Due to the expected impact of Hurricane Lane, the UHPA office will be closed on Thursday, August 23, and Friday, August 24, 2018. We anticipate that we will be back in business at 8 a.m. on Monday, August 27, 2018.
Date: August 6, 2018
Contact: Kris Hanselman
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Gov. David Ige and State Comptroller’s Inattention to University of Hawaii
Professional Assembly and U.S. Supreme Court Ruling
Result in Inaccurate Payroll Deductions for UH Faculty
UHPA’s Series of Requests to Meet Repeatedly Ignored;
UHPA Files Prohibited Practice Complaint with Hawaii Labor Relations Board
The University of Hawaii Professional Assembly (UHPA), the union that represents UH
faculty, filed a prohibited practice complaint against the governor and the director of the
Department of Accounting and General Services (DAGS) with the Hawaii Labor
Relations Board last Friday afternoon.
The filing urges Gov. David Ige and DAGS director Rod Becker to heed UHPA’s
requests for a “full, immediate, and effective” discussion on faculty payroll deductions to
meet the requirements of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
UHPA’s requests to meet with the governor and other government agencies to prepare
for the payroll deductions in anticipation of the U.S Supreme Court ruling on Janus v.
AFSCME began nearly six months ago, but those requests were continually ignored.
The lack of consultation resulted in payroll deduction errors in two consecutive faculty
paychecks within the last month.
When the U.S. Supreme Court issued its landmark ruling on Janus v. AFSCME in late
June, it came as no surprise. For months, there had been indications the justices would
rule in favor of a right-to-work environment in the public sector. This meant the State of
Hawaii, the employer of UH faculty, could no longer automatically deduct agency fees
from the paychecks of non-members — the equivalent of union dues from members.
Despite UHPA’s continuous outreach efforts, the governor’s office nor DAGS granted a
request for a meeting. As a result, the State of Hawaii was not able to meet its legal
obligations and this resulted in payroll deduction errors in faculty paychecks in July.
These errors have not yet been fully resolved.
“The payroll errors are the result of DAGS creating its own unilateral payroll policies and
procedures without consultation and prior planning with UHPA. This is a violation of
Hawaii’s collective bargaining laws,” Hanselman said. “In addition, DAGS has imposed
unrealistic deadlines on UHPA to support this system they created. We do not have
confidence that these kinds of errors will not continue in the future.”
After months of UHPA’s requests for a meeting, DAGS has suddenly requested a
meeting with UHPA for August 13 — nearly a month and a half after the initial error-plagued
faculty paychecks were issued.
“They are a day late and dollar short,” Hanselman said. “This crisis could have been
averted if the governor and his agencies collaborated with us at the front end, not after it
occurs,” said Kris Hanselman, UHPA Executive Director. “We believed the governor
would understand the gravity of this situation and do the right thing, the right way, but it
appears his administration did not take this U.S. Supreme Court decision seriously and
now we are having to spend time and resources to fix the problem to meet our
obligations to our members and our organization.”
By Lynne Wilkens, UHPA President
This past week’s U.S. Supreme Court decision on Janus v. AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees) has created a stir across the nation.
The ruling overturns the Supreme Court’s 1977 ruling on Abood v. Detroit Board of Education that has served as a precedent for more than 40 years. Janus serves as a new landmark case and is causing concern over the loss of employee rights and a weakened collective voice in the workplace. There has also been not-so-subtle gloating about renewed power for employers with a legal way to defund and cripple unions.
Backers of Mark Janus, the Illinois child worker, argued collective bargaining is inherently political in nature. Therefore, union members should no longer have to pay member dues because any assertions by unions violate the First Amendment rights of its members.
Yet in Hawaii, there is a different tenor and tone in response to Supreme Court’s decision. Over the past 18 months, the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly (UHPA) armed its members with accurate information to brace them for the anticipated ruling and will continue to update its members as the new law is implemented in our state.
Hawaii embedded collective bargaining in its statutes to “promote harmonious and cooperative relations between government and its employees and to protect the public by assuring effective and orderly operations of government.” This establishes joint decision-making between government and its employees to create a win-win environment that supports Hawaii’s cultural values, our economy and our future.
University of Hawaii faculty members know that with UHPA as their designated union, they can speak with a strong, unified voice to negotiate with the UH administration and governor at the bargaining table. As a unified group, they can persuade legislators to release funds for wages in ratified contracts. All of this may seem overtly political because of the way the faculty contracts are approved and funded.
Under the Janus ruling, UHPA will continue to ensure contracts provide equitable and satisfactory terms of employment for all faculty, regardless of whether they are union members. However, support for grievances and other services will no longer be available to non-paying members. This is fair for the paying members.
Some UHPA members may not want to give up 1% of their salaries for agency fees. But we believe the majority of the members want UHPA’s representation and are willing to pay for it.
The broader community also benefits from a healthy equilibrium of power in the workplace. There is a UH professor who generates $35 million in non-state research funding and 450 jobs. This is only possible because the 4,000 faculty members at the 10 University of Hawaii campuses across the state represented by UHPA can focus on quality teaching, research, and community service due to the good contract they have in place.
Take away faculty’s voice and rights, and these community benefits also go away. Faculty members will not stay at the UH if they are treated unfairly, especially if they are offered a much more attractive compensation package from another university — another type of brain drain.
UHPA has a solid record of effective representation of UH faculty over the past 40 years. The union provides significant value for the dollar in contract negotiations, grievance settlements, and representation of faculty interests. This high-performance service has only been possible because of the collaboration between UHPA and its membership and we are confident this partnership will continue to play a vital role in the future.
Lynne Wilkens is president of the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly’s board of directors.
Voter Registration, Polling Locations, Click Here
UHPA is excited to support Senator Kalani English who currently represents Senate District 7. Senator English served as Vice Chair of the Labor Committee and was extremely helpful to UHPA during the session. He personally met with the UHPA legislative team along with Senate leadership to discuss the passage of labor bills introduced by UHPA. He has demonstrated a strong understanding of Chapter 89, the HLRB and the issues facing public unions due to the Janus case before the US Supreme Court. UHPA believes Senator English will serve the faculty well.
With your support UHPA believes David Tarnas will be the next representative for House District 7. He is a former UH Sea Grant Extension Agent for West Hawai‘i. He currently serves as an environmental planner on projects for harbors, farms, fishponds and forest plantations. He is knowledgable in the areas of scientific research facilities and renewable energy projects. He has served the community in various positions from AYSO to Waimea Community Theater. David’s vast experiences and knowledge will be a valuable support UHPA faculty and House District 7.
UHPA believes Jarrett will be a strong Senator for UHPA, advocating on behalf of faculty. Jarrett has demonstrated his knowledge of our issues as a member of the House of Representatives, representing House District 48. Jarrett is a graduate of the UH William S. Richardson School of Law and focused his work on invasive species policy for DLNR. He fully understands the need for grants to further the important work that UH provides Hawai‘i as well as obtaining and retaining the best and brightest faculty. UHPA is pleased to endorse Jarrett Keohokalole for Senate District 24.
Lisa Kitagawa is another newcomer to the Legislature and UHPA is pleased to endorse her. Although new to the elected side of the legislative process, Lisa has been working at the legislature for Representative Aaron Johnson, Chair of the Labor Committee. Previously Lisa spent 15 years working in various positions at UH and as a member of UHPA; form CTAHR to Leadership Development and as an APT. Lisa’s time with UH provided her with insight to the needs of UHPA faculty in areas of facilities, recruitment, retention and grant funding. Lisa is also up-to-date on Labor issues that are before the Hawai‘i Labor Relations Board. She understands the struggles of protecting Chapter 89 with the Janus case just around the corner. Lisa’s background will serve her well as an advocate for UHPA and her community. We are excited to endorse Lisa for House District 48.
UHPA endorses another newcomer to the legislative process, Scot Matayoshi, House District 49. Scot is currently an Associate at the law firm of Schlack Ito. Scott received his law degree from the University of Hawai‘i’s William S. Richardson School of Law. He also taught science at Nanakuli Middle School and continues his involvement in education as the President of the Malama Honua Public Charter School Foundation. Scot enjoys serving his community on the Neighborhood Board, VP of the Kaneohe Christmas Parade and member of the Ko‘olaupoko Hawaiian Civic Club. In his spare time he relaxes at the dojo where he is a blackbelt. Scot’s background made him an ideal candidate for House District 49, he knows his community well and as a graduate of UH Law School and practicing attorney he has a unique perspective and understanding of the legal issues Janus will have on the UHPA faculty.