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News Release – January 26, 2010

Contact:         Kristeen Hanselman, Associate Executive Director, (808) 593-2157

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

UHPA Members Vote in Favor of Ratifying Tentative Agreement

Final Results: 83.23% Yes Votes, 16.77% No Votes

Faculty members in bargaining unit 7 have ratified a new six-year collective bargaining agreement that substantially improves on the UH administration’s previous offer, rejected by the faculty last October.  An electronic vote began Thursday, January 21, at noon, and concluded today at 12:01 p.m.

The new agreement will replace the previous agreement, retroactive to July 1, 2009.

UHPA plans to withdraw its motion in the Circuit Court for a temporary restraining order and to compel arbitration of its claim to a continuing contract, and will also withdraw prohibited practice charges at the Hawaii Labor Relations Board related to health fund contributions.

“While this certainly addresses the short term crisis that has resulted from a severe restriction of previously appropriated state general funds, the long term future of the university remains uncertain.  Faculty have ongoing concerns about the health of the UH and want to make sure that higher education remains a priority for our state, even during these fiscally challenging times,” said J.N. Musto, UHPA executive director and chief negotiator, who led a series of ratification meetings describing the tentative agreement last week and has been answering questions from faculty.  “Faculty members want to see the plan of the UH administration that carries the institution forward, and the response it receives from the legislature and our future governor.  We will be weighing in on every action with respect to the University of Hawaii over the course of the next six years..”

Musto added that UHPA will be asking legislators to restore funding that has been allocated for the UH system, and that yesterday, UHPA launched a new TV advertising campaign to showcase the value of faculty in supporting the state and the importance of funding for UH programs.  The TV commercials are available on the UHPA Web site at www.uhpa.org.

Tentative Agreement Highlights:

Salary Reductions, Snap Back and Salary Pay Backs
According to the tentative agreement, faculty salaries would be temporarily reduced by 6.667 percent for 18 months, beginning January 1, 2010, after being raised to the new salary minimum for the various faculty ranks (i.e., instructor, assistant professor, associate professor, professor).  After June 30, 2011, faculty salaries would snap back to the salaries they were paid on December 31, 2009, and account for any increases as a result of promotions over the 18-month period. 

In addition, the reductions would be paid back to faculty who continue in employment with UH or retire during the term of the contract.  The repayments will be made in increments: 25 percent of the salary reduction amount in 2012; another 25 percent in 2013 and the final 50 percent in 2014.  There would also be a 3 percent across-the-board salary increase in years 2013 and 2014.  By contrast, the UH administration had previously offered a salary snap back provision with no restoration of the amount of the salary reduction in future years under the terms of only a two year contract.

The provisions relating to layoffs are another significant difference between the previous September LBFO and the tentative agreement.  In the previous offer, retrenchments could begin at any time and be effective July 1, 2010.  With the new contract, there can be no retrenchments before June 30, 2011.

The salary reductions do not apply to faculty positions that are covered by federal or extramural funds (research and training grants) and for those faculty members who plan to retire before December 31, 2010. In the UH administration’s last, best, final offer, this provision was previously limited to faculty who planned to retire by June 30, 2010.

Payroll Lag
The tentative agreement would allow a delay of five days in receipt of the monthly paychecks beginning June 30, 2010, eventually moving the dates to 5th and 20th of each month.  This would result in the loss of one paycheck in 2010 that would be re-paid to faculty upon retirement or when they leave university employment.

Health Insurance Premium Contributions

Under the new contract, employer contributions for health insurance premiums for faculty members will not be less than that paid to other public employees under the terms of collective bargaining agreements reached after July 1, 2009.  Unfortunately, the employer’s contributions did not increase in July 2009 when health insurance premiums went up on average of 23%.