Hundreds of teachers, supporters, stage wide 'work to rule' protest
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Teachers at more than 40 public schools statewide took part in a second so-called "Work To Rule" protest to express their frustration with their current contract and talks for an upcoming pact.
The original protest started with teachers at James Campbell High School two weeks ago. Since then, the move to have teachers work only their mandated work hours -- 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. -- has spread.
Hawaii State Teachers Association president Wil Okabe was at Farrington High School's after-school protest, where teachers and students were involved in a raucous rally. According to Okabe, teachers feel a lack of respect from the state -- and especially from Gov. Abercrombie, who received the union's endorsement in the last election.
"Teachers went out to sign-wave, phone bank and all these things to get him elected because we felt that what he said was putting education as a priority in the state of Hawaii, for the kids of Hawaii," said Okabe.
The widespread protests come as the HSTA and the state prepare to return to the bargaining table to negotiate a two-year contract for 2013-2015.
"Hopefully getting to some kind of settlement, we worked very hard in the collective bargaining process and we are hopeful to get to some sort of resolution as quickly as possible," said Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz.
Meanwhile, teachers and students started to draw more support, with the rally drawing members of the hotel workers union.
"They're all behind us," said Farrington special education teacher Inger Stonehill. "The kids know how much we work, and parents know how much we work. And they do appreciate it."
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