Labor & Work-Life Issues

U. of Hawaii Faculty Union Files Grievance Over Pay Cuts

January 04, 2010

The union for faculty members at the University of Hawaii hand-delivered a grievance to the system's president, M.R.C. Greenwood, on Monday, demanding that she retract a letter she wrote last week to tell professors their pay would be cut by 6.7 percent.

The University of Hawaii Professional Assembly said in a written statement that it considers the pay cuts a "wholesale breach of contract" and wants them put on hold until an arbitrator can weigh in. The union has asked Ms. Greenwood to provide proof of her reversal quickly—by 4 p.m. on Tuesday—because of the "magnitude of her proposed action and to avoid litigation."

J.N. Musto, the union's executive director and chief negotiator, said in the statement that the union "has always bargained in good faith" and that it hopes its grievance will encourage Ms. Greenwood to "begin to do the same."

Ms. Greenwood has said she imposed the salary reductions after 15 months of negotiations with the union came to an impasse over faculty pay, leaving her little time to cut the budget.

The union maintains that its last contract, originally scheduled to expire last June, remains in force until a new one is signed.

In a written statement issued on Monday, Ms. Greenwood said that although the university disagrees with the union's position on the status of the contract, administrators will reply by the given deadline. "Our preference is to reach a negotiated settlement, but such a settlement must address the university's significant budget shortfalls this year and next," Ms. Greenwood said. —Audrey Williams June