Hawaii Health Care Conference for Union Members – September 13, 2013

2013 Hawaii Labor Health Care Conference (the first-of-its-kind collaboration between Hawaii’s Labor Unions and Kaiser Permanente Hawaii) is scheduled for Friday, September 13, 2013, from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel
For additional information on this conference or to register, please go to:  http://www.hawaiilaborandhealth.com/

Faculty Thought Leadership Forums a Success!

With nearly 100 participants between both campuses, the Faculty Thought Leadership Series started off with great energy and great ideas. We’re busy planning out the remaining tour which will come to a campus near you.


We capture 24 ideas on how to make UH a better place to teach, research, and serve the community and posted them online.  All participants get a login and password to contribute and everyone can view the content posted.


We invite your feedback and review on our Facebook page where you can also view some photos from the UH West O’ahu event!


Senate Seniority is the Great Equalizer


What was Senator Inouye’s most powerful tool in the United States Senate?  Certainly, his influence stemmed from his personal ability to bring individual Senators together to reach compromises.  However, the Senator’s ability to influence his fellow Senators became more powerful as his years of seniority in the Senate accumulated.  The Senator himself always recognized this unique aspect of the Senate, and he used it to make people listen and respond to what otherwise would be the small voice from an island State.

Among the States of our Union, seniority in the United States Senate is the political “great equalizer” between large and small States.   Our form of democracy is constructed around two very different legislative bodies; the House and the Senate. Every State, regardless of population size, is entitled to elect two Senators, while the U.S. House of Representatives is based on population size; the higher the population, the more elected Representatives from the State.  The influence in the Senate is more about the clout of an individual senator, and that clout increases with more Senate seniority.

Seniority in the U.S. Senate has some clear features that are important to understand.  First of all, seniority in the Senate comes from the Rules of Senate and can only be earned in the Senate.   It is “non-transferable,” meaning that a member cannot take years served in the US House and apply them to the Senate.  Also, Senators develop seniority through continued service on a particular committee.  That in turn can lead to a chairmanship if a member is from the political Party in power.

Hawai`i benefited from the extraordinary amount of seniority Senators Akaka and Inouye held, and then lost that advantage when Senator Akaka retired and Senator Inouye died.  Hawai`i began to rebuild seniority in the Senate with the election of Senator Brian Schatz, followed by the election of Senator Mazie Hirono.  Presently, Brian Schatz is Hawai`i’s most senior Senator; he was sworn into office in December 2012.  He has a significant seniority “head start” on all the other members of the Senate elected in 2012 that were sworn in after him.  This head start works in our favor and shouldn’t be lost.

Measuring this advantage, Senator Schatz now ranks ahead of 15 other U.S. Senators.  This head start, and his own energy, led to his being only one of two new Senators to be appointed with a chairmanship of a subcommittee.  If we re-elect Senator Schatz in 2014, he will move up at least seven more steps on the seniority ranking in the Senate, and possibly higher.

Senator Schatz serves on three committees that are strategically important for Hawai`i (Energy and Natural Resources, Commerce, and Indian Affairs) and building seniority in these committees is important for us as well.  His advancement pays off for Hawai`i by ramping up issues that are critical to us like clean energy, which Schatz has fought for since he was a State legislator.  And that he has stepped up on Native Hawaiian matters is essential for the betterment of the whole State.  It is about moving the power of ideas that might otherwise not see the light of day, such as clean energy and building an Asian-Pacific education and research center in America’s island state, where his Senate seniority will make a difference for our State.

By the rules of the Senate, if Representative Hanabusa won the Senate seat in 2014, she would lose these advantages and would begin at the bottom of the seniority ladder in the Senate, despite her years of service in the U.S. House of Representatives.  There may be some public misunderstanding here.  However, there shouldn’t be.  Again, years of service in the House do not transfer to the Senate.  So the big loser in the seniority ladder would be the small State of Hawai`i, which would go back to the bottom.  Furthermore, any committee assignments she would be appointed to would be unknown, and there is no practical likelihood that a new Senator would receive a subcommittee chair, as Senator Schatz did.

The University of Hawai`i Professional Assembly (UHPA) has endorsed the election of Brian Schatz in 2014 because he is a young leader with a record for excellent judgment, who, in a short time, has built relationships and taken the right positions in the United States Senate.  The way elections work out in our State, Senator Schatz has to run for re-election to the Senate in 2014, and, if he wins, again in 2016.  We expect a spirited and informative election in 2014, and building Senate seniority for our small State should be a central issue in the debate ahead and a critical factor for the public in voting for a candidate.


Workplace Time to Express Milk

“The Right to Time and Place to Express Breastmilk” notice may be downloaded from the OHR website under HR Documents / Federal & State Posters http://www.hawaii.edu/ohr/docs/breastmilk.pdf.

Please note there is a federal law on expressing breastmilk that is similar to the state law.  Information on the federal law was provided in 2010. 

Should you have any questions, please contact 956-8643.

UHPA Introduces New Technology to Respond to Demand for Increased Transparency and to Make UH a Better Institution

The program is designed to not only facilitate discussion among faculty, but also to serve as a way for UH administration, legislators, media and the general public to have a peek at what faculty are saying.

Under the direction of UHPA Board President David Duffy, the faculty union is stepping forward to facilitate these discussions to explore ways to make UH a better place to teach, conduct research and to provide community service.  Peter Kay, UHPA’s chief technology officer, has been providing advice on the best technology to enhance communications.

“We have a front-line perspective of what’s working and not working in the classrooms, for our students, and for our campuses,” said Duffy, a professor of botany at the University of Hawaii-Manoa since 1998. “Faculty are critical to the success of the University of Hawaii system. Admittedly, we’ve abdicated our role as champions and advocates of the UH to those who may not have had the best interests of the UH in mind.”

The Faculty Thought Leadership Series will be a campus-wide town hall meeting for faculty, featuring presentations by Duffy and others as well as opportunities for questions and answers and sharing suggestions and ideas.

UHPA will be videotaping these sessions and airing them on its Youtube channel for faculty to view after the event at www.youtube.com/uhpahawaii.

During each Faculty Thought Leadership Series session, UHPA will also capture faculty suggestions and post them on Ideascale, a tool used by other leading universities across the country. This will allow other faculty to join the conversation while the session is in progress or continue the online discussion after the session. UHPA members will be able to log in at uhpa.ideascale.com and others will be able see what faculty are saying.

Annual School-Based Flu Vaccination Program

The Stop Flu at School, Hawaii’s school-located vaccination program, is an innovative partnership between the State of Hawaii Departments of Health and Education, the Hawaii Association of Independent Schools, and Hawaii Catholic Schools. This program is endorsed by the Hawaii Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Hawaii Association of Family Practitioners. The Stop Flu at School program aims to improve the health of Hawaii’s keiki, families, and kupuna by preventing the spread of influenza (flu) through vaccination.

Through the Stop Flu at School program, all children attending participating elementary and middle schools are offered FREE flu vaccine at school, during the school day. The program is voluntary for schools and students.  Visit http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/flu-hawaii/SFAS_Schedule/ for the list of participating schools and their clinic dates.  Vaccinations will begin in October 2013.  Stop flu at school consent forms due 9/6/2013!

For more information about the Stop Flu at School program, visit http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/flu-hawaii/stop-flu-at-school/ or call 2-1-1.