The Maui News - About 150 red T-shirt-clad Maui public school teachers joined others across the state on Oct. 30 to protest what they say is the governor's inaccurate, unfair and disrespectful portrayal of them over their unresolved contract negotiations.
"We just wanted to do something to unite all our teachers," said Hawaii' State Teachers Association Maui Chapter President Lester Kunimitsu as he stood with his fellow teachers along Ka'ahumanu Avenue in Kahului. "I don't think the public understands we never had a negotiated contract. It was imposed on us in July 2011."
Gov. Neil Abercrombie has said that he's engaged in protracted negotiations with the HSTA in line with compromises made by other state employees in light of the state's financial deficit. According to published reports, the governor and schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi, with the approval of the state Board of Education, said they had to impose the "last, best and final offer" to achieve 5 percent labor savings and put changes in place before the new school year began in 2011.
About 150 Maui public school teachers joined others across the state on Oct. 30 to protest what they say is the governor’s inaccurate, unfair and disrespectful portrayal of them over their unresolved contract negotiations.
Photo: Miranda Kawaiola
The contract called for pay reductions and increased contributions to healthcare premiums.
The forced-upon contract is especially unfair to bright, young teachers, who are leaving the state en masse now, said Ed Garcia, an HTSA board member and intermediate school counselor. That hurts kids and the system's future.
"We are here to express all we want is a decent wage and respect," Garcia said, adding that the state won't even maintain the status quo.
The HSTA and the state entered nonbinding mediation in August, but the process ended in early October without an agreement.