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The two sides agreed to try out the neutral third party six weeks ago to see if it would bring them closer to negotiating a contract for the union’s 13,000 members.
“I am very disappointed that HSTA once again is not willing to engage in discussions that could resolve outstanding issues,” Abercrombie said in a statement. “For many months, we repeatedly asked HSTA to come to the table to have meaningful and good-faith negotiations. When they refused to participate in negotiations, we agreed on Federal Mediation as a way to move forward and resolve our differences.”
HSTA President Wil Okabe could not be reached for comment Thursday evening.
The teachers have been operating under the governor’s unilaterally imposed “last, best, final offer” since July 2011.
HSTA challenged this contract in a complaint before the Hawaii Labor Relations Board. That case wrapped up months ago, but the board has not issued a decision. The union asked the state Supreme Court last week to force the board to rule on the case.
“We continue to remain willing to engage in mediation,” Abercrombie said Thursday. “It is impossible to negotiate with people who refuse to talk.”
For a timeline of events concerning the state’s interaction with HSTA, click here.
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