UHPA’s Series of Requests to Meet Repeatedly Ignored; Prohibited Practice Complaint Filed

NEWS RELEASE

Date: August 6, 2018

Contact: Kris Hanselman
Executive Director
(808) 593-2157
kris@uhpa.org

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.

Background
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.”

Read Prohibited Practice Complaint

A Different Take on the U.S. Supreme Court “Janus” Ruling

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.

Same-Day Registration and Voting Available in the Upcoming Elections

In the 2012 elections, Hawaii’s voter turnout was just 44.5%, the lowest of all the states in the nation. In 2016, Hawaii earned the dubious distinction once again with only 43% of Hawaii’s eligible voters casting a ballot. By contrast, that year Minnesota had the highest turnout at 74.8% and the overall national turnout of eligible voters was 60.2%.

To improve voter participation, in 2014 Hawaii became the 12th state in the nation to adopt a same-day registration policy to allow residents to register on the day they go to the polls. This is the first election year that Hawaii is having same-day registration.

If you haven’t registered yet, you can register up until the day the Primary Election on August 11, 2018. The polls are open from 7 am to 6 pm.

Early Voting

If you do not plan to be in Hawaii on the day of the Primary Election, you can vote early.

Deadline to submit mail ballot request: August 4, 2018 (seven days prior to election)
Early walk-in voting: July 30 – August 9, 2018

Vote Early

Any registered voter may request a mail ballot or cast their vote at an early walk-in location within their county. Click here for a list of walk-in early locations.

Mail-in ballot

To get a mail ballot, simply download, complete and submit a voter registration and permanent absentee application online. Click here for to download the PDF.

You can expect to receive your absentee ballot in the mail 20 days prior to the election, which means it should be in your mailbox any day now, if you’ve already registered. Your ballot must be submitted back to the State of Hawaii’s Office of Elections before the polls close at 6 pm for both the primary and general elections.

Vote for Those Who Support Faculty

UHPA has publicly endorsed a number of candidates who are running in this year’s election because of their track record of support for higher education and faculty. Please consider voting for these candidates:

Governor: Colleen Hanabusa
Lieutenant Governor: Jill Tokuda
Congress (1st District): Beth Fukumoto

Hawaii State Legislators – House

House District 3: Rep. Richard Onishi (Hilo, Keaau, Kurtistown, Volcano)
House District 7: David Tarnas (North Kona, North Kohala, South Kohala)
House District 9: Rep. Justin Woodsen (Kahului, Puunene, Old Sand Hills, Maui Lani)
House District 23: Dale Kobayashi (Manoa, Punahou, University, Moiliili)
House District 25: Rep. Sylvia Luke (Makiki, Punchbowl, Nuuanu, Dowsett Highlands, Pacific Heights, Pauoa)
House District 26: Rep. Scott Saiki (McCully, Kaheka, Kakaako, Downtown)
House District 31: Rep. Aaron Johanson (Moanalua, Red Hill, Foster Village, Aiea, Fort Shafter, Moanalua Gardens, Aliamanu, Lower Pearlridge)
House District 36: Dean Hazama (Mililani Mauka, Mililani)
House District 48: Lisa Kitagawa (Kaneohe, Kahaluu, Waiahole)
House District 49: Scot Matayoshi (Kaneohe, Maunawili, Olomana)

Hawaii State Legislators – Senate

Senate District 4: Heather Kimball (Hilo, Hamakua, Kohala, Waimea, Waikoloa, Kona)
Senate District 7: Kalani English (Hana, East and Upcountry Maui, Moloka‘i, Lana‘i, Kaho‘olawe)
Senate District 19: Alicia Maluafiti (‘Ewa Beach, Ocean Pointe, ‘Ewa by Gentry, Iroquois Point, portion of ‘Ewa Villages)
Senate District 24: Jarrett Keohokalole (Kane‘ohe, MCBH, Kailua, He‘eia, ‘Ahuimanu)

View UHPA’s endorsements of these candidates.

Colleen Hanabusa for Governor

The University of Hawaii Professional Assembly’s board of directors unanimously voted in favor of endorsing Colleen Hanabusa for governor and officially notified her campaign today. UHPA’s political endorsement committee had recommended Hanabusa to the board for consideration.

“Our endorsement was based on input from faculty as well as Colleen’s solid track record of support for public higher education in Hawaii,” said Lynne Wilkens, president of the UHPA board of directors. “We need a governor who is predictable, driven by consistent values, decisive, collaborative, and has the integrity to keep promises — all of the qualities that Colleen has demonstrated during her years as a leader in the legislature and in Congress.”

In the letter of endorsement to Hanabusa, Wilkens noted that affordable housing, quality child care and elder care, and the cost of living consistently top the list of critical issues raised by UH faculty. These concerns are directly linked to the ability to recruit and retain quality faculty to teach and conduct research at the University of Hawaii’s 10 campuses statewide.

Wilkens also noted the UH has been an economic engine for Hawaii, with faculty members attracting hundreds of millions of dollars in research funding from national sources that create local jobs and the development of practical solutions to pressing issues in the state.

“We believe it is important to maintain this diversity of funding sources to ensure our faculty-led research programs remain resilient to economic challenges and not solely dependent upon state support,” she said.

UHPA Endorses Colleen Hanabusa, for Governor

UHPA endorsement is based on faculty input as well as her solid track record of support for public higher education in Hawai‘i.  We agreed we need a governor who is predictable, driven by consistent values, decisive, collaborative and has the integrity to keep promises.  Concerns such as affordable housing, quality child care and elder care and the cost of living are directly linked to the ability to recruit and retain quality faculty.  The UH Faculty has been an economic engine for our state, attracting hundreds of millions of dollars in research funding from national sources that create local jobs and development of practical solutions to pressing issues in our state.  Colleen Hanabusa will advocate for ensuring there are the means to build and keep quality faculty that deliver for our students and our islands.

UHPA Endorses Heather Kimball, Senate District 4

UHPA was pleased to learn that Heather was a former faculty at the University of California and belonged to UPTE-CMA local 9119.  Heather has a strong higher education background.  Heather understands the issue before UHPA with retention and recruitment, research grants, facilities, and the every pending Janus case.  Heather has been serving her community in a variety of areas, as a business woman working in energy conservation, as a paddling coach to her membership in the American Meteorological Society.  These skills will serve UHPA and Senate District 4 well, we are pleased to endorse Heather.

UHPA Endorses Kalani English, Senate District 7

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.

UHPA Endorses David Tarnas, House District 7

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.