Tuesday, March 20, 2001

State files
second complaint
against HSTA

The union is alleged to be
engaged in prohibited practices

By Helen Altonn

The state has filed a second complaint with the Hawaii Labor Relations Board against the teachers' union, strengthening chances that a strike planned April 5 could be delayed.

The Hawaii State Teachers Association appears to be in the same position as the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly, which began taking a strike vote on all campuses yesterday.

The labor board ruled last week that the UH faculty can't strike until four complaints filed with the board by UHPA against the employer are resolved.

The state's complaints against HSTA allege prohibitive practices under the collective bargaining law.

The first charged that HSTA is refusing to bargain in good faith and has misrepresented the state's position.

The second complaint, filed yesterday, identifies picketing instructions to teachers to take names and photographs of people crossing the picket line.

"We believe that is a prohibitive practice," said Deputy Attorney General Francis Keeno. "Teachers have a right to strike; they also have a right not to strike."

Taking names and photographing people who cross a picket line because they want or need to work would be intimidating and an infringement of their collective bargaining rights, he said.

HSTA Executive Director Joan Husted said the union hasn't received the complaint but Davis Yogi, the state's chief negotiator, confirmed it had been filed.

"It is unusual not to serve us with a complaint before filing it," she said, adding that was also the case with the first complaint.

"I just think it's a concerted campaign to frighten the teachers and make teachers look bad in the eyes of the public, and that's unfortunate," she said.

"We'd just as soon get this settled. We told the state we'd go back to the bargaining table. We're in touch with the federal mediator, but we're spending all this time trying to deal with these complaints."

Keeno said, "I think this practice, photographing and taking names, is an insult to the integrity and sense of fairness to all of those 13,000 teachers."

He said the ultimate objective of the complaints is to get the parties back to the bargaining table to reach agreement.

The union has asked for a 22 percent across-the-board increase. The state is offering a total package of less. It includes 20 percent raises for starting teachers and a 10 percent increase for senior teachers.

A fact-finding panel two months ago recommended a 19 percent pay raise for teachers, questioning the state's "good faith" in negotiations.

The state claims the employer has been willing to compromise but the HSTA has refused to do so.

HSTA President Karen Ginoza said the state hasn't budged from its bargaining position, that its proposals "are akin to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic..."

The union has 10 days to respond to the complaints.

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