Representing Your Interests at the Legislature

UHPA Legislative Update as of 4/5/2021

Monday, April 5, 2021, will be day 42 of the legislative session and next Thursday, April 15, 2021 is the 48th day and second cross-over.  On that day, there will be only seven (7) legislative session days left until Sine Die on April 29, 2021.

UHPA has been working with legislators and lobbying on behalf of its membership in the new virtual world and environment as it has since last session when in March the State Capital was shut down to the public.  While it has been a challenge for everyone to adjust and pivot in the new normal, the challenges and constant attacks on Faculty at the legislature goes on unaffected and unaltered by the effects of COVID-19.

To date, UHPA has been successful in working with legislators and testifying on bills and resolutions that have negative impact and harmful consequences on Faculty and the institution they serve.  The following are a list of bills and resolutions that UHPA has been successful in challenging and/or changing:

Nevertheless, there are still bills and resolutions alive in the Legislature that UHPA is working hard to either change, modify, or defer in its current form as it will have negative impact and harmful consequences on our Faculty if enacted.  The following is a list of bills and a resolution that UHPA is actively working on with the Legislature:

While these bills and this resolution may not apply or impact your position, department, college, or unit, don’t ever think that it may not change tomorrow or in the near future.  That is why UHPA’s Endorsement Committee vigilantly vets and interviews all candidates who request political endorsements, because we need to make sure that we can count on these elected officials to listen, recognize, acknowledge, and respect the voice of the Faculty before enacting legislation. 


For a list of all the bills that UHPA is tracking, visit our bill tracking page along with other related resources located at our Legislative Action Center.

UHPA Defends Tenure at the Legislature

Legislative Bill to Eliminate Academic Tenure for Non-Instructional Faculty Thwarted 


A legislative bill that would have adversely impacted the quality of education at the University of Hawai‘i — and affect the ability to attract and retain high quality faculty — has been put on hold. UH faculty can now breathe a sigh of relief — for now.

SB 1328 proposed to eliminate academic tenure for all “non-instructional” faculty based on the premise that their primary duties and responsibilities do not involve instruction with a commitment to student achievement and success and that granting tenure for these positions requires a long-term commitment of public resources.

UHPA Requested to Prepare a Resolution on Academic Tenure

Over the past several weeks, the UHPA leadership has been engaged in a series of productive and respectful dialogue and conversations with Sen. Donna Mercado Kim, the Chair of the Senate Higher Education Committee.  Based on UHPA recommendations, at a committee hearing last Tuesday, Feb. 16,  Sen. Mercado Kim deferred the bill and sought UHPA’s assistance to draft a resolution for the 2022 legislative session. UHPA plans to work collaboratively with the UH administration to develop a resolution for the committee to consider.

In its testimony, UHPA noted tenure for eligible faculty has been clearly outlined in collective bargaining agreements between UHPA and the UH Board of Regents since its first contract in 1975 and the subject of tenure is a cornerstone of bargainable matters under Hawaii’s collective bargaining law, Chapter 89, Hawaii Revised Statutes.

All of the other testimonies from both tenured and non-tenured faculty alike strongly opposed the bill including the University of Hawai‘i administration.

Dynamic, Multi-faceted Role of Faculty

Faculty also presented strong, compelling, and eye-opening rationale and reasons opposing the bill. Currently, Faculty are divided into different classifications based on their primary functions and some are classified with an “I” designation for “instruction.” However, these designations do not adequately and accurately convey the multi-faceted roles of faculty. Even if faculty are branded as “R” for “researcher” or “S” for “specialist,” they are still actively engaged in the instruction and provide a wealth of services and support functions focused on student achievement and success. This underscores that designations assigned to faculty do not truly reflect the diverse professional roles, responsibilities, and work they perform for the academy and the students that they serve.   

For example, research faculty mentors graduate students in the field or in laboratories, and specialists develop lesson plans, mix lectures with activities, discussion, and practice and work with distressed students or those with disabilities to insure their success. In this sense, all faculty are involved with instruction and significantly contribute to student achievement and success.

Miriam Stark, a UH anthropology professor, cited the significant contributions of faculty at the UH Cancer Research Center, UH Economic Research Organization, Water Resources Research Center and College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources that do not fit neatly into the definition of instructional faculty but overall contribute to student achievement and success.

Faculty also noted their roles are dynamic and ever changing to accommodate the needs and priorities of the university.  This makes the amount of instruction and service to student achievement and success fluid.

Purpose of Tenure

It’s important to reiterate the purpose of tenure: academic freedom for faculty. This is just as important for faculty members engaged in research as it is for an instructional faculty member. For example, tenure ensures faculty can engage in controversial research and instruction with impunity.

Another Potentially Overreaching Bill

In addition to the bill on academic tenure, the Senate Higher Education Committee also heard another bill (SB 1394), which would require that 25% of the UH research faculty’s salary be paid with extramural funds. The bill proposed to make it a requirement for all new grants,

contracts, and agreements that begin on July l, 2021, would have to stipulate that these extramural funds would be used to pay for the research faculty’s salary.

The intent of this bill was also a way to address the state’s budget, but UHPA pointed out that in the aggregate, extramural funding sources already make up more than 25% of the research faculty salaries. This bill was deferred and UHPA will collaborate with the UH administration to provide a report on this data.

2020 UHPA Legislative Agenda

Aloha,

December has arrived and it is time to prepare for the 2020 Legislative Session.  Your legislative team will now include the members of the UHPA Board of Director’s Political Endorsement Committee.  We are excited with the expansion of our legislative team.  The team prepared the Legislative Agenda for 2020 and presented it first at the October 19, 2019 Faculty Forum for their review and input. It then went before the Board of Directors at their November 2, 2019 BOD meeting and was approved for implementation.  Top priority is the Collective Bargaining appropriations Bill.  For full details please see link below.

As we start the first legislative newsletter for the 2020 session, we would like to provide you with a few resource links

Board of Regents Financial Reports Budget

UH Budget Documents

UHPA Bill Tracking

Salary and Benefits Changes Effective July 1, 2019

Salary Increases
We are entering the third year of our four-year contract. All bargaining unit 7 members will see a salary increase of 2% effective July 1, 2019, which includes lecturers, whose updated fee schedules are outlined in Article XXI, Salaries of the UHPA-BOR 2017-2021 Contract.

EUTF Premiums and Contributions
The new EUTF Plan Year for Active Employees starts on July 1, 2019. Any plan changes made during the Open Enrollment Period (April 2019) will now be reflected in your payroll deductions.  The changes in premiums and contributions can be found here.

Legislative Update Newsletter Launches

Aloha UHPA Members,

Starting this week, UHPA will be sending out up-to-date notices as often as every Thursday about legislation, testimony and hearing notices that directly impacts faculty.  We’ll only publish articles about issues that affects you and we’ll explain why. On “slow weeks”, we won’t be sending anything out, so when you see an email with “Legislative Update”, you’ll know it’s worth your time.

Our seed list of subscribers are UHPA Board Members and UHPA Faculty Reps, but all UHPA members are welcome to subscribe, just email us and we’ll be happy to add you on the list.

For those that enjoy a good deep dive, you can always follow our bill tracker links and watch the same legislation that we’re watching.

We love hearing from UHPA members so don’t hesitate to hit reply on any issue and send us your questions and concerns.

Collective Bargaing Cost Items – ON IT

The House and Senate have introduced Bills to ensure that all cost items agreed upon will be included in the 2019 budget.  Both Bills have passed through their first committees.  We will keep you updated.

Higher Ed/WAM Joint Briefing Wed. Dec. 19, 2018

COMMITTEE ON HIGHER EDUCATION
Senator Donna Mercado Kim, Chair
Senator Michelle N. Kidani, Vice Chair

 

COMMITTEE ON WAYS AND MEANS
Senator Donovan M. Dela Cruz, Chair
Senator Gilbert S.C. Keith-Agaran, Vice Chair

NOTICE OF INFORMATIONAL BRIEFING

DATE: Wednesday, December 19, 2018
TIME: 1:30 P.M.
PLACE: Conference Room 211

State Capitol

415 South Beretania Street

A G E N D A

The purpose of this informational briefing is to receive an update on the University of Hawai’i system.  Topics to be discussed will include, but are not limited to the following:

  • An overview of the university’s finances, including its base budget
  • Alternative budgetary models that the university has looked into and considered
  • Carrying capacity in relation to buildings and facilities and its effect on the university’s budget
  • Teaching capacity of tenured faculty
  • Cost reduction and revenue enhancement opportunities
  • Administrative positions and determining the appropriate ratio of administrative officials to student/faculty
  • Student tuition and enrollment
  • Update on the Hawai’i Promise Program

No public testimony will be accepted.

UHPA Celebrates Representative Lisa Kitagawa

UHPA Celebrates One of Their Own

Newly elected Representative Lisa Kitagawa represents State House District 48. Lisa was born and raised in Kāne‘ohe where her family has lived for over four generations.

Lisa is a public school graduate of Castle High School (1998) and continued her education at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.  Kitagawa received her Bachelor of Science degree in Family Resources and her Masters degree in Higher Education Administration.

For 12 years Kitagawa was employed at UH Manoa. She was a faculty and UHPA member from 2006-2011 working for the Office of Student Affairs and teaching Education Administration through the College of Education.  She also served as APT staff and worked for the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources.  Leaving in 2017 she became the key legislative aide to Representative Johanson House Labor Chair. It was Kitagawa in the 2018 session that was key to marshaling UHPA backed legislation through the House and Senate Committees in proper form and meeting all procedural deadlines.

Representative Kitagawa is knowledgeable about the University and committed to ensuring that faculty interests are protected and advanced.

We look forward to a rewarding working relationship with a new advocate for Higher Education.

UHPA Congratulates Senator Keohokalole

UHPA Congratulates Another One of Its Own
Senator Jarrett Keohokalole

Newly elected Senator Jarrett Keohokalole was elected to the Kāne‘ohe District 24 Senate seat vacated by Senator Jill Tokuda.  We congratulate Jarrett on his commitment to walk his Senate District and meet every person who would stop and engage with him in conversation.  We appreciate that he walked the District four times to establish his commitment to be visible and represent well his constituency.

Jarrett comes from a long family history in the Kāne‘ohe community.  He is the seventh generation to raise a Keohokalole family in this community.  He understands the difficulties young families experience in meeting demands for childcare, housing and obtaining good health care. He is committed to bringing improved infrasture to his District.

Keohokalole received his Bachalor of Arts degree in Journalism from the Universityof Hawai‘i at Mānoa and continued on to receive not only his JD from the William S. Richarson School of Law at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa but additionally a Certificate in Native Hawaiian Law.  Upon graduation he was hired as an Assistant Faculty Specialist by the William S. Richardson School of Law and joined UHPA in 2013.

We worked well with Jarrett as a Representative and have already engaged with him in identifying the issues to be present in the 2019 legislative session.

UHPA Stands in Solidarity with Hotel Workers

UHPA stands in solidarity with the hotel workers who have been without a contract and believes the request of the 2,700 hotel workers on Oahu and Maui for fair wages and better working conditions is fair and reasonable.