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UHPA Open Letter to Hawaii State Legislators and our Faculty Members

The University of Hawaii Professional Assembly is grateful and offers our thanks to  our Hawaii State Legislators who approved the scheduled salary increases for all public-sector employees at the State Capitol today.

The previously negotiated 2% salary increase will go into effect on July 1, 2020 for 11-month faculty and August 1, 2020 for 9-month faculty.  In addition, the 1.2% salary increase for faculty pursuant to Article XXX, Duration of the 2017-2021 Unit 7 Agreement, which was to have gone into effect on January 2, 2020, will be retroactively funded with today’s vote.

We worked with our elected officials and provided all the relevant information they needed to help them make a conscientious decision, and we are grateful for the decision that they made.

Public-sector employees are the ones who are responsible to keep essential government services and programs in our state operating – even during an extremely dangerous worldwide pandemic.  The passage of this measure is especially critical now as we all work together to help reboot and rebuild our state’s economy.  The Legislators vote in favor of the salary increases reflects its commitment and support for the State’s economic stabilization, recovery, and resilience.  There is no question that our hard working and dedicated faculty play a significant role in the State’s stability, recovery, and resilience through its nationally recognized research programs, innovation, medical and technological advancements, and excellence in providing high quality post-secondary education to the next generation of leaders.

A big MAHALO to all the faculty members who reached out to legislators these past several weeks to share their personal stories and perspectives in support of salary increases for all faculty. We know public higher education is the equalizer that is sorely needed right now for our State and our Nation during these times. During the Great Recession, UH experienced a significant increase in student enrollment as individuals went back to school to learn new skills to help better prepare themselves for the demands of an ever changing and evolving work environment. We anticipate there will be even more of a demand for higher education across the county, as well as, locally as a result of this pandemic.

Thank you to all the faculty for your ongoing commitment to your students and our community. You make significant contributions to the stabilization and growth of our economy. UH faculty also continue to attract federal, private, and out-of-state funding, which is especially important with the constraints on the state budget to generate jobs and spawn new industries and applications.

Keep up the great work. And stay tuned for more updates.

Christian L. Fern
UHPA Executive Director