In Hawaii a single statewide teachers’ contract is negotiated between the Hawaii State Teachers Association and the governor’s office. The system works about as well as you might think.
The union and the governor are once again at odds, but what makes this conflict more interesting is that the governor is former U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie, one of Congress’ more liberal members and regular recipient of an “A” on the NEA Legislative Report Card.
In the latest collective bargaining battle, HSTA and the governor agreed to federal mediation. HSTA says the mediation was to be limited to 10 days. Since no agreement was reached, the process is over. The governor sees things differently, and issued a lengthy media statement in which he said, “We continue to remain willing to engage in mediation. It is impossible to negotiate with people who refuse to talk.”
Unwilling to let it stand there, Gov. Abercrombie tossed in another 2,600 words containing the history and timeline of negotiations, frequently asked questions, and ending with the inevitable “Our students deserve no less.”
Why worry about it? Because while money, as always, is an issue, another is a proposed teacher evaluation system that includes student outcomes. The union isn’t thrilled with this idea. HSTA has strikes and near-strikes in its history, so it’s not unreasonable to think the whole Chicago monster could cross the Pacific and bite another prominent Democrat.