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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, January 7, 2010

UH, faculty to resume talks

By Curtis Lum
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser
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The University of Hawai'i and its 3,500-member faculty union have agreed to resume negotiations to resolve a dispute over salary cuts that were imposed by the university last week.

In a hand-delivered letter to UH President M.R.C. Greenwood yesterday, the University of Hawai'i Professional Assembly said it wanted to return to the bargaining table and asked that Greenwood take part in the talks. The faculty union also asked that the negotiations be monitored by a federal mediator.

Late yesterday, Greenwood said she had a "cordial" discussion with UHPA executive director J.N. Musto and that they agreed to resume talks. Greenwood said she was hopeful that the two sides can work out a "reasonable and acceptable solution to our financial difficulties."

"I have agreed to participate in the next mediation session because I feel strongly that we can reach a settlement without litigation," Greenwood said in a written statement. "But I have also made it clear that the agreement we hopefully can reach with the mediator's help recognizes the financial situation of the university."

No date has been set for the two sides to get together.

The university on Friday imposed a 6.7 percent pay cut over 18 months to alleviate a $154 million reduction to its operational budget. Greenwood in a letter last month cited an impasse in negotiations with the union and the need to address the university's financial situation as reasons for the pay reductions.

Union officials demanded that Greenwood rescind the pay cut and filed a grievance over it. Greenwood on Tuesday rejected UHPA's demand.

In response to her denial, the union yesterday said it is willing to return to the table and try to hammer out an agreement.

"We appreciate president Greenwood's willingness to continue to seek an agreement with the faculty and believe it's important for her to be present at these meetings," Musto said. "With her involvement , we are hopeful that we can reach an agreement in an expeditious manner."