Governor Responds to Criticism from Teachers Union Over Lack of Progress in Contract Negotiations

article top
Gov. Neil Abercrombie with State Budget & Finance Director Kalbert Young (photo by Mel Ah Ching Productions)

Hawaii public school teachers, angered over lack of progress in their contract negotiations with the state, have been staging protests, running advertisements and posting disparaging videos targeting the governor this week and last.

The Hawaii State Teachers Association has also complained to the media about the lack of progress.


Today, Gov. Neil Abercrombie responded to the criticism levied against him by teachers and their union leaders.

“The state and HSTA returned to the table on Nov. 14 for what I understand were productive negotiations regarding our proposal presented to HSTA in July 2012. I was disappointed to hear HSTA characterize the meetings otherwise in the media.

“The state has repeatedly asked HSTA to return to the bargaining table. We were encouraged to once again resume negotiations.

“Following Wednesday’s session, the state immediately proposed three dates in November to resume collective bargaining negotiations; however, HSTA declined to meet in November and instead proposed meeting next month. The state team committed to meeting on the first date proposed by HSTA and is willing to meet on all available dates in order to advance negotiations.

“As always, our priorities are Hawaii’s students and teachers. Together with the Superintendent and BOE, I share the goal of achieving an agreement that reflects the importance of teachers’ contributions to student achievement.  We look forward to a positive resolution,” Abercrombie said.





  1. What? Our great Governor hasn't resolved the problem with the teachers union? Doesn't our (D) governor want our teachers to get more pay and benefits? I thought that our liberal friends always support out teachers. Could it be that there isn't enough money in the budget to pay them more? Where is the media on this? Neil, just give the teachers the raise that they deserve.

  2. Yes there is no question that there has been a fiscal crisis in the state and across the country. One thing to be considered is that Abercrombie is not concerned with re-election and therefore has no real motivation to his constituency. As a politician, he has a responsibility in good faith to his constituency but has done nothing to meet their concerns. They produced a contract initially which was poorly presented to teachers and left many questions on the table. That is when the contract was rejected by the HSTA. However, after explanation and better understanding of our pilot program as part of the requirement for race to the top funds, the Teachers re-voted and ratified the contract produced by the state. Teachers assumed the issue had been resolved, but then in an ironic twist, the state re-nigged on their own drafted contract. This is unacceptable and is against the law regarding collective bargaining in good faith.

    In recent the fiscal situation has improved and we are likely to receive an additional 78M in Race to the top funds. The only thing that jeopardizes this is the contract disputes. And yet with this better fiscal forecast, and additional funding to the state for education, Abercrombie has produced an even more austere contract for teachers. Why? In addition, He unilaterally imposed a 5% pay cut and made health benefits which has been roughly 30-70, 50-50. A huge cost to teachers. cont–

Comments are closed.