Sunday, August 5, 2001

HSTA logo

Teachers union
says ‘clarification’
takes step backward

Teachers tomorrow will consider
their options in the contract
dispute over bonuses

By Leila Fujimori

The teachers union says the state's clarification of a disputed provision about bonuses in a proposed contract isn't much of a clarification.

Rather, it is a new proposal that is a step backward for public education, said Karen Ginoza, Hawaii State Teachers Association president.

"Every time we have gotten a new proposal or even this clarification, there are other things added to it," Ginoza said in a news conference yesterday.

The teachers union will go to the membership tomorrow afternoon to assess options and get their feedback on the proposed contract. By Aug. 11, HSTA will decide whether to ask teachers to vote on a strike, to accept the contract or turn to the courts or to the labor board.

With just two weeks before the start of the school year for half the state's public school teachers and the other half already back in school, teachers remain without a contract, despite a settlement April 22 after a prolonged teachers' strike. Teachers ratified a contract April 23, to which the state agreed.

"The state negotiator was inattentive and the state did not do its homework. They are trying to back out of the teachers contract and renegotiate," Ginoza said. "We have a contract and we want it implemented."

Ginoza cited the $9.7 million cap on a 3 percent bonus for teachers with advanced degrees as one of such new additions.

HSTA objects to the cap because it would leave out many new hires and those currently working toward education-related master's degrees and professional diplomas.

The state also is proposing the 3 percent differential would expire after one year and would have to be renegotiated. The union says the provision is good for the two years of the contract.

"Now they're trying to put it in a memorandum of understanding with a sunset clause," said HSTA chief negotiator Joan Husted.

Husted said that it was only after the state identified the number of eligible teachers for the bonus did they change the terms of the contract.

But the state chief negotiator Davis Yogi said the union agreed on April 22 to a $6 million figure for the 3 percent bonus, which amounts to one year using an estimated number of eligible teachers.

"That was wrong the way they tried to interpret it," Yogi said. "The way they interpreted it was two years. The way we interpreted it was one year."

"All we have is a proposed contract," Yogi said. "We gave them a July 25 proposal, gave them clarification on Aug 2. Now we leave it to them."

Gov. Ben Cayetano had said that doubling the amount of the bonus for two years would cut into important educational programs and would run contrary to what was agreed upon.

Hilo High School teacher Leroy Simms, who teaches health and physical education and holds a master's degree in education, said teachers don't need to go on strike because they have an agreement.

"Teachers are frustrated," he said. "To suggest that teachers are not acting in good faith is a slap in the face.

"Nobody went out to get their master's degrees for the 3 percent differential," Simms said. "We went out to get our master's to elevate ourselves in the classrooms."

>> HSTA Web site
>> State Web site
>> Governor's strike Web site
>> DOE Web site

E-mail to City Desk

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]

© 2001 Honolulu Star-Bulletin