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SB 406, Relating to Collective Bargaining

The Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor
The Senate Committee on Higher Education and the Arts
Thursday, February 2, 2017
1:15 PM, Conference Room 224

RE: SB 406, Relating to Collective Bargaining

Attention: Chairs Gilbert S.C. Keith-Agaran and Kai Kahele, Vice Chairs Karl Rhoads and
Michelle Kidani and Members of the Respective Committees

The University of Hawaii Professional Assembly (UHPA) urges the joint Senate committee to support passage of SB 406 that amends Section 89-6 of the Hawai‘i Revised Statute to create bargaining unit 15, allowing full-time graduate students employed at the University of Hawai‘i to collectively bargain.  

Graduate students are essential to instruction, research and mentoring undergraduate students that contributes to the overall success of the University of Hawai‘i. They are in the full sense of the term, employees, with continuing access to positions based on job and academic performance.

When representing faculty, UHPA has worked with graduates students, and on occasion, have provided guidance.  The current University of Hawai‘i policy governing Graduate Students does not provide the proper protections of this group of employees.  Collective Bargaining would allow this group the following:

  • Negotiation of grievance procedures with access to arbitration
  • Protection from arbitrary and capricious behavior
  • Negotiation of salary, wages and benefits

While UHPA is unable to represent Graduate Students, our experience indicates this group of student employees needs the ability to advance its interests in establishing appropriate conditions of employment and treatment in the workplace.

UHPA supports the passage of SB 406.

Respectfully submitted,

Kristeen Hanselman
Executive Director