The Hawaii State Teachers Association on Friday filed a formal complaint against Gov. Neil Abercrombie‘s collective bargaining team, citing bullying at the bargaining table and unsavory “take-it-or-leave-it” tactics, among others.

The union filed the 37-page legal challenge with the Hawaii Labor Relations board late Friday afternoon, two weeks after Abercrombie and Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi unilaterally imposed new employment terms on the state’s 12,500 teachers.

The union lists several complaints against Abercrombie, Matayoshi, Hawaii State Board of Education Chairman Don Horner and other negotiators. Among the accusations:

  • Abercrombie established statewide employment policies through the Legislature — a practice that in the past has been ruled unconstitutional by the Hawaii Supreme Court;
  • Abercrombie and Matayoshi engaged in “unlawful direct dealing” with teachers after the union rejected the state’s proposal;
  • Abercrombie unilaterally reneged on a former agreement about teachers’ contributions to their state health benefit plans;
  • State negotiators prematurely declared an impasse on collective bargaining;
  • State negotiators repeatedly threatened the union with a significant budget cut from the Legislature if the state’s terms were not accepted.

The union also takes issue with what it calls “unfunded mandates” from the state that established a minimum number of days for the school year and increased the amount of time teachers are require to spend instructing students in the classroom.

The document, though framed around the usual strict “legalese,” also contains colorful details, like Abercrombie’s chief negotiator Neil Dietz’ threats that employment conditions could get “nasty” if the union didn’t agree to the state’s terms.

The complaint also describes Dietz losing his temper when HSTA requested more time to consider some of the state’s proposals: “this is serious f—— s–t,” he said, hitting the table with his notebook.

The full document is below. Read on for more details.

Read our related coverage:

About the Author