State Teachers Wait for Absentee Vote Results

Roger Takabayashi
Roger Takabayashi

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Today, some officials with the Hawaii State Teachers' Association (HSTA) worked over time. The membership services committee met to revisit programs and services. But the big news everyone is waiting for is the results of a statewide vote on a new contract. Public school teachers are holding their breath this weekend for the results of the ratification vote. HSTA president Roger Takabayashi says, "We're all waiting with anticipation. We want to find out what the final outcome will be."

Some 13 thousand teachers voted earlier this week, but it was so close, union officials say the absentee ballots will make the difference. Takabayashi says, "Sending out a prediction now would be bad considering the number of absentee ballots that are out there. I wouldn't want my prediction to influence anybody's voting."

It's a history making moment in the union. Takabayashi says, "This is the first time the outstanding absentee ballots could turn the possible decision of this ratification."

They started negotiating last June, so they hope not to have to start over. Takabayashi says, "If we go back to Ground Zero, one of the primary things this package was turned down for was random drug testing. So we'd be asking that be taken off the table and the pay package remain."

But the governor's clause about random drug testing could be a deal breaker. Takabayashi says, "Some feel random drug testing is all right, they're clean, they have nothing to worry about. The other side says it's an invasion of their privacy, it violates their Fourth Amendment rights."

HSTA does not get mail on Saturdays so the next set of absentee ballots will arrive Monday. The absentee votes are due by Wednesday at 5 p.m. HSTA predicts it will have the results by 6 p.m.