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Wednesday, August 31, 2011
HSTA responds to Perreira: We won’t allow others to disrespect our Sacrifice
By News Release @ 4:09 AM :: 6542 Views :: Energy, Environment

HSTA and HGEA

Posted on HSTA website

HGEA members received communication from their Executive Director, Randy Perreira, regarding the complaint HSTA filed with the Hawaii Labor Relations Board (HLRB) after the employers unilaterally implemented a contract for public school teachers. Within minutes of its release the public and the media had copies of the HGEA message. This is HSTA President Wil Okabe’s response:

The leadership of HGEA agreed to be the first union to settle with the Governor provided that the Governor agreed to include contract language that states: "all public sector bargaining units shall be subject to 5% pay reductions, supplemental time off and 50% in premium rates." If any public sector union negotiates anything better, HGEA would receive that automatically.

We respect the right of HGEA's leaders to represent their members and bargain collectively on their behalf. But it is HSTA's leadership that represents teachers and our duty is to bargain collectively on their behalf.

We don't know if HGEA was threatened by the Governor's negotiators as we were. We were told that if we didn't go along with the Governor we would face the layoff 800 teachers and "nasty things would happen" to teachers at work.

We made a decision to stand up to the threats, bargain for ourselves, and defend our collective bargaining rights.

No group of public sector workers donates the amount of unpaid time that teachers donate to their students. Teachers do not have the luxury of a 35 work week. To the contrary, the average teacher gives 40 hours of unpaid time every month to their students.

That's sacrifice we make willingly, but we won't allow others to take advantage of it, ignore it, or disrespect it.

Wil Okabe,President, Hawaii State Teachers Association

 

(Editor’s note: The next four paragraphs appear to be a draft version of the above comments. Perhaps inadvertently posted by HSTA?)

We respect the right of HGEA's leaders to represent their members and bargain collectively on their behalf. Our state's dedicated and hard working social workers, clerks, agriculture inspectors, nurses, and other essential workers agreed to sacrifice what they bring home to their families because of our struggling economy. If the state's economy starts looking up there is a mechanism in their contract for them to be made whole once again.

HSTA's leadership entered negotiations with the same willingness to share in the sacrifice. Our goal in this bargaining session was the same as its been in every session - putting students needs first and creating the best possible working conditions for teachers because they're students learning conditions.

Teachers each year spend hundreds of dollars on their classrooms out of their own wallets. They spend many unpaid hours grading papers, helping students and parents, and assisting with school activities. The average teacher gives 40 hours of unpaid time every month to their students.

That's a sacrifice teachers make willingly, but we won't allow others to take advantage of it, ignore it, or disrespect it.

---30---

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