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Saturday, April 20, 2013
UHPA Pushes Back Against NEA Raid, Cyberattack
By Selected News Articles @ 4:20 PM :: 5973 Views :: Higher Education, Labor

Message from UHPA to UHPA members April 18, 2013

Misuse of UHPA’s Name

UHPA has learned that members are receiving email messages that mistakenly may be assumed to be from UHPA, but are in fact not being issued from UHPA. These emails and other communications use UHPA’s name such as “UHPAToday,” but the messages do not reflect the positions of the UHPA Board of Directors nor do they represent the type of messages UHPA typically issues. We appreciate the members who have called our attention to these confusing messages, and offer the following clarifications:

Improper Use of the UH Email System

It is a Hawaii ethics violation to use the employer’s email for communications that are unrelated to employee work. As the exclusive collective bargaining representative of the UH faculty, UHPA has the right to use the hawaii.edu address in the course of business. However, even with this allowance, UHPA has been judicious in its use of the UH email system to ensure compliance with all applicable laws. UHPA has not authorized any other persons, faculty members or organizations to use the UH system email for communications with faculty regarding UHPA or its role as bargaining agent.

Misuse of Private Information

On March 18, UHPA President Adrienne Valdez issued a letter to NEA President Dennis Van Roekel requesting that NEA stop direct communications with UHPA members. This request has not been honored. Members continue to receive phone calls and other communications from the National Education Association. 

UHPA did not release private phone numbers, email or contact information to the NEA. NEA has this information as a result of UHPA’s current affiliation with NEA that continues through September 2013. Faculty members should expect that there will be repeated efforts to contact you in some manner. If you do not wish to be contacted, inform NEA and their representatives.

NEA’s communications are designed to undermine the UHPA elected leadership and the By-laws of our union. The NEA direct communication with members also challenges UHPA’s role as the exclusive collective bargaining representative for the UH faculty through attacks on leaders that do not agree with them. NEA has even begun to circulate a petition in an attempt to rescind the Board’s vote to disaffiliate with the NEA.

Rationale for Disaffiliation

The UHPA Board of Directors’ decision to disaffiliate from the National Education Association was made in the best interests of the bargaining unit and its future needs to meet the challenges of a unique university environment in Hawaii, particularly the link between contract negotiation, funding, and local government relations.

The vote to disaffiliate was never an anti-NEA vote. To the contrary, UHPA sought to continue to work with NEA in a coalition on social justice issues, including cost sharing, where there was common ground. The NEA had no interest in pursuing mutual efforts.

UHPA’s Disaffiliation: Impact on NEA

The Board decision was not intended to create winners and losers. Unfortunately, the NEA tactics make this a battle of winning at all costs. In part this relates to the significant membership and dues loss suffered by NEA since 2010.  When NEA President Van Roekel spoke to the UHPA Board in July 2012, he noted that between September 1, 2010 and September 1, 2012, the NEA was projecting to lose 150,000 members. Projections from NEA in 2012 cite an anticipated total loss of 308,000 members by 2014.

UHPA’s membership represents 1/1000 of NEA’s total membership and collectively contributes more than $350,000 in net dues to NEA. With NEA’s declining membership, even UHPA’s decision is a threat to NEA and its bottom line. However, NEA’s foremost concern may be UHPA’s influence on other higher education affiliates to consider independence as an option.

Moving Forward

At such a critical time when UH faculty members should be focused on priorities that include legislative issues affecting UH funding and preparing for our new contract negotiations, it is unfortunate the NEA is creating a distraction and seems more concerned with self-preservation than the welfare of its own members. UHPA will continue to provide substantive representation for faculty members and the challenges that UH system leadership continue to present. As issues of concern arise, please contact the UHPA office for resolution.

---30---

Star-Adv April 19: Cyberattack targets UH faculty union site 

In an email to members Thursday, UHPA said, "For the first time in 20 years, our web site is apparently under what is called a ‘denial of service attack' whereby a nefarious source is overloading our web servers by attempting a forcible entry. We are investigating this situation and are contacting the proper authorities to take appropriate action."

The incident comes in the wake of UHPA's controversial decision to end its affiliation with the National Education Association.

When asked whether she believed the cyberattack could be related to the NEA issue, Hanselman said, "It's a strange coincidence."

ILind: Faculty union board under pressure following vote to drop NEA affiliation

• A petition is being circulated calling for the board “to rescind the vote to disaffiliate from NEA.

The petition begins: “We want our voices to be heard. We want leadership that actively engages us in important decisions. … Despite the year of discussion the Board had about disaffiliation, the Board failed to engage us in meaningful discussion until the eleventh hour, just two weeks before the Board’s vote to disaffiliate.”

• Opponents of disaffiliation have been soliciting support for candidates running for seats on the board who will vote to overturn the board’s prior decision.

• And NEA has been recruiting volunteers for a “virtual phone bank” on April 13 and April 20 reaching out directly to UHPA members.

In an email soliciting volunteers, NEA wrote: “We are phoning members to find out their opinion on the recent board vote to disaffiliate and get them to turn out for a membership meeting at the end of April. The phoning will happen between the hours of 10 am and 2 pm Hawaii time: 1 pm and 5:00 PDT; 4 pm to 8 pm EDT.

NEA also reported on the result of an earlier effort: “In 90 minutes, the 28 people calling dialed over 500 numbers and talked with 95 members. Many people in Hawaii still have land lines and they answer the phone when they are home. We are still following-up with some of the people who wanted to become active.”

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