Aloha Bargaining Unit 7 Faculty:
Yesterday, Governor David Ige announced a unilateral decision to impose a 20% pay cut for State employees, effective May 1, 2020. (First responders will receive a 10% pay cut.)
Many UHPA members have expressed their outrage and confusion. We want to reassure you that the Governor has no legal authority, right, or privilege to unilaterally negate or disregard our current Unit 7 contract. While he and other State officials may attempt to impose this pay cut as part of his emergency proclamation, we want to make it clear that imposing a 20% pay cut on May 1, 2020 or any future date is not allowable.
As part of our existing contract, changes to existing wages, hours, and working conditions of Unit 7 faculty members require the Governor to negotiate in good faith and obtain mutual consent. To date, this has not occurred or even begun.
While the Governor may have attempted to soften the blowback to him by convening a face-to-face meeting between his cabinet staff and Hawaii’s public sector labor union leaders, his proposal did not come with any specifics on how this will be accomplished, who will be affected, or how long this will be in effect. Even UH President David Lassner and the UH Board of Regents were not included in the Governor’s proposed “solution.” It was irresponsible to make such an announcement without details and, as expected, this fueled a lot of anxiety and generated a lot of questions since his cabinet staff did not have concrete answers.
UHPA along with its 3,500+ members recognize these are unprecedented and difficult times for all. Taking the next crucial steps in dealing with this situation and restoring Hawaii’s economy will take careful thought and prudent decisions that are based on projections supported by facts, data and evidence. Knee-jerk, reactionary measures based on faulty assumptions, innuendoes, and political aspirations do not demonstrate leadership during a time when true leadership is needed.
We hope that our Governor and our leaders will rethink their strategy and approach and begin to engage in meaningful dialogue and discussions on how to deal with the financial exigency the COVID-19 virus has created for our State.
Christian L. Fern
UHPA Executive Director