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State’s ‘best, final’ offer to HSTA includes wage cut

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The Department of Education said today it has given the teachers union its "last, best and final offer" in contract talks, offering a 1.5 percent wage cut but increased preparation time.

The current Hawaii State Teachers Association contract expires June 30, and the DOE and union have been in negotiations for months to a reach a deal on a new contract for the upcoming two school years.

The DOE said it wants a new deal effective July 1.

The "last, best and final offer" includes a:

>> 1.5 percent reduction in the teachers’ salary schedule and acceptance of leave without pay on certain non-instructional days for a total temporary wage reduction equivalent to 5 percent;

>> Increased preparation time for teachers;

>> A 50 percent employee contribution for health benefits, up from the current 40 percent.

 

In an e-mail to teachers this morning, HSTA President Wil Okabe gave the state’s proposal a "B-minus."

"And while we recognize that it isn’t possible to get an ‘A-plus’ contract during tough times, we continue to believe good faith bargaining can bring better results," he said.

The DOE and Board of Education "remain committed to our promise to students, families and teachers across the state — no reduction in student instructional days," said schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi, in a news release.

 

Gov. Neil Abercrombie said in a separate news release said he hopes teachers "will be given the opportunity to vote on the proposal."

Most units of the Hawaii Government Employees Association, which represents many white-collar workers, have agreed to similar terms. The HGEA’s nurses’ unit voted to reject the contract and has proceeded to arbitration.

The Abercrombie administration and the United Public Workers, which represents blue-collar workers, are still in contract talks.

 

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