Christian Fern Named Executive Director

Christian Fern Named Executive Director of University of Hawaii Professional Assembly (UHPA)

UHPA board of directors unanimously voted Christian Fern as the new executive director, effective December 1, 2019.

Fern, who has served as an associate executive director with UHPA since July 2015, succeeds Kristeen Hanselman, who joined UHPA in December 2007. Hanselman will continue to serve as executive director, a position she has held for the past four years, to ensure a smooth leadership transition.

“We began to discuss the leadership transition process in February this year and conducted an exhaustive search as part of our due diligence,” said Ashley Maynard, president of the UHPA board of directors. “We reviewed a number of candidates, and Christian’s leadership experience and understanding of legislative advocacy, collective bargaining, and the challenges faculty face, made him the ideal choice to continue to lead the union forward.”

Prior to serving as an associate executive director for UHPA, Fern worked for the state’s two largest health plans, HMSA and Kaiser Permanente. He worked at HMSA for 16 years in progressively responsible roles that led to his position as manager of the Employer-Union Trust Fund and federal plan. At Kaiser Permanente, he was manager of large accounts for state and federal plans.

Fern worked as a legislative intern for the Senate Judiciary Committee while he was a University of Hawai‘i-Mānoa political science student, and returned to the Senate Judiciary Committee as a committee clerk after he graduated.

“Being a part of UHPA has provided me with valuable insights and a deep understanding of the issues facing Hawai‘i’s public sector unions and the University of Hawai‘i,” Fern said. “In this post-Janus world, the public-sector unions will need to continue to provide traditional forms of union representation while seeking new and innovative opportunities to connect with members and prospective members.”

“It has been a pleasure to work with Christian as he gained exposure to the different challenges of union representation,” Hanselman said, noting that Fern has represented members on grievances and arbitrations, worked with faculty and the UH administration on contract enforcement and interpretation, participated in lobbying at the State Legislature to represent faculty interests, and been involved in short- and long-range strategic planning.

Fern, a Honolulu resident, is a Punahou School graduate and received a bachelor of arts degree in political science from the University of Hawai‘i-Mānoa. He also completed the Advanced Labor Studies Program at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

Gov. David Ige appointed Fern to the Hawaii Employer-Union Health Benefits Trust Fund, and Fern now serves as the chair of the trust. The Hawaii Employer-Union Health Benefits Trust Fund provides medical, chiropractic, prescription drug, dental, vision, and life insurance benefits to all eligible State of Hawaii, City and County of Honolulu, County of Hawaii, County of Maui and County of Kauai employees and retirees. EUTF covers more than 190,000 lives: 68,000 employees, 47,000 retirees, and 80,000 dependents. Fern also serves a chair of EUTF’s investment committee and is a member of its benefits committee.

Hawaii CC Faculty Hosts Their Regular Meetup

On October 11, 2019, the Faculty at Hawaii Community College hosted a Faculty Meetup with about 35 people attending. Held at a rented beach house overlooking Hilo Bay, the meetup featured “really good food”, a little bit of swimming and apparently was an overall good time.

Hawaii CC holds faculty meetups “at least twice a semester” with a gala Spring dinner at the Hilo Yacht Club in May. The faculty meetups are organized by UHPA Reps and other members.

Ashley Maynard, UHPA president, commented on the event, “Hawaii Community College has clearly set the standard for all other campuses to follow. If the rest of the campuses and colleges can replicate something like this, our faculty would be immeasurably stronger and more unified in the pursuit of creating a better academic workplace for all”.

Sam Giordanengo, UHPA Board Member representing Hawaii Community College and part of the team that organized the meetup, said, “This is a good way for faculty to see each other outside of the college setting. We talk shop, talk family, and just get to know each other as people. Normally on campus we’re either in meetings and too busy doing our jobs to take time out of the day to connect. These Faculty Meetups allow us to just be friends, share food, and have fun together.”

Hawaii CC meetups have been going on for the past 5 years on a regular basis and were started by now-retired (but still working as a lecturer!) Joel Peralto who kicked off the idea for a special celebration at the time. The event was so successful that the faculty decided it shouldn’t be a one-time-only event, and they have been going on ever since.

Get a quote and receive a free emergency kit

Though the current hurricane season is about to end, it’s never too late to get an emergency kit. Our friends at Farmers Insurance Hawaii are offering the below for all UHPA members. The link to your keycode referenced in the offer is available to you only via our member-only Google Drive (view content access instructions). If you’re not a member,  signup is quick and easy via our online form.

 

Message from Farmers Insurance Hawaii:

From the Farmers Insurance Hawaii ohana to yours, we care about your safety and are providing emergency preparedness kits for hurricane season. Visit Farmers Insurance Hawaii for an auto insurance quote at our Honolulu, Hilo, Kona, Kahului, or Lihue offices and receive one free emergency kit. Be sure to include the UHPA keycode (available for members only on this page) – to receive your UHPA member discount.

Disclaimers:

1) Quote promotion valid through November 29, 2019 or while supplies last.

2) Must mention the promotion at time of quote. One emergency kit per household per completed quote. For existing policyholders, one emergency kit per household per policy will be provided while supplies last.

3) To participate, visit Farmers Hawaii’s Honolulu, Hilo, Kona, Kahului, or Lihue office to request an auto insurance quote. Honolulu: 500 Ala Moana Blvd. Tower 6, 5th Floor between 8:00am-4:30pm Monday-Friday. Hilo: 111 E Puainako St, Hilo, HI 96720 at Prince Kuhio Plaza, between 9am-6pm Monday-Saturday. Kona: Walmart 75-1015 Henry St. Kailua-Kona, HI 96740 between 9:00am-6:00pm Monday-Friday. Kahului: Walmart 101 Pakaula Street, Kahului, HI 96732 between 9:00am-6:00pm Monday-Saturday. Lihue: 3016 Umi Street #1, Lihue, HI 96766 between 8:00am-5:00pm Monday-Friday. Upon quote completion, customer will receive one emergency kit.

4) For Hawaii residents 18 years or older only.

5) Employees of Farmers Insurance Group of Companies are not eligible.

6) Cannot be combined with any other offers.

7) Some restrictions apply.

Unprecedented Actions to Reduce Teaching Equivalencies (TE) at Kapiolani CC

UHPA was notified by Chancellor Pagotto of a significant cut in Teaching Equivalencies (TE) for Spring 2020 due to fiscal problems at Kapiolani CC. These reductions affect a large number of faculty members and is without precedence. TE’s constitute work responsibilities that are part of your compensation and conditions of work. These reductions may impact delivery of instruction and support for students along with diminished employment for some employees. The impact of these measures is not fully known.

UHPA was not consulted before the implementation of TE reductions nor did Chancellor Pagotto request negotiations on changes in compensation and working conditions that are impacted by the action being taken.

UHPA considers this a very serious matter and is preparing to take the necessary steps to ensure that faculty members are protected from harmful employer actions that undermine your job security, compensation and working conditions.

UHPA has requested that the UH System administration intervene immediately to address the fiscal situation and stop the unilateral reduction of TE’s. Further this requires the employer and UHPA to meet and negotiate on these matters. The employer needs to meet its legal obligations.

Inaugural Faculty Meetup was a great success!

Dan Harris-McCoy and UHPA President Ashley Maynard  organized our first Faculty Meetup on Sept 4, 2019 and we’re happy to report that it went great with Kristi Govella, Emily Daubert, and Roger Chen attending (in addition to Dan and Ashley).  The meetup lasted about 45 minutes.

When asked about what the topics were, Dan Harris-McCoy said, “We talked generally about settling into life on Hawaii and at UH. So we discussed serious things like life in faculty housing, home-ownership, finding work for spouses. But we also talked about pets and favorite restaurants. I especially enjoyed meeting with new faculty to talk about adjusting to life in Hawaii.”

UHPA President Ashley Maynard who was kind enough to take the photo, said, “It was great to meet up with UHPA members just to talk story. We plan to do it again soon.”

Meetups get published in our monthly newsletter and you can always visit our Meetups Page to get the latest news and Meetup announcements.

 

You’re invited to our first Faculty Meetup – join us!

UHPA Members are launching what we hope will be popular new feature – Faculty Meetups!

We share overlapping interests and values. And we are all engaging in interesting things. Let’s meet up! Whatever you like to do, maybe you’d like to have some of your colleagues join you. We can grab lunch together. Visit a gallery, botanical garden, or the zoo. Go to a movie. Have coffee. Start a meditation group!

Below is the first organized Faculty Meetup sponsored by Dan Harris-McCoy. Please contact him directly or just show up! Interested in hosting something like this yourself? Our Faculty Meetup page has more details along with a link to the request form.

Dan’s invitation is below and we hope you attend!

We are thrilled to announce a new UHPA initiative: the faculty “Meetup”. Our goal is to help create a greater sense of community among our amazing faculty by facilitating gatherings—which we’re calling meetups—of any size and for any reason (social, practical, about an issue or concern, etc.). An added bonus: anyone can organize a meetup, so feel free to propose a Faculty Meetup of your own using this form.

Our first gathering is a “Purely Social Coffee Meetup”. It’s an opportunity to get together, meet new friends, and maybe discuss summer adventures and how the semester is going so far. We’ll be meeting on Wed., Sep. 4 from 11 am to noon in the Campus Center Starbucks at UH Manoa. Look for us there or in the adjacent patio.

Please note that this is not a UHPA-sponsored or sanctioned event. UHPA helps us promote and publicize the event but they are in no way responsible for the event itself.

Contact Dan Harris-McCoy (harrismc@hawaii.edu/deharriswm@gmail.com) with any questions. Hope to see you there!

 

Faculty Rights to Privacy Violated

UHPA is actively pursuing measures to protect faculty members from Legislator information requests that breach the privacy of personnel files. Numerous information requests have been received from Senator Kim that target individual faculty members in a manner that UHPA contends surpasses what is allowed by the collective bargaining agreement and Chapter 92F of The Uniform Practices Act.

UHPA has a pending grievance and is in discussions with the University on establishing standards for release of information which protects the privacy of faculty members

The information requests are raising the spectre of legislative intrusion into work load and faculty evaluation. Both the exercise of academic decision making by faculty members and University autonomy are undermined by the collection of data with little restrictions on use.

This is a growing area of UHPA activities designed to protect the ability of faculty members to meet their work responsibilities free from legislative intrusion.

UHPA Safeguards Your Intellectual Property: New Rights for Faculty Members

UHPA knows that as a faculty member you have made significant investments to develop and expand your knowledge in your specific field of study. The original materials you create for your classes and other purposes are the result of years of research. You have no doubt become a subject matter expert and your work deserves to be protected from misuse or copyright infringement.

You can be reassured that you are protected from having your works misused. After two years of tough negotiations with UH administration, UHPA has successfully included new contract language that respects the rights of faculty members. Article XI Intellectual Property, Patents and Copyrights, now in effect for faculty members, spells out the terms and conditions for any work for hire by the University of Hawaii.

Works for hire for copyrightable materials must meet specified conditions that are defined in the contract and can be enforced through the grievance procedure. The new language allows copyrightable products—as well as patents—to be subject to shared revenue agreements. This was designed so that faculty can receive an equitable economic return on any of their work that may be sold. The contract contains an updated definition of copyright, and UHPA now receives copies of all work-for-hire agreements.

UHPA and UH is in the process of developing templates for work-for-hire agreements to ensure there is compliance with the contract terms and conditions. Watch for more details.

UHPA Stops Residency Requirements for Lecturers! Being a UHPA Member has Advantages!

In June community college lecturers started receiving notices that because they did not reside in Hawaii they could no longer be hired to work for the community colleges. This action was taken unilaterally without regard to contractual rights of lecturers and the harm that could occur to instructional programs for Fall 2019. At risk were rights to long term rolling contracts, rights of assignments of 6 credits per semester, annual contracts, and health insurance benefits.

UHPA successfully prevailed in stopping the Community Colleges from implementing and imposing a change in conditions of employment for lecturers. Contrary to the misinformation that was circulating on some campuses there is no Hawaii law that requires hiring of only persons who reside in Hawaii. The University is exempt from state law that requires employees to be residents.

All Community College faculty members should receive notice from the employer that there is no residency requirement.

If you’re a UHPA member your support makes these wins possible!

UHPA’s Aulani Resort special offer availability shrinking quickly – book now

We had an immediate booking response to our “Early Bird Announcement” last month about UHPA’s Aulani Resort heavily discounted offer.  We now have less than half of the reserved rooms available.  If you are considering bringing the family to the Aulani resort this year, we suggest you make your reservations now.  This event sells out every year and rooms go on a first-come, first-served basis.

Our special rates are in effect for Oct 25 & 26.  Want to stay longer? You can reserve dates up to 5 days before or after our special rate days as long as those dates include our special rate days.  This year brings a special treat as it overlaps with the Hawaii Food and Wine Festival “Life’s a Beach” event at the Ko Olina resort – tickets available separately.