The University of Hawaii Professional Assembly filed a class grievance directly with UH President M.R.C. Greenwood on behalf of UH faculty (bargaining unit 7 members) this afternoon, demanding that she immediately retract her letter sent to faculty on Dec. 28 about her plans to unilaterally impose her “last, best, final offer.” The grievance also demands her to stop from implementing her proposed contract changes, pending arbitration.
The grievance, which is allowed under the current contract agreement, was hand-delivered to Greenwood this afternoon and UHPA is demanding documentation of her compliance with her signature by 4 p.m. tomorrow, Tuesday, Jan. 5.
UHPA asked for a rapid response because of the magnitude of her proposed action and to avoid litigation.
“We filed this class grievance on behalf of the UH faculty because of UH President Greenwood’s clear breach of contract. We believe it is only fair to ask for immediate arbitration and to hold UH President Greenwood’s unilateral imposition of salary reductions for UH faculty until we can have an arbitration decision,” said J.N. Musto, UHPA executive director and chief negotiator. “UHPA has always bargained in good faith and worked within the parameters of the collective bargaining process. We can only hope this action encourages UH President Greenwood to begin to do the same.”
The grievance pointed out, according to a decision and award by Arbitrator Mario Ramil on July 20, 2009, UHPA’s current agreement did not expire on June 30, 2009, but continues in force and effect. UHPA sought and obtained judicial confirmation of the decision award in First Circuit Court, and noted that the UH administration did not object to the court’s confirmation. A judgment on this was entered in First Circuit Court on December 17, 2009.
The final judgment was “unqualified and did not stipulate any circumstances under which UH could ignore, abrogate, or be released from the governing agreement, other than by reaching agreement on a replacement agreement,” the grievance noted. Arbitrator Ramil stated that the agreement continued because the parties had not reached a successor agreement.
With the binding agreement in place, Greenwood’s letter constitutes a “wholesale breach of contract.” The proposed unilateral changes, which include a 6.667% pay cut, a payroll lag that amounts to a 4.2% reduction, and the reduction in healthcare contributions, amount to more than a 15% reduction in pay for faculty.
In addition, by sending her letter directly to UH faculty, Greenwood violated UHPA’s right to serve as the exclusive representative of the faculty (bargaining unit 7) that was established in the agreement.