Responses to fictitious scenarios faculty might find themselves in.

FacFAQs: When do I get that raise that’s in the new contract?

Senior Botany Professor and 9-month faculty member at Mauna Kea College, Dr. Domingo, knows the new UHPA-BOR 2015-2017 contract went into effect on July 1, 2015. He was just telling a new hire that union dues are 1% of your salary, yet, due to this contract, faculty will get an 8% raise over the next two years. Not a bad return on investment! However, Dr. Domingo just got his July 20th paycheck, and he isn’t seeing his increase. Was there a snag in the contract?


The duty period for 9-month faculty runs from mid-August to mid-May (the academic year).  Dr. Domingo is technically only earning money until May, but his paychecks for that period are spread out over 12 months.  As a result, he receives paychecks through the summer for monies already earned over the previous year. Even though the new contract is in effect, Dr. Domingo won’t be earning money under the new contract terms until he returns to work. As a result, he can expect to see his new salary kick in after he starts earning money under the new agreement in mid-August.

If Dr. Domingo had been on an 11-month appointment, his duty period would begin on July 1. Therefore, his salary increase would also be applied on July 1st, the day he starts earning money again under the new contract. In fact, this was the source of his confusion; he was on a temporary 11-month appointment in 2009 when the last contract went into effect.

FacFAQs: How do I apply for a Special Salary Adjustment?

Martin is an 11-month instructional faculty member who just got awarded tenure at Aʻā Community College on a neighbor island (congratulations, Martin!). Unfortunately, he had no ability to negotiate higher than the base salary upon hire. In fact, he was a mid-year hire who requested a raise based on the salary info on the UHPA website. His VCAA told him she’d get back to him when the HR director returned from Christmas break, and then called his Department Chair to request the name of the next candidate, accusing him of walking out on salary negotiations! Fortunately, Martin’s DC called him to check if this was true. In any event, he was forced to take the lowest possible salary in order to get the job.

When looking back at his dossier, Martin realizes that he has gone above and beyond what was expected to receive tenure and promotion. After reflecting for a bit, Martin decides that summer 2015 is the perfect time to compose a document asking for a special salary adjustment. How exactly does that work?


Martin can find information on the process for Special Salary Adjustments in R-18, Memorandum of Understanding on the Procedures for Special Salary Adjustments and Bonus Payments:

He also checked the paper copy of the 2009-2015 contract, and found the same information on page 99 (in the blue section in the back).

Martin cleverly decided to encourage some of his colleagues to do also apply for special salary adjustments with him since they had worked on many of the same projects. Since there were no written departmental procedures as to how to apply for a special salary adjustment, he requested that writing those up be added to the agenda at the next department meeting. An email to UHPA staff revealed that the underlying principle of the contract language is a discussion with one’s colleagues. UHPA staff also told him that it’s good to get down some procedures (ex. some departments take a formal, recorded vote), because it may be optimal to avoid Administration feeling it necessary to solicit the opinions of one’s colleagues privately and/or independently.

Lastly, in the composition of his request, Martin found the salary info available on the UHPA website helpful, and a good starting point:

Good luck, Martin! UHPA is rooting for you!

FacFAQs: When Did the Base Increases Really Happen?

Associate Professor of Sociology and 9-month Instructional faculty member at Mokihana College, Dr. Ying, was perusing the 2009-2015 contract, and found the following language: “Effective July 1, 2014, all Faculty Members shall have their base salaries increased by three percent (3%).” He recalled the finance officer at his institution saying that, for 9-month faculty, this raise actually was effective on Aug 1, 2014, and payable on Aug. 20, 2014. What’s the deal?



The salary increases for faculty on 9-month appointments are effective August 1 of the respective year since the duty period for 9-month faculty runs from mid-August to mid-May (the academic year.)  The salary for Dr. Ying’s 9-month appointment is paid out over 12 months.  What confused Dr. Ying is that he receives paychecks through the summer even though he’s off duty.  Those salaries have already been earned.  Even if Dr. Ying resigned or retired on June 1st, he would be paid through August 1st to receive his full wage.  However, those salaries would be for work done in the prior academic year.

If Dr. Ying had been on an 11-month appointment, he would have a duty period from July 1 through June 30, therefore the new fiscal year salary increase would be applied on July 1st.

FacFAQs: Sabbatical Policy vs. Contract

Realizing she may never get timely information from her campus Human Resources office, Nora, a 9-month Instructional faculty member at ‘Āhinahina Community College, has decided to start researching Sabbatical information online herself. She noticed a discrepancy between policy and the UHPA faculty contract.

She discovers that Policy A9.400 states that faculty must return to service at UH for one year, with item 6 stating that “Employees who fail to return to service subsequent to a sabbatical leave or who do not complete one year of service subsequent to a sabbatical leave are required to reimburse the University all compensation received during the leave period,” and that faculty must sign a statement acknowledging this. Clearly, based on this policy, the return service must be one year regardless of the duration of the Sabbatical.

However, if the sabbatical leave period is only 6 months, the current contract only requires a return service requirement of 6 months.

Nora is puzzled. Which is correct?


Thankfully, the UH administration is currently in the process of updating the Administrative Procedures, after working on the Board of Regents policies and the Executive Policies.  As it pertains to any policy issued by the administration or the BOR, the substance is always subject to the language of the collective bargaining agreement (i.e., the UHPA/BOR Agreement takes precedence when there is any conflict of “discrepancy.”)  In this particular case regarding sabbatical leave, it was more than a decade ago that UHPA negotiated the change from BOR policy currently in the contract so that the obligation to return was for not more than period of the leave.  The administrative policies simply haven’t caught up yet.

FacFAQs: Implementing DPC Changes in 2015-2017 Agreement

Marla is the department chair in the Psychology department at Lehua U, and just noticed that in the new 2015 to 2017 contract that there is a change in Article X for the department personnel committee procedures. The change states that now DPC members must be at or higher in rank than the applicant, which throws a bit of a monkey wrench in the current panel, specifically in regards to promotions. She mentioned this to the DC of Math who informed her that they already implemented the change when they elected DPC members in August, so they don’t have any problems. Uh oh. What should Marla do now?



Until midnight on June 30th, the 2009-2015 contract is still in effect. Although the Math department had the foresight to make the necessary changes ahead of time, they were under no obligation to do so. At the next department meeting, Marla brings this issue to the attention of her colleagues. They brought up the idea of just using alternates until the next round of votes is called for in the written departmental procedures, and also the option of voting on an amendment to the departmental procedures to hold a new vote. Because they are a small department, they voted unanimously to add an amendment to hold another vote, ran the changes by UHPA for approval, and are scheduled to re-vote in August 2015.

FacFAQs: Will the snap-back be included in my “high three”?

Pearla has served many years as 9-month faculty at Lili’uokalani Community College, and is looking forward to her retirement in Spring 2015! After much congratulations and many joyful tears from colleagues, she started thinking about the financial repercussions of the snap-back. She knows that ERS often doesn’t include retroactive payments so as not to inflate one’s AFC. Will the snap-back be included in her “high three”?


Although Pearla’s “retirement estimate” does not reflect it, and it is not common practice from ERS, the snap-back payments are the exception that proves the rule! Because the lump sum falls within Pearla’s “high three,” she can rest easy that the lump sum will definitely be included in the ERS’s calculation of her actual AFC.

FacFAQs: Can I split up my sabbatical?

Marvin is an Associate Professor employed at UH Waimea on an 11-month appointment. He applied for and was granted a 4-month sabbatical leave during Fall 2014. After he returned from his sabbatical, he applied for another leave, this time for 2 months during Spring 2015. However, his fiscal officer, Jan is telling him that, “the clock starts over again,” and that he should have requested the split time before taking the initial 4-month leave. Marvin is shocked! He reread the third paragraph of Article VI, Leaves of Absence with Pay, and can’t find anything prohibiting this. In fact, Marvin thinks Jan might be misinforming him. Marvin asks Jan if she is sure about this, and Jan reiterates her position that Marvin has lost his opportunity, having checked with someone in the VCAA’s office. Is this a contract violation? What should Marvin do next?



After contacting UHPA offices and speaking to a staff member, Marvin learns both that Jan’s assertions are a contract violation, and of his options moving forward. Since Marvin has written communication (an email) from his fiscal officer last week asserting that he must have filed the request as separate, he notifies his Dean and VCAA that he will be filing a grievance.

Marvin’s Administration expresses surprise! Apparently the person Jan spoke to in the VCAA’s office was an APT, and the Dean tells Marvin she wasn’t even aware Marvin was misinformed. Marvin applies and receives his extra 2 months of Sabbatical Leave.



Ken Tanaka* works for DaBest Community College as an Assistant Professor. After skimming through “Salaries” section of the ratified Tentative Agreement slated to begin on July 1, 2015, Ken is upset. Having been hired in 1994, Ken was only able to negotiate the minimum salary, and currently makes $60,000 a year. Now the new hire his department receives next year will be entitled to Ken’s current salary as a base rate of pay! With all the service Ken has put in, how is this equitable? Why didn’t the union negotiate a base salary increase instead of percentages?


After analyzing the financial and political conditions the University system faces, UHPA strategized that the only way to ensure across-the-board increases was to raise salaries by percent and increase minimum salaries by rank. Unlike the Department of Education, UH system salaries have never been predicated on years of service; the salary system has always been based on a meritocracy of ranks. Whereas actions to resolve compression issues can always be sought by the deserving individual, what this TA aimed to resolve was the more-difficult-to-achieve adjustment for the salary differential between 9- and 11-month appointments.
The good news is that Ken can take action to increase his pay! The new TA maintained the existing contractual provisions that allow for special salary adjustments based on merit, retention, and equity from the current contract’s section R-18, Memorandum of Understanding on the Procedures for Special Salary Adjustments and Bonus Payments. He can apply at any time for a special salary increase using supporting data from UHPA’s Salary Research.
* Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.