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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, January 26, 2010

UHPA members ratify new contract with University of Hawaii

Advertiser Staff

University of Hawaiçi professors overwhelmingly ratified a new contract today that includes a temporary 6.7 percent pay reduction until July 2011.

Some 83 percent of members voted to approve the contract, while 17 percent voted against it, an UHPA news release said.

Voting on the new contract wrapped up at noon today.

The tentative agreement between the university and the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly includes three lump-sum payments to reimburse professors for the money lost to the 6.7 percent pay cut and a 3 percent pay raise in 2013 and 2014. The pay cut is for 18 months, starting this month. The money will be restored starting August 2012.

J.N. Musto, UHPA executive director and chief negotiator, said the contract “addresses the short-term crisis that has resulted from a severe restriction of previously appropriated state general funds.”

But, he added, “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.”

Here are highlights of the tentative agreement, from the news release:

  • “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.

  • “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 the university employment.

  • “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 percent.”

    In a statement, UH President M.R.C. Greenwood said of the ratification, “I thank the faculty for ratifying this important agreement. It is a necessary step to financial stability for the University of Hawaii system.”

    She added, “This financial crisis has resulted in a greater demand on our public education system. Our enrollment increased over 8 percent last year. We look forward to working together with our faculty to advocate for the University of Hawaii, with the message that investing in higher education today is critical to the state’s economy and its future.”