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The Senate Committee on Labor

Tuesday, March 27, 2018, 2:45 PM, Conference Room 229

RE: SCR 111/SR 69 Urging the Hawai‘i Labor Relations Board…

Attention: Chair Jill Tokua, Vice Chair J. Kalani English and members of the Committee

The University of Hawaii Professional Assembly (UHPA) strongly encourages the committee to support S.C.R  NO.111. Support affirms that the purpose of Chapter 89, Hawai‘i Revised Statutes should continue to ensure exclusive representatives have the financial resources that support collective bargaining. Hawai‘i has long supported the sharing of collective bargaining costs across all employees of a bargaining unit. These agency fee provisions make it possible for public sector unions to provide sufficient representation to employees in negotiations and the continuing obligations to enforce the contract.

On February 26, 2018 the United States Supreme Court heard Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Council 31,et al., which could result in no longer requiring unionized employees to financially support the costs of collective bargaining and maintenance of benefits and protections that are provided through negotiations. The potential loss of agency fee means that exclusive representatives could be sufficiently wounded and their obligations to represent employees will be undermined thru a loss of financial resources.

Should the Supreme Court find that mandatory agency fees are illegal S.C.R NO.111 establishes the intent of the legislature to support adaptive changes in Hawai‘i law that will maintain the financial viability of unions. The resolution notes that there are periods of time where the legislature is not in session yet there may be a need for a state agency, such as the Hawai‘i Labor Relations Board, to take action that will limit the financial impact on unions where bargaining unit members refuse to pay a pro rata share of collective bargaining costs.

Janus will not change the union’s obligation to represent all bargaining unit members but could harm a unions ability to do so by stripping it’s financial resources through allowing “free riders”. Free Riders enjoy the benefits of negotiations and expect their colleagues to pay for the costs of collective bargaining. This is an insidious manner to make unions ineffectual by stripping them of resources.

S.C.R NO. 111 attests to the Legislature’s continuing commitment to support the purpose of Chapter 89 and ensuring that duly-elected exclusive representatives be able to fulfill their statutory duties.  UHPA strongly urges the committee support S.C.R. NO. 111.

Respectfully submitted,

Kristeen Hanselman, Executive Director