Categorized | Education

Greenwood on UHPA vote to reject UH offer

The University of Hawaii Professional Assembly – with about 3,000 faculty members – voted 86.2 percent to reject the university’s best and final contract offer Thursday. The union and UH negotiators are expected to return to the bargaining table next week.

Meanwhile, UH President M.R.C. Greenwood issued a statement late Thursday.

Here is the full text of Greenwood’s statement:

The university is disappointed in the UHPA vote to reject our contract offer. The highest priority of our offer was to protect students. There would be no loss of instructional days and the resulting salary savings would have helped minimize program cuts and layoffs.

We believe our offer was fair and reasonable. We proposed a 5 percent wage reduction, the lowest percentage proposed for any state employee. 

Other state employees are reportedly being asked to take cuts in the 8-9 percent range. UH has already implemented a 6-10 percent wage reduction for management. 

The university’s offer included initiating tuition scholarships for faculty dependents and minimum salary levels for faculty, two benefits UHPA has long sought. Our offer also included 13 days of paid leave which does not include instructional days.

The university’s offer to UHPA makes no changes in the current retrenchment procedure and commits to no retrenchment during fiscal year 2010. 

In addition, I had publicly committed that there would be no layoffs of tenured or tenure track faculty for fiscal reasons through fiscal year 2011.

The university is now considering its options for resolving this dispute. Budget reductions of $76 million have already been imposed on the university and the UHPA vote does not change that fact. 

The university believes that the most balanced approach to managing these reductions is through a combination of salary savings from pay reductions, payroll lags, vacancies and retirements, tuition revenues, and increased efficiencies and other cost saving measures.

The university is an essential resource to the State of Hawaii. The Board of Regents and I are determined to sustain the state’s only public institution of higher education for our students and the community, and we will continue to advocate on their behalf.

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