New Legislative Protocols

The State Legislature has instituted new protocols for the 2021 Legislative Session.  Starting with their offices are officially closed to the public.  All meetings, hearings, floor sessions will be conducted virtually.

All House and Senate Hearings can be easily located on our webpage, UHPA At The Legislature,  Hearings on Demand.  These hearings are broadcast via YouTube and show previously held hearings.

The Legislative calendar has been modified by one week, reducing recess days from thirteen to nine.

For full details of new protocols click on the link above.

Regent Jan Sullivan Attacks Academic Freedom

Academic Tenure is Essential to Preserving Academic Freedom

Freezing Tenure? Faculty Must Keep Their Guard Up in Contract Negotiations

With the current contract between the University of Hawai‘i and the UHPA Faculty coming to a close at the end of June 2021, negotiations for a successor agreement are continuing. During this economically challenging time, we should brace ourselves for difficult negotiations, with Employer proposals that seek to threaten the very core of academic life.

The UH Board of Regents meeting held on Thursday, Jan. 7, may be an indication of what’s in store for the future — unless UHPA Faculty members remain vigilant and take proactive measures to intervene.

In a discussion of the actions UH has undertaken to address the state’s budget deficit, University of Hawai‘i Regent Jan Naoe Sullivan said “freezing tenure” should be considered. She told UH President David Lassner that she believes the collective bargaining agreement has been a hindrance in the past and that the current economic climate presented an opportunity to introduce the concept of suspension of tenure that she proclaimed other universities have followed. (Sullivan has brought up similar challenges to the concept of tenure several years back, but that proposal was justifiably shot down.)

A Brazen Attack – Biting The Hand That Powers Your Company

This ongoing, brazen attack on the fundamental principle of academic life was being live streamed statewide and immediately set off a flurry of text and email messages among UH Faculty. Some Faculty were aghast that Sullivan, chief operating officer of Oceanit — which relies heavily on the UH for research to further her company’s business interests — apparently does not understand, recognize nor appreciate the value of a university system. We can only speculate why Sullivan seems hell-bent on insisting tenure be frozen before her term as a Regent ends this year and Gov. David Ige appoints a successor to her seat.

A Lone Voice

Fortunately, there were strong indications Sullivan was once again a lone voice, an outlier among the Board of Regents on this issue. UH BOR Chair Ben Kudo, attempting to appeal to her legal mind, delicately reasoned with her that tenure can only be questioned if a faculty member commits acts that violate the law or contract. Lassner suavely appeared to acquiesce, pointing out tenure suspensions have only been applied at small, private colleges, but also disturbingly suggested perhaps a “targeted” approach to tenure suspensions at the UH. The other Regents remained noticeably silent, perhaps because they understand, recognize, and appreciate the value of tenure and did not wish to embarrass her or themselves.

Let’s work with, not against each other

We hope these kinds of theatrics in the public eye do not represent the sentiment of the entire Board of Regents. Drama like this has no place in negotiations at a time when the state’s dire situation requires all us to work together — rather than against each other. These ill-conceived notions breed distrust and suspicion. They become distractions to moving us forward to meaningful and respectful discussions. We can and must do better when each of us at the table shares the same goals and aspirations for the University of Hawai‘i and appreciates how much higher education and research contribute to our community and our State.

 

 

Image credit:

DRAWING OF PEOPLE WHO CUT DOWN THE BRANCH ON WHICH THEY SIT is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. Image has been resized or cropped from original along with minor text changes.

State of Hawaii launches “AlohaSafe” COVID exposure notification app

From their website:

AlohaSafe Alert is a free, voluntary new service that helps slow the spread of COVID-19. It is the State of Hawaii’s official exposure notification app and has been developed in partnership with the Hawaii State Department of Health.

Voluntary

You control whether or not you receive notifications (you can opt-in/opt-out anytime). Notifications are only triggered if minimum thresholds of exposure are met.

Private

The app does not track your location. It anonymously keeps track of devices you’ve been in close contact with for the past 14 days. Google and Apple cannot see your identity, nor can anyone who receives an exposure alert should you test positive for COVID-19.

Free & Simple

Anyone can download the app to their smartphone at no charge.
The app is a safe way to alert you to potential exposure to COVID-19 and help stop the spread of the virus.

 

 

Collective Bargaining Standing Report going forward

This will be the default collective bargaining and retirement incentive plan update unless otherwise published

To reduce unnecessary traffic and redundancy of information from UHPA, you can assume that this report will be the same every week and therefore UHPA will only be publishing news and updates that are substantively different from the following weekly status items: 

  • Mid-term bargaining is on hold until further notice.
  • Governor Ige intends to delay furloughs until at least July 1, 2021.
  • Negotiations over a successor UHPA/BOR Unit 7 Agreement will continue until January 31, 2021 before the statutory impasse date of February 1, 2021.  
  • The UHPA Negotiations Committee and the Employer continues to meet every Monday.
    • We cannot share details about any negotiation specifics.
  • Retirement incentives:  UHPA has not received a formal response from the State’s Chief Negotiator Ryker Wada, Governor David Ige, and the State’s Attorney General over the draft MOU.  
    • We continue to remain hopeful that the Employer revisits this matter for further review and consideration.  

If there are any changes to the above or other items of interest, they will be published and sent out on the Monday report email newsletter.