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HSTA: 54 percent of members participated in contract vote

By Mary Vorsino

LAST UPDATED: 4:18 p.m. HST, Jun 4, 2012

About 54 percent of public school teachers participated in a vote last month to approve a contract proposal that teachers previously rejected, union officials announced over the weekend.

The turnout was smaller than the approximately 9,000 teachers who voted on the agreement in January.

Since the offer was previously turned down, the governor says it is not valid and has urged the teachers union to return to the bargaining table.

The Hawaii State Teachers Association released the turnout figures after the union’s board certified them Saturday.

Voting occurred May 17 to May 22.

On May 23, the union announced that 66 percent of teachers had voted to support the agreement. The results were a reversal of the vote in January, when 67 percent of teachers rejected the deal.

In all, some 6,819 members participated in the vote, which occurred online or over the phone, HSTA said.

In releasing the turnout figures, HSTA President Wil Okabe thanked teachers for their understanding “during this difficult year.”

“No matter how you voted, thank you for staying focused and moving forward together,” he told members in an internal memo.

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