UH President Now Grants Tenure and Promotion

The UH Board of Regents amended RP 9.201 to give authority to the UH President to grant Tenure and Promotion.  In the past it was the responsibility of the Board of Regents.

New Faculty Rights! Your Letter of Hire Enforceable through the Collective Bargaining Agreement

On January 24, 2017 UHPA and UH concluded a Memorandum of Understanding on Letters of Hire. This was 16 months in the making and provides that items that are bargainable contained within a letter of hire can be enforced through the grievance procedure, including arbitration.

Key Provisions

  • All Unit 7 members must receive a written letter of hire.
  • Letters of Hire shall contain all terms and conditions of employment offered and accepted by the faculty member. No undocumented promise is enforceable.
  • All documents relating to the terms of hire shall be provided and attached to the letter of hire.
  • UHPA shall receive all letters of hire and may grieve violations of the collective bargaining agreement.
  • UH must consult with UHPA on hiring policies and procedures.

Implementation

  • UHPA and the UH administration will be discussing templates that create clarity and consistency in letters of hire based on the respective campus needs. UH Manoa, due to the number of hires and complexity of issues, will be reviewed first.
  • As faculty members are engaged in hiring committees the collective bargaining agreement and the MOU on Letters of Hire should be given to potential new employees.

Always contact UHPA if you ever have questions or issues with your Letter of Hire.

Letters of Hire Actually Mean Something Now and the Promise of an MRI is Achieved

Dr. Bennett wins!

Dr. Kevin Bennett, whose fight to enforce his letter of hire included a grievance, an HLRB case, an agency appeal to Circuit Court, and the possibility of a new lawsuit in Circuit Court, has resulted in a robust settlement. The University will provide the MRI System and a functional laboratory that will allow the Dr. Bennett to continue his research and expand that which can occur in Hawaii.

Dispute over Letter of Hire promises

Dr. Bennetts was recruited to the University of Hawaii due to his work on early diagnosis of kidney disorders and his ability to establish and operate an MRI center that would enhance the work of other faculty members and allow his research to expand. Arriving in 2013 and believing that the University would provide the necessary equipment and support as agreed to in a letter of hire, Dr. Bennett proceeded to work toward the procurement of the MRI. While there were problems obtaining the original equipment, an alternative MRI was identified and the procurement process was proceeding. In Fall 2015, Dr.Bennett was informed by the Interim Dean of Natural Science that the equipment would not be purchased. The University contended that the letter of hire was not binding and could be unilaterally altered.

Dispute resolved by Dr. Bennett’s resolve

On January 24, a settlement was reached between Dr. Bennett, the University, and UHPA that ends the dispute and results in the necessary support for Dr. Bennett in advancing his work.

In addition to Dr. Bennett prevailing in his specific case, UHPA and UH have agreed to a Memorandum of Understanding on Letters of Hire. These two settlements could not have been achieved without the commitment of Dr. Bennett and the UHPA Board of Directors to hold firm in their convictions that the University must honor its commitments to faculty members.

UHPA Negotiates a Second Holiday for You

Finally a settlement regarding the 2016 dual holiday of Kuhio Day and Good Friday.

Faculty members (11 month) who accumulate vacation shall be granted an additional day of vacation leave.
All other faculty members who do not accumulate vacation( i.e. 9 month, 11 month, and faculty on “off-duty plan”) shall observe a second holiday that must be taken by December 31, 2016. There is a procedure for establishing a mutually agreed to day.  Please review the Memorandum of Understanding for details.

Manoa Faculty Senate says UH could break its written promises to you

The UH Manoa Faculty Senate has passed a resolution encouraging potential new faculty that they consult an attorney or UHPA before accepting a job offer. UH’s position that Letters of Hire may be unilaterally changed is of grave concern for all job applicants that may be interested in coming to any campus. The position taken by UH discourages the recruitment of new faculty.

It’s time for UH Manoa to Honor their Commitments to Faculty Members. UHPA Prohibited Practice Filed

On December 21, UHPA filed a prohibited practice charge with the Hawaii Labor Relations Board charging Natural Science Interim Dean Kumashiro with unilaterally and improperly canceling agreements contained within letters of hire and supplemental terms of service for department chairs. This is an important case to protect the rights of faculty in advancing the ability of UHPA to bargain and enforce letters of hire and the conditions set forth within.

A promise broken

In the case of Dr. Kevin Bennett, UH Manoa Biology, his letter of hire provided for a UH purchase of an MRI. Approval to purchase was granted as was the appropriate facility construction for the equipment. Within a few weeks of being appointed, Interim Dean Kumashiro notified Dr. Bennett that she would not allow the purchase of the equipment. While she had the funds, they would be used for other projects. This has significantly impacted the ability of Dr. Bennett to continue his academic work and research.

Questionable removal of dept chair

Dr. Kathleen Cole was department chair of the Biology Department. She was removed by Interim Dean Kumashiro which UHPA believes was due to her advocacy for Dr. Bennett along with expressing Biology faculty and student needs regarding a new facility on the Manoa campus–Snyder Prime. Upon her removal as department chair, a supplemental agreement, executed in 2014 for research support while department chair, was retracted leaving three graduate students and Dr. Cole without the funding to continue her academic work and research.

ERS Filing Sessions

If you are planning to retire this year, please refer to the schedule for individual counseling/filing sessions on the Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) website under Members Retirement Planning http://ers.ehawaii.gov/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Oahu-Fall-20151.pdf.

Employees wanting to request an individual counseling session on O‘ahu should call ERS at 586-1735, as the individual counseling sessions are filling up fast.  A registration form is also available on the last page of the ERS Counseling Appointments for Employees Retiring schedule.  On the form, please enter the last 4-digits of your social security number and your month and date of birth (the year is not required) and mail or hand-deliver the completed form to the ERS Office.  NOTE:  If it is too early to register for a session, please regularly check the ERS site for the schedule of sessions.

For neighbor island employees, please contact the neighbor island ERS representative for an appointment.  The ERS has scheduled pre-retirement workshops and informational sessions on the islands of Hawai‘i, Kaua‘i, Lāna‘i, Maui and Moloka‘i.  The pre-retirement sessions schedule and instructions to register on each island may be viewed at: http://ers.ehawaii.gov/members/planning-for-retirement.

Additional information regarding your retirement benefits is located on the ERS website at http://ers.ehawaii.gov/.  Should you have questions related to retirement, please contact ERS at:

O‘ahu – (808) 586-1735
Maui – (808) 984-8181
Hawai‘i – (808) 974-4077
Kaua‘i – (808) 274-3010

UHPA Testimony on Workload and Faculty Review

On behalf of UHPA, Executive Director J. N. Musto testified before the Board of Regents Committee on Personnel Affairs as it continued to consider changes in policies pertaining to workload and the periodic review of faculty. Testimony by UHPA ED Musto highlights the negotiating history and the continued obligation of the Board of Regents to negotiate with UHPA over the impact of such policies might have on faculty employment.  In his testimony to the regents, Dr. Musto emphasized that the first priority of any university is not just instruction, but rather “the retention, transmission and development of new knowledge” of which instruction, research, academic governance, student services, and service to the community at large are all a part.  He repeated UHPA’s commitment to work with the UH administration on all the campuses to see that teaching equivalencies for instructional faculty, development of departmental expectations and the continued implementation of the procedures governing 5-year faculty reviews continue all on the basis of the original agreements that were reached by the parties in 1986.  Dr. Musto concluded his remarks by pointing out that there should be a uniform system by which all faculty members are able to express to the students and the public the spectrum of work that they are engaged in as a part of this academic community; teaching research and service.

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?

 

Answer:
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.