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HSTA, governor to take contract dispute to federal mediator

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 01:34 a.m. HST, Aug 21, 2012

Leadership at the Hawaii State Teachers Association has agreed to an offer by Gov. Neil Abercrombie to use a federal mediator to resolve their long-standing contractual differences.

The state and HSTA issued a joint statement Monday night. The HSTA board of directors approved the plan this evening.

Said HSTA president Wil Okabe: "We would like to announce that our Negotiations Committee and the HSTA Board of Directors have agreed to the governor's recommendation to enter into federal mediation in an attempt to resolve the current contract dispute. We look forward to beginning the mediation process as soon as possible." 

Abercrombie made the offer Aug. 14. “This is a step forward, by both sides, to find a solution that will resolve our differences for the sake of our students and school teachers,” he said.

The governor said the invitation “is not about establishing who is right or who is wrong, but rather to re-engage HSTA in discussions which can lead to a resolution of the issues that separate us.”

The state’s public school teachers have been operating under a labor dispute since June 2011.

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SomebodyElse wrote:
Way to lead Governor. Have somebody else negotiate for you.
on August 20,2012 | 09:31PM
oneindisarray wrote:
As an HSTA member, allow me to note how annoyingly frustrating it is that I went to the HSTA "members only access" website and found ZERO updates on this issue even though the 5 o'clock news said the Board of Directors was meeting to talk it over. NNow I look at this website and find the update. This has nothing to do with leadership... I am incredibly disappointed in my Union's ability to convey news like this to its members before the media.
on August 20,2012 | 09:51PM
Steve96785 wrote:
HSTA has never, ever, informed it's membership of anything before the media. I suspect that even if they tried to get the word out to the teachers first, it would be leaked to the media long before most teachers found out. It would be nice if they actually posted such info to their web site before it was in print for the general public, though.
on August 21,2012 | 05:36AM
HD36 wrote:
Public sector unions now outnumber private sector unions. Their salary and pensions are causiing cities like San Bernadino and Stockton, both in CA, to file for bankruptcy. It's no wonder when you have a police seargent make $314,000 a year and the average fire fighter makes $130,000. Just today, a guy told me his neighbor, a city worker, punches in at 7:am and is back at his house watching tv untill noon. He's going to retire making $65,000 a year. He lives high on the mountain in a nice 5 dedroom house with a BMW and a Porshe in his garage. It's no wonder the public sector unions are the strongest voting bloc across the country. Once Kennedy signed the executive order allowing public sector unions, the country was doomed to live with the conflict of interest between the unions and their boss, the one they elected. The spread of city bankruptcies will spread to states, all the way up to the federal government unless they clean house now. Don't spend what you don't have!
on August 21,2012 | 12:07AM
Steve96785 wrote:
Cities can and do go bankrupt. As sovereign entities, a state can not file bankruptcy in the US.
on August 21,2012 | 05:29AM
HD36 wrote:
Not yet, but if you're insolvent, you eiher have to raise taxes and fees or cut spending. As more cities go bankrupt I believe the courts will have to let states follow suit.
on August 21,2012 | 10:16AM
Steve96785 wrote:
I don't profess to be a lawyer, but the competent constitutional lawyers I know are all agreed that it would require an amendment to the constitution to allow that to happen. Not impossible, but highly unlikely.
on August 21,2012 | 01:29PM
AhiPoke wrote:
I agree. Fortunately our firefighters and police don't make that kind of money but they do make too much for what they do. I know several firefighters and policemen and also people who work in those departments. They all have stories of how little they do everyday. I know of several retirees who have been allowed to go back to "work" at their departments, clocking in for 1-2 days per week, and effectively do nothing. They spend their time doing personal business while getting paid by the city/state. When you also consider that they can retire in their early 50's it becomes an unsustainable system. Our city is headed for bankruptcy. I'm not sure what the state will do when they run out of money as they can't declare bankruptcy. BTW, when officials of those cities declaring bankruptcy were asked why they didn't make changes before it happened, their answers were all similar. The public unions and the politicians effectively formed pacts where each side did things to benefit the other. The unions endorsed and campaigned for politicians and the politicians supported more pay and benefits for the public unions. Sound familiar?
on August 21,2012 | 10:08AM
Steve96785 wrote:
If a fireman plays volleyball and polishes the fire truck for 99 out of 100 days, but then saves your life and your house from a fire on day 100, haven't they, in fact, earned those wages all along. Some jobs are constant boredom, some have a little excitement built in. for a fire fighter or police office there may be days of consummate terror and near-death danger. I don't think that they should be unionized, but they do deserve a living wage and a lot more support and pay than permanent welfare mothers.
on August 21,2012 | 11:06AM
Bdpapa wrote:
Good example!
on August 21,2012 | 01:03PM
peanutgallery wrote:
As Hawai stands on the brink of becoming another city poised for bankrupsty, you can thank your government employee and his union. They are a reli,c and need to be dissloved.
on August 21,2012 | 02:35AM
Steve96785 wrote:
While Hawaii may only have one real city, and Honolulu may one day go bankrupt because of rail, the State is not and can not become bankrupt financially. Morally, both city and state government went over that cliff long ago.
on August 21,2012 | 05:32AM
HD36 wrote:
Technically, not yet, however if the courts follow the Bekine ruling allowing municipalities to file for bankruptcy, then it will pass constitutional muster under the contracts clause.
on August 21,2012 | 10:14AM
Bdpapa wrote:
Dissolve what you want, but pay our professional educators a fair wage.
on August 21,2012 | 05:42AM
Steve96785 wrote:
People on welfare "earn" the equivlent of about $18 per hour. At the entry level of teaching in this state, it is a toss-up between wages and going on welfare. Welfare certainly does not require you to put in the 10-12 hour days that teaching requires, and it has no start up costs such as earning advanced degrees. Baby sitters make far more money on a per student/per hour basis. What teaching does offer is a career pathway with low pay, very low public regard but high personal rewards as long as you enjoy seeing the light come on for kids, and can defer personal financial gain. The job is not for everyone, but it is extremely unlikely that teachers are breaking any banks but their own to pay for the things their classrooms should have in order to engage between 25 and 200 students each and every day.
on August 21,2012 | 06:58AM
AhiPoke wrote:
Personally I think good teachers make too little for what they do. Unfortunately, due to unionization, good teachers do not have a way to be recognized and rewarded. Currently unions serve to protect the inept, under-performing teachers, which then effectively punishes the good ones. On top of that, your union leaders have feather-bed positions. As already stated they do very little for their members and probably make significantly more. If I were a teacher I'd be trying to dump the union.
on August 21,2012 | 09:38AM
Steve96785 wrote:
Wish we could do that. The Hawaii State Constitution mandates public-worker unions. Maybe in the early '70s HSTA was on the ball. They certainly are not there any longer, and they have been dragging teachers down for at least the last 20 years. Decertifying a union is difficult enough. finding another union that wants to represent teachers has been even harder. As a former picket captain I can assure you that leading teachers is akin to herding squirrels. And I agree that the union only seems to help those teachers who are utter disasters in the classroom. In over 30 years in our classrooms, I've only made the mistake of joining the union one year [and ended up as school rep and ultimately picket captain] but they are allowed by state law to take the full membership dues out of my salary anyway, even when it is used fur illegal political purposes.
on August 21,2012 | 11:02AM
akulepapiomoi wrote:
Abercrombie=Fail. HSTA=Fail.
on August 21,2012 | 05:28AM
lowtone123 wrote:
Where's Joan Husted when you need her?
on August 21,2012 | 11:45AM
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