UHPA Responds to Governor’s 20% Pay Cut Announcement

Aloha Bargaining Unit 7 Faculty:

Yesterday, Governor David Ige announced a unilateral decision to impose a 20% pay cut for State employees, effective May 1, 2020. (First responders will receive a 10% pay cut.)

Many UHPA members have expressed their outrage and confusion. We want to reassure you that the Governor has no legal authority, right, or privilege to unilaterally negate or disregard our current Unit 7 contract. While he and other State officials may attempt to impose this pay cut as part of his emergency proclamation, we want to make it clear that imposing a 20% pay cut on May 1, 2020 or any future date is not allowable.

As part of our existing contract, changes to existing wages, hours, and working conditions of Unit 7 faculty members require the Governor to negotiate in good faith and obtain mutual consent. To date, this has not occurred or even begun.

While the Governor may have attempted to soften the blowback to him by convening a face-to-face meeting between his cabinet staff and Hawaii’s public sector labor union leaders, his proposal did not come with any specifics on how this will be accomplished, who will be affected, or how long this will be in effect. Even UH President David Lassner and the UH Board of Regents were not included in the Governor’s proposed “solution.” It was irresponsible to make such an announcement without details and, as expected, this fueled a lot of anxiety and generated a lot of questions since his cabinet staff did not have concrete answers.

UHPA along with its 3,500+ members recognize these are unprecedented and difficult times for all. Taking the next crucial steps in dealing with this situation and restoring Hawaii’s economy will take careful thought and prudent decisions that are based on projections supported by facts, data and evidence. Knee-jerk, reactionary measures based on faulty assumptions, innuendoes, and political aspirations do not demonstrate leadership during a time when true leadership is needed.

We hope that our Governor and our leaders will rethink their strategy and approach and begin to engage in meaningful dialogue and discussions on how to deal with the financial exigency the COVID-19 virus has created for our State.

Christian L. Fern
UHPA Executive Director

Handy list of shortcut links to COVID-19 State Resources

Governor David Ige’s – Third Supplemental Proclamation
DLIR – How to Apply for Unemployment Insurance
DOH – How to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19
DOH – Up-to-date COVID-19 Hawaii Statistics
DOT – Coronavirus Info and Resources
DOA – Inter-island Travel Declaration Form
DCCA – Landlord-Tenant Code
Hawaii State Senate YouTube Channel
To participate in the 2020 U.S. Census
From U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI), information about the CARES Act (H.R. 748) and Family First Coronavirus Response
SBA – Paycheck Protection Program Application
CDC – How to Wear a Cloth Covering

Mahalo Senator Kanuha for this information.

Tell us about faculty stepping up to the Coronavirus challenge

COVID-19 is creating difficult challenges for UH Faculty and we are rising to the occasion. All of us know someone who is going beyond the call, for example: extraordinary work with students and our community, putting themselves in harm’s way, developing innovations to fight COVID-19, creating bio-based products to reduce the virus’s spread, increasing food security and sustainability, and other efforts to help our community cope with this pandemic.

Please share with us stories about our faculty stepping up to the Coronavirus challenge so we can share their stories and underscore (or highlight) our ongoing labor/work how they are playing key roles in this ongoing battle.

Complete the form below or if you are on a mobile phone click this link to open a new tab.

Faculty Working From Home

Message from UHPA Executive Director Christian Fern and UH Vice President Don Straney on behalf of the UHPA-UH Joint Workgroup

This message is to clarify the University’s intent regarding its new “work from home” form and its application to University faculty. To reiterate, instructional faculty (including lecturers), research faculty, graduate assistants, and other faculty who are not normally expected to be on campus during set working hours, are not required to fill out the work from home form or create a work from home plan. These employees also are not required to input their status as “Covid-19 Work From Home” in the online leave system. Faculty who, under normal conditions, are required to have a physical presence on campus during set working hours (for example, Librarians, or some Specialist Faculty), are the only faculty expected to fill out the work from home form (and the online leave system) to indicate the days they will be working from home or on-campus. Because the Covid-19 Work From Home status in the online leave system was intended to apply to all University employees working from home, including our hourly employees, it includes an “hours” and “minutes” data field; however, these fields are not intended to apply to faculty. The intent was not to “keep track of” faculty’s work.

The campuses may request faculty to self-report when they will physically be on campus. Again, the intent is not to keep track of faculty’s work, but for logistical purposes of tracking building use. If buildings are not being used, or are only partially being used, the campus may be able to close certain buildings or portions of buildings and reduce custodial and other services to those buildings. We appreciate the cooperation that faculty have shown in this regard, and ask that you continue to help us assist our facilities’ staff in dealing with the emergency situation as best we can.

If you have any questions regarding this memo, please contact your designated campus human resources department.

Message from UHPA Executive Director Christian Fern and UH Vice President Don Straney on behalf of the UHPA-UH Joint Workgroup

Last week, the Temporary Remote Teaching Workgroup—a combined effort of the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly and UH administrators—met to review the support and resources available to faculty preparing for the transition to working with students who were not on campus. Several recent proclamations from the Governor and Mayors probably made your preparations more challenging. This week, we have been monitoring the initial stages of implementing last week’s planning on each of the 10 UH campuses.

The initial reports are that you have made a great start on this new mode of working at UH. We have heard from faculty on each campus and from some of their administrators how the first two days have gone. There have been issues, glitches, and problems for sure, but far fewer than one might have expected. The resources and mini-courses provided by instructional designers last week are definitely paying off. Most impressive to us have been the reports of faculty pitching in to help one another: explaining to colleagues how to use Zoom, offering advice on posting videos to YouTube, even videotaping each other performing lab experiments for students to critique and analyze. Librarians, advisors and other faculty supporting student learning have also had to adapt to delivering services in a climate of uncertainty about health and safety. The hard work of last week (and it has only been that long) is beginning to pay off for our students. Your professionalism, creativity and commitment to the students will carry the University of Hawai‘i community through this difficult time.

We have heard reports that some people are uncertain if they can come to campus under the current stay-at-home orders. People who provide education can leave home to come to campus for work. Instructors should feel free to use their offices and the various teaching resources on campus, including HITS classrooms. The campuses are implementing all of the CDC recommendations to maintain a safe work environment and the facilities staff have stepped up the cleaning protocols to meet current needs. The University is providing any protective equipment your work requires and you should talk with your department chair or supervisor if you have concerns, questions, or ideas.

One common report in the past few days has been that students are not all fully engaging with remotely-delivered classes and don’t always respond to instructors’ or advisors’ emails. It is important to continue reaching out to your students to help keep them engaged with the university. We have also heard of increased interactions students are having in some classes, where chat boxes, for example, make it easier for them to ask questions and interact with each other. Engaging students with learning tasks has always been the challenge for instructing, advising, or supporting learning but current situations are making it more difficult while also presenting new opportunities.

The working group will continue to meet over the next few weeks so faculty and administrators can provide input to each other on how the semester is progressing and what issues, concerns and problems arise. Please don’t hesitate to contact us via our email address with concerns you have.

UHPA MODIFIED OPERATIONS

Due to the unprecedented situation of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as Mayor Caldwell’s Emergency Order No. 2020-02 (COVID-19 [Novel Coronavirus]) Stay at home/Work from home order, UHPA is modifying its operations to ensure that we can continue to fully service and represent our Faculty Members in the most efficient and transparent manner.

UHPA’s normal business hours will remain unchanged; operating Monday – Friday from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. In order to honor social distancing, a few of UHPA support staff will be temporarily working at home as feasible and only working from the office when operations dictate. The operations for UHPA professional staff will remain unchanged.

All UHPA staff will be available and reachable during normal business hours by email (follow this link to the staff directory) or by calling 593-2157 on Oahu and 1-808-593-2157 on the neighbor islands. For social distancing purposes, we respectfully request that all visitations and in-person (face-to-face) meetings with any UHPA staff, both support and professional, be made via appointment one day in advance. We will be transitioning to virtual meetings between UHPA staff and its membership and respectfully requests this be the preferred method during this period.

UHPA would like to take this opportunity to thank and recognize all Faculty Members for their teaching, service, and contributions not only to the University of Hawai‘i but to our communities and the State. We all collectively will stand strong and come together as one. Stay safe and healthy.

UHPA Update on COVID-19 Working Conditions

On Friday, March 13, 2020, UHPA met with UH administrators and voiced our concerns for the health and safety of our membership as a whole, as well as, making sure all Faculty Members received the required support, services, resources, etc. to help with the transition to on-line instruction, as well as, other conditions as they may arise. UH agreed with UHPA that a working group should commence immediately to address these concerns that UHPA raised and jointly noticed all Faculty Members of the establishment of the working group and an email address to allow all Faculty Members to share their concerns to the working group – which consists of UHPA and UH representatives.

The working group includes eleven (11) Faculty Members. In constructing the committee, UHPA wanted to ensure that we had broad representation, and included a total of four (4) Faculty Members, including two (2) Librarians, that are non-instructional. The working group has been meeting daily since Tuesday, March 17, 2020 and will continue to meet on a regular basis in order to address the multitude of questions, concerns, and seeking clarification over the numerous messages that have been issued by our State’s government leaders. UHPAʻs goal is to obtain all the necessary information on these issues so that we can collectively, with the UH, provide a list of Q&A’s on these topics and seeking commitments from the UH to provide a safe workplace as required by OSHA rules and regulations.

UHPA’s position is that we need to ensure that all Faculty Members are provided with all available resources, services, and support in helping them transition to on-line instruction. We also want to ensure that all Faculty Members who continue to teach courses, programs, and classes that require face-to-face instruction, as well as non-instructional faculty that will remain on campus for their duties, have access to the required resources, services, and support to protect their health and safety needs. In this regard, we are ensuring that any and all recommendations made by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) are being recognized and will be implemented by UH on this matter. The CDC recommendations are changing and evolving. The links here are the most up to date issued by the CDC on this subject:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/workplace-school-and-home-guidance.pdf

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/colleges-universities/index.html

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/guidance-ihe-response.html

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/community-mitigation-strategy.pdf

It is important to point out that instructional faculty have not been assigned to “work from home.” What has changed for them is that students will no longer meet with them in person in a classroom. The joint committee has been working to identify issues and are looking for different ways that they can engage in and develop ways to teach their classes in other modes. All non-instructional faculty can utilize the voluntary work-from-home process announced by President Lassner last week, if such accommodations are available.

The University has shared the COVID-19 Work-From-Home Request form. This form should be completed by non-instructional faculty members solely to be used as a means to document their request and ability to work from home.

The situation is constantly evolving, and we will be sure to send updates based upon directives from the Federal, State or County officials.

We are still in discussions with the UH Administration through this working group on addressing all of these concerns, inclusive of UHPA’s concerns over the health and safety of it’s membership, and we will continue to meet and function as a working group to collaboratively address these issues as they arise.

UHPA Responds to UH’s Online Conversion

UHPA Executive Director Christian Fern responds to UH President David Lassner’s email regarding the plans for online course conversion.

200312 Ltr to D. Lassner re COVID-19