The Senate Committee on Labor
Thursday, February 1, 2018
2:55 PM, Conference Room 229
RE: SB 2372 Relating to the Hawaii Labor Relations Board
Attention: Chair Jill Tokua, Vice Chair J. Kalani English and members of the Committee
The University of Hawaii Professional Assembly (UHPA) urges the committee to pass SB 2372. SB 2372 recognizes there are circumstances that necessitate a proactive approach to allowing a duly established state entity, the Hawai‘i Labor Relations Board, to have emergency rulemaking authority.
Based upon the anticipated 2018 US Supreme Court ruling in Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Council 31, US Supreme Court Docket No. 16-1466 the constitutional and statutory underpinnings of Hawaii public sector collective bargaining may be at risk. The proponents in Janus seek to undermine the financial ability of unions to effectively fulfill their statutory obligations of negotiations and representation. This outcome may also affect the ability of government to perform its duties as management and maintain an orderly set of operational policies.
Often when there are court decisions that call for statutory changes, it is the Legislature that is vested with the obligation and authority to comply with a given order. The challenge is when the Legislature is not in session and an event or series of circumstances are sufficiently harmful that immediate action to mitigate the damage is necessary. UHPA believes that the current circumstances presented by the Janus case, and its brethren which are making their way through the Federal Courts, may present immediate, important questions regarding the application of Chapter 89.
The Hawai‘i Labor Relations Board is vested with resolving labor management disputes, interpreting the application of Chapter 89, and advising the legislature on matters covered by Chapter 89. It is within this context that SB 2372 requests that the HLRB be granted emergency rulemaking powers to be utilized when the need to act immediately is important to effectuating the values and goals of Hawai‘i law.