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Teachers ask governor to return to bargaining table

By Mary Vorsino

LAST UPDATED: 11:35 a.m. HST, Jul 27, 2011

The teachers union has reached out to Gov. Neil Abercrombie to try to resume contract negotiations.

“I am now appealing to you as Neil — a person who I know is better able to resolve this matter than those to whom you have delegated too much authority,” Wil Okabe, president of the Hawaii State Teachers Association, wrote in a letter to the governor Tuesday.

Okabe added, “Please join me in bringing our teams together to resolve the remaining issues before the school year begins.”

Public school students return to classes Monday.

The state and union have been embroiled in a contract dispute since late June, when the state declared an impasse and announced that it would unilaterally implement its “last, best and final” contract offer on July 1.

The “last, best” offer included pay cuts, furloughs and higher health care premiums for teachers.

The Governor’s Office could not be immediately reached this morning to provide a comment on Okabe’s letter.

The governor and schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi have previously said the imposed contract was needed to avoid layoffs and cuts to instructional time.

Okabe’s letter was shared with HSTA members this morning on a members-only web page.

The union has for weeks called on the state to return to the bargaining table.

HSTA has also filed a prohibited practices complaint with the Hawaii Labor Relations Board, arguing the state acted in bad faith when it implemented a contract without union approval.


HSTA President's letter to governor

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