Hawaii responds to teachers union complaint

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state is firing back at claims that it did not bargain for a contract for public school teachers in good faith.

The response is 41 pages, and lays out answers to each of the Hawaii State Teacher's Association's allegations.Two weeks ago, H.S.T.A.'s complaint, which they filed with the Hawaii Labor Relations Board, alleged that the state violated the state constitution when it forced a new contract deal on the teacher's union.

This all stems from the state imposing its "last, best, and final" offer, which cut teachers' pay, and bumped up health care premiums. Now, the state's legal response denies most of the H.S.T.A.'s allegations. One of those alleges the state's chief negotiator, Neil Dietz, cursed and hit the table with his notebook during bargaining, and needed to be calmed down by an H.S.T.A. representative. The state denied that claim, but admitted Dietz "Made his feelings quite well known to the H.S.T.A. team."

The state summed up their response to the complaint, with "The attorney general has provided details of how the state bargained in good faith for many months to reach agreement with negotiators representing teachers. Our focus remains on working together with educators and parents to make this upcoming school year a truly outstanding one for Hawaii's students.

No hearing date has been set, but one thing's for sure, students go back to school on August 1st.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.