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Abercrombie: HSTA breaks off talks with federal mediator

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 8:59 p.m. HST, Oct 4, 2012

The Hawaii State Teachers Association has ended mediation talks with the state, Gov. Neil Abercrombie announced tonight.

"The federal mediator has informed us that HSTA is ending their participation in mediation," Abercrombie said.

"I am very disappointed that HSTA once again is not willing to engage in discussions that could resolve outstanding issues."

Union president Wil Okabe said the teachers entered into federal mediation with genuine sincerity and with an awareness that the teachers' contact will have an impact on the future of public education in Hawaii.

"In the coming weeks, HSTA will provide our teachers and the public a more detailed accounting of what led up the the breakdown in bargaining with this governor," Okabe said.

He said Abercrombie violated ground rules of mediation by issuing a statement to the news media by himself and not jointly with the union.

The teacher's union agreed with the state on Aug. 20 to engage the help of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.

Abercrombie said his administration remains willing to engage in mediation.

"It is impossible to negotiate with people who refuse to talk," Abercrombie said.

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