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State, UH faculty agree to contract with 4 percent raises

By Nanea Kalani

LAST UPDATED: 11:48 a.m. HST, Jun 27, 2014

University of Hawaii faculty and lecturers across the 10-campus system will receive annual 4 percent raises under a tentative agreement jointly announced on Friday morning by the faculty union and Gov. Neil Abercrombie.

The existing contract for the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly's approximately 4,000 members expires in a year. The tentative agreement, if ratified, would cover the 2016 and 2017 fiscal years, and cost $32 million.

Abercrombie and union officials called it historic and unprecedented that an agreement was reached a year in advance.

UHPA Executive Director JN Musto said negotiations were done "without the general animus that has characterized, perhaps, the last 40 years of bargaining between UHPA and the university administration."

He added, "This time there was no kabuki dance."

UH President David Lassner said student tuition revenue will not be used to cover the cost of the salary increases. He said if lawmakers do not approve general funds for the agreement, the contract will not take effect.

The university has had some difficulty in recent years getting the Legislature to fund increases agreed to in the current six-year UHPA contract. Lawmakers in past years have told UH to instead pay for them with tuition.

As part of the new two-year deal, the university and union have agreed to establish three working groups to address issues of workforce housing, child care and child-care leave, and distance and online learning benefits for members.

An electronic ratification vote is being conducted through Aug. 25, the first day of the fall semester.

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