HSTA files labor board complaint over illegal furloughs

Complaint says state violated collective bargaining law

The Hawaii State Teachers Association Friday filed a prohibited practice complaint (PPC) with the Hawaii Labor Relations Board (HLRB), challenging the state’s unilateral imposition of furloughs on more than 13,000 HSTA members starting Jan. 4. The complaint says the state does not have the authority to impose furloughs without bargaining, since HSTA has a contract in place until June 30, 2021.

HSTA President Corey Rosenlee said, “Collective bargaining is enshrined in Hawaii’s constitution, and contracts cannot be dismissed when the governor considers them inconvenient. Otherwise, why have a contract? If these illegal furloughs are implemented, Gov. Ige would be the third governor in a row to cut teacher pay. Such a move would be bad for education, worsen Hawaii’s teacher shortage crisis, and ultimately hurt our keiki. Enough is enough!”

According to the complaint, “The Employer’s refusal to bargain in good faith, its unilateral implementation of its furlough plan while negotiations are ongoing, its direct communication with HSTA’s members on the subject of negotiations and its threat of layoffs if furloughs are not agreed to, and its violation of the CBA (collective bargaining agreement), is evidence of Respondents’ willful, egregious, and blatant misconduct and actions which constitute a violation of HRS §89-13(a)(1)-(5), (7) and (8), including but not limited to interfering, restraining and coercing HSTA’s members from exercising their guaranteed rights under” Hawaii’s collective bargaining law and the union’s collective bargaining agreement.

“The Employer’s unlawful and inappropriate conduct has a chilling effect on HSTA’s members in the exercise of their union rights by creating fear and worry amongst HSTA’s members,” the complaint said. Neither Gov. David Ige nor Superintendent Christina Kishimoto communicated or discussed the final furlough implementation plan in advance with HSTA, according to the complaint.

The HLRB is expected to schedule a hearing on this case during which it will hear arguments.

View the full complaint

Author: Keoki Kerr