NEWS RELEASE – UPDATE – August 10, 2011

With a vested interest in the outcome of the Hawaii State Teachers Association’s prohibited practice complaint filed with the Hawaii Labor Relations Board, the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly filed a “Petition for Intervention” with the HLRB this afternoon. The petition, filed on behalf of UHPA by Tony Gill, attorney with Gill, Zukeran & Sgan, will allow UHPA to comment on the legal aspects relating to this case.

“It’s important to note that we are not commenting on the facts leading up to the State’s unilateral implementation of its last, best, final contract offer to HSTA, but we felt it was imperative to share our concerns and obtain clarification about the circumstances that determine whether and how an employer may unilaterally implement a last, best, final offer,” said J. N. Musto, Executive Director and Chief Negotiator of UHPA, which represents nearly 4,000 faculty members statewide in the University of Hawaii system.

The outcome of this HLRB case will have implications for UHPA and other unions. Unlike some other labor unions, if there is an impasse in negotiations between UHPA and the State, faculty members would be allowed to strike and would not be subject to interest arbitration. Based on the petition filed today, UHPA will seek to ensure the faculty’s right to strike will be not be affected by the HLRB’s decision.

Although UHPA’s current contract does not expire for another four years, UHPA is taking a precautionary measure to avoid costly and time-consuming litigation in the future. “Any decision reached in this case may form the blueprint for the same tactic when UHPA’s current contract expires in 2015,” the petition noted.

The specter of having a last, best, final offer imposed on faculty members is still fresh in the minds of UH faculty members. In 2010, the University of Hawaii attempted to unilaterally impose its last, best, final offer for the faculty, but both the UH and UHPA reached an agreement before any court or arbitration decisions were necessary.

“We simply want to ensure there is a bargaining table that fosters good-faith negotiations. We recognize the UH and faculty are critical to our state, and the last thing anyone wants is to impact students and the quality research that takes place at our university. We want to ensure the impasse resolution process enhances a spirit of collaboration and mutual respect,” Musto said.

Effective July 1, 2011 Employee Premium Contributions for EUTF Health Plans Increased

1.  The employee’s portion of their health premiums were increased as a result of the negotiated agreement by HGEA for its bargaining units which lowered the employer’s percentage from 60% to 50%.

2.  UHPA’s agreement requires parity with all other bargaining units and specifies that employer’s contribution for faculty members shall be at the highest rate agreed to for any other bargaining unit.

3.  The HGEA agreement also shifted the plan coverage that would be used to determine the employer/employee split of 50/50 in premiums.  In the past, the employer’s percentage was based on the “predominant” plan which normally would have been the higher premium 90/10 fee for service plan, whether HMA or HMSA.  This amount would then be applied to the employee’s choice of health insurance coverage, even if selection cost less.  Consequently,  the change to the employee paying 50% of the premium of the insurance selected led to an astronomical increase in the employee’s contribution to EUTF’s high deductible medical plan (>153%). 

4.  Up until July 1, 2011, the employer paid the entire administration cost of the EUTF, referred to as the administrative fee.  Now public employees pay 50% of the administrative fee which also caused an additional increase in the amount deducted from each person’s paycheck. 

5.  The increase in premium rates, the reduction in the employer contribution to 50%, and the employees paying 50% of the administrative fee all took place on July 1, 2011.  Public employees enrolled in the high deductible or Kaiser Basic plan were given an opportunity to switch medical plans during a special open enrollment period during July, but those selecting other plans were not allowed to change coverage.  The next open enrollment period for all public employees will occur in the fall and changes will be effective January 1, 2012. 

6.  Under the state law that created EUTF, the union’s cannot bargain the premium levels or coverage of specific medical or insurance plans.  Those decisions are the exclusive province of the EUTF Trustees. 

7.  UHPA has vigorously objected to the increases in employees’ cost of health insurance coverage, especially without giving public employees an opportunity to change their plan selection.  UHPA has also objected to the employer shifting a portion of the cost of the administration of the EUTF from the employer to the employee.   

8.  To assist in understanding the change in premium, UHPA has prepared a chart which shows the costs and the increases for each of the medical plans.

9.  For more information, go to the EUTF website by clicking on the following links below:

Employee notice distributed to employees either by email or printed and attached to pay statements.

Frequently Asked Questions with Answers.  If you have any questions that are not addressed on the FAQs, please email the question to the EUTF (eutf@hawaii.gov).

Rates showing old and new employee amounts. The increase will appear on the employees’ mid-July pay statements. 

Email from Karen White, NEA Fund

There is a targeted email to some 450,000 NEA members asking for a PAC contribution to assist in the recall election in Wisconsin. There are two questions which have arisen regarding this solicitation. UHPA is not listed as an affiliate of the NEA and the site does not indicate that it is secured. NEA has been contacted regarding these issues.

Pride At Work Hawaii To Host LGBT Labor Leadership Training On Kauai

With the support of a grant from the McElrath Fund for Economic and Social Justice, Pride At Work Hawaii will train participants in developing organizational and leadership skills to effectively raise and address LGBT issues in the workplace and labor unions.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, mahu and intersex union members as well as allies – union and non-union – who are concerned about equality and economic justice for all are encouraged to attend.

For more information, contact Pride At Work Hawaii at prideatworkhawaii@hawaiiantel.net or call (808) 543-6054.

Click here to download the flyer.

Click here to get the LGBT Leadership Training application.

Emergency Homeowners’ Loan Program (EHLP)

The mortgage assistance covers past-due mortgage payments, as well as a portion of the homeowner’s mortgage payment for up to 24 months (up to $50,000).  Again, the deadline for homeowners to submit a Pre-Applicant Screening Worksheet to a participating counseling agency is this Friday, July 22, 2011.

You can go to www.FindEHLP.org for more information as well as access to the pre-screening application form.

ACTION NEEDED BY JULY 6 – New EUTF Guidelines for Adult Dependent Children Health Benefit Coverage

 

On April 1, 2011 all State and county employees were informed that their adult dependent child up to age 26 could be added to their medical and prescription drug plans effective July 1, 2011 except if your adult dependent child was employed and eligible for medical and/or a prescription drug plan through his/her employment.  Effective July 1, 2011 this exception will be removed.  Your adult dependent child up to age 26 who is employed and eligible for medical and/or a prescription drug plan through his/her employment may now be covered under your plan for medical and/or prescription drug. You must complete and return an EC-1 form to your personnel office by July 6, 2011.

Click here to view the memorandum for more information regarding coverage and possible rate changes.

 

 

UHPA Contract: New Salary Provisions Effective July 1, 2011

 

The UHPA contract provides that all faculty members subject to the 6.67% temporary base salary reductions that occurred January 1, 2010 will have their base salaries restored to the December 31, 2009 rate plus any subsequent promotions or salary adjustments. Minimum annual salaries will be in full effect for faculty members subject to these base salary standards.

Faculty members hired between January 1, 2010 and June 30, 2011, whose salaries are paid from general, special, revolving or appropriated federal funds, shall have the 5% temporary base salary reduction restored on July 1, 2011.

There is an increase in Rank 2 minimum annual salaries which will be adjusted from $45,000 to $50,004 effective July 1, 2011.

Nine-month faculty members will have their base salaries restored at the start of the 2011-2012 academic year.

The lecturer fee schedule, non-credit fee schedule and faculty receiving additional credit hour compensation will have rates reset to those in effect August 1, 2008.

For the specific contract provisions go to Article XXI, Salaries.