Hawaii, teachers union agree to federal mediator

HONOLULU (AP) - The union representing Hawaii's public school teachers has agreed to accept the governor's proposal to use federal mediation to help resolve a contract dispute.

According to a joint statement by the Hawaii State Teachers Association and Gov. Neil Abercrombie, the union and the state will use mediation to resume discussions that can lead to a resolution.

The union's board of directors voted Monday to take Abercrombie up on his suggestion.

Teachers are currently working under a last, best and final offer after their contract expired in June last year. In May, they voted to ratify a contract that they previously rejected. But Abercrombie says it's no longer valid and needs to be updated.

Union President Wil Okabe says teachers look forward to mediation. Abercrombie says it's a step forward.

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