The University of Hawaii Professional Assembly (UHPA) filed a motion for a temporary restraining order with the First Circuit Court this afternoon to stop UH President M.R.C. Greenwood from unilaterally imposing salary reductions for UH faculty.

The temporary restraining order would halt the nearly 6.7% pay reduction, proposed to go into effect January 1, 2010.  UHPA requested the court make the restraining order effective as soon as possible and before January 15, 2010, the first faculty pay day of 2010.  In addition, UHPA is asking the court to order an arbitration over UHPA’s class grievance that was filed with President Greenwood since she claims the issues raised in the grievance are not “arbitrable.”

“This is a day of mixed feelings for the faculty.  One the one hand, it is encouraging that President Greenwood will personally participate in the negotiations,” said J.N. Musto, UHPA executive director and chief negotiator.  “On the other hand, we are disappointed that she has not retracted her unilateral decision to impose the faculty salary reductions that became effective January 1. This left us no other alternative but to file a motion for a temporary restraining order in Circuit Court to halt this action.”

“The arbitrator’s decision and ruling this past summer concluded our existing contract continues in full force and effect until a new contract is in place, whether or not the parties are at impasse in bargaining. We are confident that we will prevail in having the Circuit Court recognize the binding nature of the continuing contract language,” Musto said.  “It appears that in order to reach an agreement on a new contract, we must first establish for the UH administration that the provisions of the existing contract continue in effect.”