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.

Political Action Fund Objection

The University of Hawaii Professional Assembly (UHPA) has an active Political Endorsement Committee that has participated in state & federal elections through political endorsements, contributions to candidates and independent expenditures on behalf of our endorsed candidates. The UHPA Board of Directors has taken action to allocate from the dues of all UHPA Active members an amount of $5.00 a month to be placed in a Political Action Fund. The Fund will be subject to the accounting requirements and used for purposes consistent with the Hawaii State Election and Federal Election laws.

Our policy allows Active members of UHPA to object to the $5.00 per month allocation to the Political Action Fund. This will not lower their total dues, but it will not add to the total amount of funds allocated for partisan political purposes with respect to candidate endorsements and contributions. If an Active member chooses to object to this funding, they will not be allowed to vote on any recommendation for candidate endorsements made by the Board of Directors.

The request to withhold funding from the Political Action account must be made each year.  If you do not wish to contribute to the “candidate endorsement” fund for fiscal year 2019-2020, then you must sign, date, and return an UHPA Allocation Objection Form by September 3, 2019.

The UHPA Board of Directors has taken this action in response to the strong feelings held by some members that the union should not participate in making candidate endorsements or political contributions. However, we believe it is essential for a public sector union to maintain a political presence since the fundamental work of our bargaining with the State of Hawaii is ultimately subject to legislative approval.

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.

Announcement of New UHPA Faculty Representatives

Effective June 1, 2019 the newly elected UHPA Faculty Representatives started their three-year term. They are an important connection between the UHPA leadership and our Active membership.

Click here to find the UHPA Faculty Representative representing your department.

Unfortunately, only 79 of the 134 positions are currently filled. If the faculty rep position for your department is vacant and you are interested in serving, please send us an email at feedback@uhpa.org or call the UHPA office at (808)593-2157.

UHPA Making Difficult Post-Janus Budget Modifications

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on Janus v. AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees) a year ago has impacted many unions across the nation.

Some union members are choosing to forgo paying membership dues since this is no longer required. Many are willing to gamble with the risks of not having union representation when confronted with adverse working conditions, even while a troubling number of grievances and other collective bargaining contract violations continue.

Becoming More Resilient

Although the intent behind Janus was to cripple unions, UHPA, like many other unions, is learning to adapt to this new environment and be more resilient. With the decreased number of paying UHPA members and a loss in the number of bargaining unit positions, UHPA’s Board of Directors recently reprioritized its budget for the new fiscal year beginning July 2019 to more effectively serve the dues-paying members.

Increased Resources for Contract Enforcement and Advancing Faculty Rights

The 2018-19 academic year saw a rise in the number of legislative and contract issues that threaten to undermine faculty rights and protections. Not only has the Governor attempted to modify the salary reopener settlement but is interfering in contract language that has been agreed to between the UH and UHPA. The continuation of supplying “private” faculty member information to legislators is ongoing. It is anticipated there will be needed enforcement activities which include arbitrations, HLRB proceedings, and court actions at an increasing level.

Seeking Stronger Alignment with Community Partners

UHPA has had to rethink the way it organizes to build a stronger base of support for its members. For example, this coming fiscal year, the UHPA Board of Directors voted to suspend sponsorship of PBS Hawaii and Hawaii Public Radio. The board also decided to withdraw from the Hawaii State AFL-CIO and seek community alliances that are more aligned with the objectives and values of UHPA to support the needs of UHPA members. These include family leave and affordable housing.

Watch for more details in the coming months.

Polynesian Cultural Center July 4th Celebration

The Polynesian Cultural Center (located at 55-370 Kamehameha Highway in Laie) joins with many around Hawai’i in the United States’ Independence Day festivities. In honor of recognizing those who give day in and day out for the betterment of our Hawai’i, they have extended an invitation to our members to come and enjoy the activities, games, food and retail vendors, entertainment, and especially the Fireworks Spectacular.

UHPA members are being offered the following discounts for their July 4th event:

  • Special $15 price for admission to the villages of the Polynesian Cultural Center (regular price is $64.95).
  • Special $15 price for their Island Buffet dinner served between 5 and 7 pm. A full family buffet with fresh fruits and salads, multitude of main dishes, a wide variety of desserts, as well as Pepsi fountain products.
  • Special $15 price for reserved seating in the 7:30 spectacular, Hā: Breath of Life. Be a part of the voyage of life as Mana navigates his journey from his birth, to the death of a loved one, to the birth of his own child. With this ticket purchase, guests will be able to enter a reserved standing area to view the Fireworks Spectacular, which will immediately follow Hā.

Guests may purchase any of the 3 offers above in any combination, but please note that only the Hā show ticket purchase will allow guests to access the reserved standing area for the fireworks viewing.

An UHPA member ID card holder may purchase up to 4 tickets per special, per ID. Advanced reservations are strongly recommended by calling (808)293-3333.

UHPA 2019 NEWLY ELECTED DIRECTORS & OFFICERS

On Saturday, April 27, 2019 the UHPA Board of Directors met and welcomed eight newly elected and two re-elected Board members from across Hawai‘i .

Elected to represent their campus for three-year terms are:

  • Samuel Giordanengo, Associate Professor of History, representing Hawaii Community College.
  • Jeffrey Mexia, Assistant Professor in English, representing Kauai Community College.
  • Karla Hayashi, Director of Kilohana, representing the University of Hawaii at Hilo.
  • Daniel Harris-McCoy, Associate Professor of Language & Literature of Europe and Americas, representing the University of Hawaii at Mānoa.
  • Akihiko Masuda (re-elected), Associate Professor of Psychology, representing the University of Hawaii at Mānoa.
  • Erik Guentner, Professor of Mathematics, representing the University of Hawaii at Mānoa.
  • Glenn Teves (re-elected), Assistant Extension Agent of CTAHR Maui County, representing the University of Hawaii at Mānoa.
  • Nathaniel Hartmann, Associate Professor of Marketing, representing the University of Hawaii at Mānoa.

Elected to represent their campus for one-year terms are:

  • Norman Takeya, Assistant Professor of Architectural, Engineering & CAD Tech, representing Honolulu Community College.
  • Jason Higa, Assistant Professor of Anatomy, Biochemistry & Physiology, representing the University of Hawaii at Mānoa.

Lynne Wilkens, President of UHPA, conducted the meeting as her final act as President. The last item on the agenda was the election of new officers for the UHPA Executive Committee.  Congratulations to:

  • President: Ashley Maynard, UH-Mānoa
  • Vice President: Karla Hayashi, UH-Hilo
  • Secretary: John Casken, UH-Mānoa
  • Treasurer: Tom Apple, UH-Mānoa
  • Members-at-Large:  Erik Guentner (UH-Mānoa),  Jeffrey Mexia (Kauai CC), Glenn Teves (UH-Mānoa)

UHPA Members Notice of Annual Membership Meeting

Please be informed that the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly will be holding its 45th Annual Membership Meeting at:

KAPIOLANI COMMUNITY COLLEGE
KOPIKO BUILDING B
Rooms 127 and 128
4303 Diamond Head Road
Honolulu, Hawaii 96816

Friday, April 26, 2019
3:30 – 4:30 p.m.

This content is made available to UHPA Members only via our Google Drive files. If you’re not a member, signup is quick and easy via our online form.

UHPA Annual Membership Meeting for 2019

Please be informed that the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly will be holding its 45th Annual Membership Meeting at:

KAPIOLANI COMMUNITY COLLEGE
KOPIKO BUILDING B
Rooms 127 and 128

4303 Diamond Head Road
Honolulu, Hawaii 96816

Friday, April 26, 2019
3:30 – 4:30 pm

For directions, see campus map

2019 UHPA Board of Directors’ Election

In accordance with the UHPA Bylaws, the UHPA Nominations & Elections Committee is charged with preparing a list of nominees for the 2019 Board of Directors’ Election.

On April 2, 2019, all UHPA Active members of the relevant constituency units (Hawaii CC, Honolulu CC, Kauai CC, UH-Manoa & UH-Hilo) will receive an email notice with voting information and instructions on voting electronically.  A link to all candidates’ biographical information and personal statements will also be provided.  The voting period for the UHPA Board of Directors’ Election will run from April 2, 2019 through April 23, 2019.