline.  In the first year, after the law was approved, the legislature reduced the UH general fund revenues by the exact amount of the student tuitions collected.  The UH’s share of the state budget fell below 8%. The future scheduled tuition increases were to try to recover the fall in state revenues allocated to the UH.

The recent comments about tuition increases linked to faculty salary adjustments is a matter of coincidence not a response to the UHPA contract ratified in 2003. The salary increases over the six year time was a method used to make up for two years of zero salary increases because of the Governor’s unwillingness to reach an a collective bargaining agreement with the faculty and an effort to close the significant salary gap between UH faculty salaries and the salaries paid to faculty at comparable institutions on the mainland.

It was not until the 4th year of the contract (2006) that larger raises went into effect reflecting a desire by the Governor, in 2003, to be able to plan ahead for these future costs.  The UH Board or Regents agreed to pick up a portion of those salary increases from its own funds in the last three years, at the request of the Governor, over the objection and warning of UHPA that such an agreement would take away the state’s responsibility to fund salaries through general state appropriations thus shifting the funding of salaries to exclusively UH sources of revenues.  It is that agreement that has brought tuition increases into a direct relationship with underfunded state commitments to its faculty.

Faculty and Students Tell BOR “You Need to Listen!”

Professor Jonathan Osorio’s Remarks to the BOR:

Our concerns:

That past, present and perhaps future cuts to the operation of this university will lead to a permanent reduction of its stature in the academic community.

That the authoritarian and unilateral handling of this budget crisis by our administration, in the form of a single last, best, final offer, clearly signals that faculty will be minimally consulted if the university adopts a plan to retrench.

That any process of retrenchment, which does not fully involve faculty will simply fail to protect the unique character and academic strengths of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, while stranding undergraduates and graduate students.

That the response of the administration and the silence of the Board of Regents to the budget cuts signals an unwillingness to publicly advocate for this university’s support in these difficult times, advocacy thus being shouldered at this point, by faculty and students.

That the state’s plan to deal with its budget difficulties needlessly cripples public and higher education in Hawaii, and that these institutions, more than any other are necessary for the present and future livelihood of our people.

Our proposed remedies:

  • That the Board of Regents (BOR) set aside time/day to listen.
  • That the BOR declare that there will be no retrenchment.
  • That the BOR and the administration join with faculty and students to pressure the legislature and the governor to restore UH funding to 07-08 levels.

UHPA and HGEA Negotiations Updates

UHPA presented a counter proposal to the administration.

HGEA members are being asked to ratify one contract change of two year duration with the contract expiring 6/30/2011. The furloughs will constitute 18 and 24 days over the next two fiscal years. Each agency or employer has a separate memorandum of understanding to implement the days. For UH HGEA employees there will be a 5% salary cut.

There will be no increase in the employer contribution to EUTF premiums. Employees will pay all rate increases. HGEA, UHPA, and UPW will be pursuing an aggressive legislative strategy to confront the EUTF funding problem.

Layoff language will remain the same as contained in the expired contract.