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.