Saturday, March 27, 1999

teachers union says
bosses being manini

The employer is haggling over
bulletin boards while putting off
negotiations about pay and
benefits, the union says

By Helen Altonn


Teachers negotiating with the Bishop Estate for the Kamehameha Schools Faculty Association's first contract say their employer is using adversarial, punitive, controlling and delaying tactics.

They say they are negotiating the union's first contract because they want to make things better on the Kapalama campus.

Instead, they described a frustrating year fighting with the trustees' negotiators over proposed benefit and salary cuts and haggling over the union's use of bulletin boards and mailboxes.

"It is offensive and insulting to be told we might damage the walls with a bulletin board," said Diane Tanner-Cazinha, a second-grade teacher.

The teachers said they had hoped to have a contract before school began last September so they could concentrate on educating students.

But Larry McElheny, association president and high school Hawaiian crafts teacher, said, "Their tactic is to make issues out of non-issues. You wouldn't believe the amount of time spent talking about bulletin boards."

Holding a news conference yesterday with McElheny to describe their problems in dealing with the estate were: Roy Alameida, faculty association vice president and high school history teacher; William Follmer, high school math teacher; Rick Heyd, eighth grade history teacher, and Tanner-Cazinha.

Kekoa Paulsen, Kamehameha Schools Bishop Estate spokesman, issued a statement saying it is the estate's policy "not to negotiate through the media; we believe negotiations should take place at the bargaining table."

The teachers said they were reluctant to speak openly about the situation.

But, Follmer said, "After a year of negotiations, control of truthful information has emerged as a real obstacle to an agreement."

The union's 233 teachers and librarians aren't asking for more money or benefits, but for basic free speech rights and a grievance procedure, McElheny said. Everyone they showed their nine-point proposal to said it was "a dream proposal," he said.

The employer's 38-part counter-proposal - which the association received in November - offered less than the teachers were receiving before they formed the union, he said.

After Thursday's 24th bargaining session, he said, "Ironically, with a couple of exceptions, we're just about back to our original proposal."

Critical issues concern confidentiality and free speech and the right to negotiate over wages and benefits during terms of the one-year contract, the teachers said.

Dean Choy, the faculty union's attorney, said he will recommend to its board Monday that another charge of unfair labor practices be filed against the estate for violation of the duty to bargain in good faith.

He said the estate is insisting that teachers give up the right to strike and to bargain over changes in terms and conditions of employment.

The estate also applies the confidentiality label so broadly it has a chilling effect on freedom of speech, Choy said.

A National Labor Relations Board hearing is scheduled April 13 on four previous charges of unfair labor practices filed by the faculty association. A fifth charge was settled.

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