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Faculty Union Files Grievance with University of Hawaii

HONOLULU – The union that represents University of Hawaii faculty on Monday filed a class grievance directly with university president Dr. M.R.C. Greenwood, demanding she retract her letter of last week to faculty about her plans to unilaterally impose pay cuts. The University of Hawaii Professional Assembly said the grievance also demands Greenwood stop from implementing her proposed contract changes, pending arbitration.

 “We filed this class grievance on behalf of the UH faculty because of UH President Greenwood’s clear breach of contract,” said J.N. Musto, the union’s executive director and chief negotiator. “We believe it is only fair to ask for immediate arbitration and to hold UH President Greenwood’s unilateral imposition of salary reductions for UH faculty until we can have an arbitration decision.”Greenwood said in response that the filing of the grievance wasn’t unexpected, adding she disagreed with the allegation that she had breached the contract.

 “The substance of the grievance is being reviewed by counsel and we will reply to UHPA by tomorrow afternoon,” she said. “Our preference remains to reach a negotiated settlement, but such a settlement must address the university’s significant budget shortfalls this year and next.” The union maintains such unilateral action would run afoul of the faculty’s contract, saying it remains in force until a new agreement is signed.

 But Greenwood has already countered that the contract remains in place only during negotiations for a new contract and that after 15 months of negotiations contract talks are at impasse, so there are no more negotiations.Greenwood had said she was imposing a 6.7 percent pay cut.

 However, the union said Monday that the cut, coupled with a payroll lag and a reduction in health care contributions would amount to more than a 15 percent reduction in pay for faculty.

 The university and the rest of state government are working to cut costs in the face of a projected $1 billion budget deficit through June 2011.

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