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Governor shoots down plan for new vote on HSTA contract

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 4:26 p.m. HST, May 3, 2012

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today shot down the teachers union's plan to conduct a re-vote on a contract proposal that union members soundly rejected in January. The governor said he wants to continue negotiations with the union on a new proposal.

The statement came a day after Wil Okabe, president of the Hawaii State Teachers Association, sent a letter to the governor saying the union planned to take a new ratification vote of its members.

A negotiating session is scheduled for Monday, the governor's office said.

Abercrombie, in a news release today, noted that after the teachers voted in January to reject the proposed contract, the HSTA submitted a new proposal Feb. 28 and the administration countered with a settlement offer March 19.

In a news release today, Abercrombie said the contract offer that was rejected in January no longer has legal standing, and that the administration seeks to craft a new agreement "that is clear, current, and correct."

In the release, Abercrombie said:

"What Mr. Okabe has proposed to HSTA members is a decision made solely by HSTA leadership. This is entirely an internal union action in which we have had no participation. The letter that we received from HSTA last night was unsolicited.

"According to the Attorney General the agreement which was rejected in January 2012 has no legal standing. In addition, in February, the HSTA submitted a comprehensive proposal, which has not been withdrawn.

"We look forward to crafting an agreement with the HSTA to be submitted to teachers for ratification that is clear, current, and correct.

"As the school year ends, we appreciate the work that our teachers have done for student achievement and we look forward to resolving this labor dispute with their union."

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