New wages for teachers imposed by state

Governor Neil Abercrombie
Governor Neil Abercrombie

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - As of Friday, teachers, except those at charter schools, are getting paid less.

It's a move the union is fighting.

The new salary structure was unilaterally imposed by the state on Friday -- an act the teachers union believes is illegal.

The Hawaii State Teacher's Association says it will challenge the pay cuts.

We're waiting to find out if that challenge is being made in court, whether it's being made with the Hawaii Labor Relations Board, or both.

Union president Wil Okabe, who is currently on the mainland, issued the following statement:

After months of progress at the negotiating table we are left with one option - we are legally challenging the superintendent's order to unilaterally implement the last, best, and final offer.

Teachers care about children. We donate an average of 13 hours a week of unpaid time to our students beyond the school day. We spend money out of our own pocket to buy school supplies for our classrooms.

Teachers care about their legal rights as well. And we must defend those rights.

Governor Neil Abercrombie, who was endorsed by the HSTA when he ran for office, made it clear on Friday that he does not agree with the challenge.

"I don't think that will be very productive, do you? The only action that people want is to get their children educated and to get schools started again, and to get teachers in the classroom," Abercrombie said.

According to Abercrombie, union negotiators agreed to the new salary structure, but the HSTA board didn't like the deal.

He also says it was the board that prevented the teachers from voting on whether to accept it.

The conditions imposed by the state cut teachers' pay by 1.5 percent.

Teachers who work 10 months a year are being forced to take seven unpaid days off.

Those who work a full year have to take nine unpaid days off.

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