The first week of the new year has already presented several challenges to the University of Hawaii community as we continue our efforts to stabilize the financial crisis in our state. As we move forward, I want to share with you the letter that I sent today to Dr. J.N. Musto PDF, and responses to a number of questions about the impasse in negotiations with the University of Hawaii professional faculty.
It is my hope that we can resolve our difficulties without litigation as I remain committed to meeting again with UHPA representatives to find a way to break the impasse in negotiations.
Jan. 5, 2010
Frequently Asked Questions on Salary Reduction Implementation
- What action did the university take and why?
After 15 months of negotiations, the University of Hawaii and the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly are at impasse. Accordingly, under the collective bargaining laws, the University of Hawaii implemented its final formal offer effective Jan. 1, 2010. Details are in the letters sent to UHPA and then distributed to the faculty on Dec. 28. Each faculty member is receiving a Payroll Notification Form detailing the salary amount that will be reflected in her or his Jan. 15 paycheck.
- Why couldn’t a settlement be reached?
The UH final formal offer called for a temporary 5-percent pay cut for 2 years until June 30, 2011. In an informal response, UHPA accepted the 5-percent cut for 2 years, but proposed a 4-year contract with restoration to current salary levels in year 3, plus a 7.5-percent raise, and then an additional 7.5-percent raise in year 4. We simply don’t have the money to fund UHPA’s proposed 15-percent increase over 2 years.
- Can the administration legally reduce faculty salaries?
Yes. There are no new proposals to consider, so unfortunately, a settlement is not currently in sight. Therefore, we are at an impasse in our negotiations. In accordance with the collective bargaining laws, we are now implementing our final formal offer which includes a reduction in faculty salaries.
- If the final offer proposed a 5-percent salary reduction, how did it become 6.7 percent?
The contract with UHPA expired on June 30, 2009. That means we are now six months past the expiration of that contract. In December we sent UHPA a modification to the final formal written offer of Sept. 15, 2009 to reflect that no settlement had been reached. Due to the delay in implementing any pay reduction, the temporary 5-percent salary reduction over 2 years was re-calculated as a 6.667-percent reduction over 18 months. It’s the same total amount of temporary salary reduction, but over a shorter period of time.
- Is UH the only institution that has reduced what faculty are being paid? Won’t this create problems with recruitment and retention?
The current financial crisis is national in scope and many public institutions throughout the country are faced with budget reductions. Hiring freezes are common, as are layoffs of both faculty and staff. In a recent national survey of public and land grant universities, over 20 percent of respondents reported reductions in what faculty and staff are being paid.
- Faculty members have been told that President Greenwood never met with the bargaining committee of the union. What are the facts—was there a meeting?
President Greenwood personally called Dr. Musto and asked for an opportunity to meet one-on-one, but she was rebuffed with a request that she meet instead with the UHPA Executive Committee. As requested by Dr. Musto, Dr. Greenwood and UH Chief Negotiator John Morton met with the UHPA Executive Committee on Dec. 2, to review the status of collective bargaining. President Greenwood provided details of an informal offer for a 4-year contract discussed with the federal mediator on Nov. 16. UHPA’s Executive Committee declined to discuss the proposal or to present any counter proposal. After that meeting, at the request of President Greenwood, Dr. Morton contacted Dr. Musto to see if UHPA was willing to meet again with UH, but UHPA declined.
- What has President Greenwood done to advocate for more funding for UH?
President Greenwood has met with scores of legislators, business and union leaders, university groups, community partners and federal officials advocating for the university and seeking new sources of funding while working to reduce costs. She offered in the past and is willing to meet with UHPA’s leadership to see if there is any mutually acceptable solution to break the impasse in negotiations.