If Abercrombie agrees to binding arbitration, that means Hawaii’s 12,500 public school teachers would lose the option to vote on any outcome of negotiations, and they would also not be able to strike. The union’s Facebook page lit up on Sunday with frustration over that possibility.
Up until now, teachers have avoided public talk of striking. One union representative told Civil Beat in July that she didn’t believe teachers would go on strike after the state unilaterally imposed a new contract on them.
“Even the people who want to strike just can’t, because they have to pay their bills,” said Beatrice DeRego-Coffield, a reading teacher at Kahuku High School and union grievance representative for the Windward Complex. “I can’t see that actually happening.”
Not all teachers are opposed to entering binding arbitration with the state, but even some who support it expressed frustration with the union board for voting without informing HSTA members and inviting their vote as well.
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