The leadership of the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly, the UH faculty union, lashed out last week at the National Education Association, with which it has been affiliated for nearly four decades. UHPA’s attack included a full page ad published in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and a press conference held to underscore its grievances against the national teachers union.
The outburst followed months of controversy following a vote by the union’s board of directors to cut its ties to the NEA when its current affiliation expires in September.
But the show of bravado did little to mend the serious internal rift among faculty and on the union board over the disaffiliation vote.
Here’s what one Manoa faculty member had to say after seeing the ad:
I am a UH faculty member and can’t help but wonder why UHPA decided to use my dues to pay for an ad that I find demeaning, insulting and ridiculous. Who else but faculty members will know or care about the UHPA/NEA affiliation question?
The union that is supposed to represent me has made me feel embarrassed to be a faculty member and has managed to make us look ridiculous and unprofessional in front of the entire state. What is going on with UHPA?
Further evidence of the division within the union emerged when the UHPA board met on Saturday morning, June 1. A motion to delay the split from NEA in order to allow faculty to again cast an advisory vote was narrowly defeated (10 in favor, 11 against). One board member, considered very likely to support the motion, participated in the meeting by telephone. When the phone connection was lost just the vote was being taken, UHPA president David Duffy declined to delay the vote while the call was reconnected, leaving that director unable to cast his vote.
The board leadership also rebuffed a suggestion that the controversial vote be conducted by secret ballot despite suggestions that some board members were intimidated by pressure from certain staff and board officers.
UH union board voted to cut NEA ties without discussing faculty opposition
February 28th, 2013