The University of Hawaii Professional Assembly wants to have its say in the teachers union’s labor dispute with the state to ensure university faculty don’t lose their right to strike.

The Hawaii State Teachers Association has filed a complaint against the state for declaring impasse in negotiations and imposing a “last, best, final” contract on teachers in July. The union says the state’s declaration of impasse was premature and that unilaterally imposing a contract on teachers violates their constitutional right to collective bargaining. Hearings before the Hawaii Labor Relations Board begin Aug. 15.

Meanwhile, the university’s faculty assembly on Thursday filed a petition with the Labor Relations Board to intervene in the case, saying the outcome could affect UHPA’s collective bargaining rights. The petition would allow it to comment on the legal aspects relating to HSTA’s case, which it points out will have implications for other unions throughout the state.

“It’s important to note that we are not commenting on the facts leading up to the State’s unilateral implementation of its last, best, final contract offer to HSTA, but we felt it was imperative to share our concerns and obtain clarification about the circumstances that determine whether and how an employer may unilaterally implement a last, best, final offer,” said J. N. Musto, executive director and chief negotiator of UHPA, in a press release issued Thursday.

“Unlike some other labor unions, if there is an impasse in negotiations between UHPA and the State, faculty members would be allowed to strike and would not be subject to interest arbitration,” the release states. “Based on the petition filed today, UHPA will seek to ensure the faculty’s right to strike will be not be affected by the HLRB’s decision.”

Read UHPA’s full petition:

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