Ha’ina ‘ia mai ana ka puana

Proposal 2 on the Michigan ballot would enshrine collective bargaining in the state constitution. After events in Wisconsin, Michigan unions feel they need this measure. But they would be best advised not to expect too much if they win.

Collective bargaining rights are guaranteed by the state constitution in Hawaii, and public sector labor relations are a mess there. Now, as Stateline reports, teachers are beginning to use the “S” word.

“It’s the first time in 40 years of bargaining in the state of Hawaii that any governor imposed a contract,” said Ray Camacho, negotiations specialist for the Hawaii State Teachers Association. Maui teacher Nikan Arapoff told Stateline, “They kept coming to the table with worse and worse offers. It just kept mutating and morphing into an even more sorry state of affairs. It’s beginning to seem like our only option is to strike and that’s something we really don’t want to do.”

Hawaii teachers went on strike for three weeks in 2001, and strikes were averted at the last minute in 1972, 1984 and 1997.